Have MMOs Affected The Success Of Single Player Games?
Gazimoff from Mana Obscura made an interesting off-the-cuff remark in my post the other day about a world without Warcraft. He commented on how if WoW didn’t exist, he’d have a much more extensive games collection. And he’s right, so would I (at least if MMOs didn’t exist at all) and I’m sure a lot of other folk would too. In fact it seems to be that MMOs, by nature, conflict with the concept of single player games almost to the extent that the two can’t mutually exist. Single player games entertain us for a fixed period of time until we’ve completed them and move on to the next one whereas MMOs are endless and designed specifically to engross us to the exclusion of almost everything else. I don’t know about you but I barely touch single player games.
I used to buy a fair number of single player games for both the PC and console but it’s dropped off dramatically over the past few years, not because I’ve lost interest in them but rather that I’ve come to realise that most of them just sat around gathering dust with only a handful of hours invested in them. MMOs always took priority for me and it was very rare that I ever even completed a single player game so now I barely bother. Fact is, MMOs are so consuming and so compelling that it’s almost impossible for me to find the time to play anything else and I have no doubt that it’s a common feeling amongst MMO gamers.
Of course sometimes I take “holidays” from my current MMORPG of choice just so I can focus on another type of game but that’s a rare thing to happen. A couple of weeks ago I bought Dead Space 2 and last year I probably bought three PC games, two of them being Starcraft 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, both of which I completed and had finished with within two weeks. The other game was Fallout 3 although I don’t think I really invested a lot of time in it and probably could have done without buying it (it was on sale though!).
Money wise that’s still a fair chunk of change going to non-MMO games but I can’t help but think that had I not had MMOs in my life, I would’ve probably spent a vast amount more, maybe buying a game or two every month as opposed to one every four. Indeed, as the perfect target market for the gaming industry (male, 20-something, grew up playing games, disposable income), I can’t help but wonder if a lot of companies are losing out on a lot of cash simply because I’m hooked on games like WoW.
For me though, having an avid interest in MMOs is probably a good thing for my wallet and forking out £10 or £15 a month for a subscription to WoW, EVE or Everquest or something is a lot better value for money than buying a single player game every few weeks. Certainly MMOs have saved me a lot of cash over the years but maybe they’ve unknowingly damaged the viability and success of all of the other types of games out there as some sort of unseen side affect.
What do you think?