WoW’s domination of the MMO landscape continues as Funcom announces that they’re closing a bit over 60% of all their Age of Conan servers. All the existing servers will be merged into the few that remain, with most regions only retaining one PvP server and one PvE server (The U.S. is getting 2 PvEs).
I know a lot of people don’t like MMOs, but it’s always sad to see companies struggling. Reading stories like this though always raises one particular question in my mind: is it possible for ANY company to break the stranglehold that WoW currently has on the MMO market?
I am a former WoW player, and while a lot of people like to crap on it, I’m willing to admit it’s a decent game and I think Blizzard deserves all the money they’re making off of it. My main concern is that they have become so dominant in the market that there is literally no way for any other company to break in and make it big. You can make the best game ever, but it can be extremely difficult to convince people (many of who can only afford to pay for one subscription game a month) to completely give up the character they’ve spent the last 3 years building and move on to try something new.
Warhammer has come the closest, but even it isn’t really making a dent in WoW’s numbers. Back when it launched, the Creative Director predicted 3 million subscribers. Right now they’re inching close to 1 million, which is respectable, but still not anywhere near WoW’s 11.5 million.
Do you guys think that there’s any room for true competition for WoW in the market? For those who play WoW now, what would developers have to do to pull you away and get you on another game?