NCsoft Europe Director of Development Thomas Bidaux has said in a speech that developers of online games should find their own “ecosystems” in order to sidestep World of Warcraft’s dominance, rather than meeting it head-on.
Speaking to the Swedish game expo Nordic Game, Bidaux described World of Warcraft as a “dinosaur,” saying, “It’s very big, very expensive and everything you can imagine in terms of big and bulky.” Unlike traditional dinosaurs, however, he does not see the demise of Blizzard’s all-powerful MMOG happening anytime soon. “Going after that monster … I don’t think it can be done,” he said. “When you’re looking at online games you have to find another angle to be successful.”
Bidaux cited CCP’s smaller but successful space-based MMOG EVE Online as an example of a company that’s found success by getting away from the traditional swords-and-sorcery MMOG setting. “The growth rate of EVE Online in terms of subscriber numbers is not comparable to any other MMORPG. It keeps growing,” he said. “It’s ever-growing. It’s a very good business. They have their own ecosystem, they know who they’re talking to.”
He suggested that MMOG developers take lessons from Asia about how to create a successful niche in the market, while also saying that switching to payment models after long beta periods, failed micro-payment systems and “hordes” of failed Lineage clones are mistakes MMOG developers should take note of.
Based in Seoul, South Korea, NCsoft is the developer of the MMOG Lineage, which holds a 47 percent share of the Korean market and attracts the greatest number of concurrent users in the world. While hugely popular in Asia, the company has thus far been unable to duplicate that success in the North American market.