No big surprise: World of Warcraft takes the top spot. As for some of the other entries on this list, you may have never even heard of them. That is, unless you're six years old.
According to a report by analysts Screen Digest, MMOGs are still big money, and World of Warcraft is sitting at the top of the cash pile. In 2008, the MMOG market in Europe and North America grew by 22% and is estimated to keep on keeping on as gamers attempt to satisfy their unquenchable desire for phat lewts and tedious grinding.
While WoW's dominance is no surprise here, Screen Digest's findings for the rest of the MMOG market revealed a number of surprising results. When gauging the most popular MMOGs, the analysts used revenue made from subscription fees as opposed to the commonly cited player/subscriber population numbers. So, even though most of us would imagine games like EverQuest II and Age of Conan as virtual ghost towns, apparently they're still turning enough of a profit to make it into the top ten most money making MMOGs.
Sitting just behind WoW at second place is Club Penguin, a Disney-owned kid-oriented MMOG where users create avatars that are - you guessed it - penguins and play all sorts of fun minigames in a Flash-built virtual world. In third place behind Club Penguin is another game built for the PG-13-and-under crowd, RuneScape. Both Club Penguin and RuneScape offers paid premium accounts in addition to free basic accounts, evidently an extremely profitable business model. Guess lots of kids really want to dress up their penguins in silly hats and are able to convince their parents to fork over the Visa cards.
In the mid-tier of profitability are Eve Online, Final Fantasy XI, The Lord of the Rings Online and Dofus, which is apparently all the rage in France. Rounding out the bottom of the list are the aforementioned Age of Conan, City of Heroes and EverQuest II. Warhammer Online didn't make the list as it was released too late to be included in the study.
[Via Rock, Paper, Shotgun]