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The Coming Glut of MMOGs

According to an article in Salon, there's a glut coming in MMOGs (massively multiplayer online games) and their siblings MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games):

If they don't, it won't be for lack of trying. Virtual worlds expected to go online this year or next include (by no means a complete list): 3rd World, Ages of Athiria, Asheron's Call 2, A Tale in the Desert, Black Moon Chronicles, Caeron 3000, Charr: The Grimm Fate, Citizen Zero, City of Heroes, Darkfall, Dragon Empires, Earth and Beyond, El Kardian, Endless Ages, Eve Online: The Second Genesis, Horizons, Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle, Myarta, Myth of Soma, PlanetSide, Quest of Ages, Realms of Torment, The Rubies of Eventide, Shadowbane, The Sims Online, Star Wars Galaxies and World of Warcraft.
Whew! Something tells me some game developers are going to lose some money. Not all of them, of course. The already popular MMOGs -- Ultima Online, Everquest, Asheron's Call, and Dark Age of Camelot -- should motor along just fine with their current fan bases. And I agree with Salon when they write:
In the short term, the real battle for an online audience will most likely come down to two games in a clash of true titans: Star Wars Galaxies and The Sims Online.
I wouldn't bet at all against either of these titles. But as for the rest, I couldn't agree more with Will Wright:
"I think they're all kind of mining the same hardcore group," says Will Wright, chief designer at Maxis Studios, speaking of the current roster of MMORPGs. "I don't think they're bringing a lot of new players in."
Indeed. How many multiplayer games does the world need in which geeks and near-geeks can indulge their medieval and science fiction fetishes?

I don't mean to insult MMOG players -- far from it. As has been established, I'm something of a geek myself, and will admit to my interest in science fiction (though I'm more selective now than I once was) and medieval history (though I haven't bought a book on the topic in at least five years). I can imagine myself playing an MMOG if I had the time, but between starting a company, playing with my kids, and blogging, my days are pretty much spoken for. Besides, I stare at computer displays enough as it is.

No, I'm not questioning the motives of MMOG players, but rather questioning the judgement of so many companies building me-too MMOGs. In the end, though, the only judgement that will matter will be that of the market, which will punish those who fail to innovate.

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