Is World of Warcraft killing the PC Gaming Industry?

July 25 2006

Last week, Brian Sullivan (Age of Empires co-creator and Iron Lore, makers of Titan Quest, co-founder) made the following statement in an interview on Gamasutra:

"The game marketplace is currently undergoing a lot of change, with the success of World of Warcraft and other MMOs, the rise of console gaming and what looks like a very long transition to next-generation, the rise of handheld gaming (especially with the DS), and the huge increase in development costs," Sullivan said. "It is harder than ever to figure out how to be successful in this market."

I find this to be an interesting comment. Yes, budgets for games these days dictate a 200,000 break even selling point. Yes, World of Warcraft is the biggest game out there, still #1 on the Game charts after almost 2 years. Let's face it ... when you have 6.5 million subscribers, and the next most successful MMO over time had 2 million, this is going to change the marketplace. I know my purchasing of computer games is down the past two years. I have bought Civilization IV (and getting the expansion today), Sin Episodes 1: Emergence, Half-Life Episode 1, Prey, Quake 4, and Galactic Civilizations 2 since WoW came out. That is 7 games in 24 months ... half of what I spent 5 years ago. Two of those titles are budget titles and 1 is an expansion. I guess the monthly subscription to WoW has impacted my purchase (I buy it in 6 month blocks).
Maybe the average game just is not as fun as it used to be.

3 Responses to “Is World of Warcraft killing the PC Gaming Industry?”

  1. 1) stephen hood says:

    I not sure what the demographics are but it may also be related to an aging population. I know for me the consoles are more attractive because they are more stable and the controls are less complex. I really don't want to spend 15 minutes getting familiar with the controls for a game when I only have time to play for an hour once a week. The older you get, more responsbility (kids etc) and less play time. The PC controls are how shall I say it "out of control" for the majority of people. I think that also ties into your point about games not being as fun...some of the games have pages of controls..it's not fun..it's a test.

    Even with consoles the need to add "features" can spoil the broth. For me Halo is probably the best game I've played. Period. Big part of this was the intuitive simple interface that was obvious even went you want back to play 6 months later. Halo2 sucked in part because of the dual-wielding weapons that complicated the interface and secondly because the hard-core gamers drove the on-line play to the detriment of better maps in campaign mode.

  2. 2) John Head says:

    I am not sure I buy that Stephen ... the controls of a game like Quake IV or Prey blow the controls of a game like Halo out of the water. There is just so much more precision. What makes consoles attractive are

    1. I get the full media experience ... my huge HD TV with killer stereo system vs my 20" flat panel monitor and computer speakers ... just not the same

    2. Consoles games are easier to get perfect on a console ... one piece of hardware, not the unlimited configs of a PC

    I am definitely a hard-core gamer (not as hard-core as when I almost flunked a semester of college classes over Doom), but I want control. I want options. Console games do not give me that.

  3. 3) Charles Robinson says:

    I just built a new PC and chose a motherboard with HDTV out, so I'm playing Guild Wars on my big screen. :-) I don't play consoles because I invest my money in my PC.

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