For unthinkable day when you stop liking World of Warcraft

In an industry panel which included comprised of Jeffery Steefel (Turbine), Jeff Hickman (EA Mythic), Robert Westmoreland (Cryptic Studios) and Matt Firor (Zenimax Online Studios), the future of MMOs was discussed, and these panelists came to the conclusion that there could still be life after WoW.

Although World of Warcraft was able to achieve incredible numbers (now at over 9 million subscribers), the panelists feel that there is still room for other MMOs to flourish:

“There’s plenty of life after WOW,” Westmoreland commented. “The market will segment and diversify, and that’s beginning to happen. That’s why all these games can exist at the same time.”

Jeff Hicks added, “The sophistication of the customer base is constantly changing. There’s plenty of opportunity, and it’s only limited by the interest of the consumers.”

It’s still not certain if some of the future of MMOs may take place on consoles. While the group agreed that the PC is the most logical platform for these games, not all of them were so positive about the future of console MMOs.

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Firor added, “It doesn’t make any sense to make a console MMO unless you’re Microsoft or Sony. The PC is free [to develop for], and there are a whole range of other issues.”

They all felt that the key to Blizzard’s success with WoW was its simplistic approach. Their “lack of innovation” created a game that was finished and ready to play, and this made the game accessible and user-friendly. While other developers may try to imitate these concepts, they group warns that too much imitation of Blizzard’s methods may pose a problem.

Westmoreland says, “I think it’s an anomaly, and you can’t just focus on that because you’ll get yourself into trouble.”

[Via GamesIndustry — thanks, Mr. Donut]

Dale North