MMOGs take a long time to develop, and only a short time to disappear. Over at bit-tech, they look at success and failure in the world of online gaming. However…
There’s another kind of online world that usually isn’t mentioned on the regular gaming sites. Because such venues are aimed at the kid/teen market, and they don’t focus on violence. Yet, they are successful.
As a sort of counterpoint to the bit-tech post, there’s one on the Lightspeed blog about these “casual” (I hate to use that word) worlds. You’ve probably heard of some of them, such as Webkinz, NeoPets, and Club Penguin.
Those and three others each routinely draw in over 2 million unique users per month. I’ll bet Age Of Conan or Warhammer would love to have those numbers.
In fact, it would surprise me if any MMOG outside of WoW could pull in that many users per month on a regular basis. Which goes to show that you don’t need blood and guts (or adults!) to have a successful online product.
But what I’m wondering about is: what happens when the kids outgrow those online worlds? Do they go from Club Penguin to World of Warcraft? Do they just leave all that online stuff behind because it’s “kid stuff”?
Is there an in-between, a place for those who’ve been online as kids but don’t want to get involved in the “adult” hack’n’slash of WoW or AoC? Yes, there’s Second Life, The Sims, and Entropia (which gets very little PR).
And I think only The Sims comes close to the “kid stuff” in drawing power. So it seems to me there may be room here for something new in the MMOG line that would appeal to those uninterested in endless grinding and fighting. After all, most games with those features haven’t been doing too well of late.