THQ Head of Development Jack Sorenson has said he believes World of Warcraft has “peaked,” and that there is room in the market for other major MMOGs to co-exist with it.
Speaking to Eurogamer at the Gamer’s Day event in San Francisco last week, Sorenson said, “However long it takes World of Warcraft to go through its cycle there will always be people on it, probably always be millions of people on it, but does it keep at that peak? And I think that, I wish I could see the numbers, but my guess is that it probably already has peaked – but it’s still a great business.”
THQ announced the development of a Warhammer 40,000 MMOG last year, although no further details have been released, and THQ boss Brian Farrell said today that the game is “probably still a couple years out.” Sorenson concurred with that statement, describing the game as “certainly not imminent” and suggesting the developers would take their time to ensure the game is 100 percent at release.
“That’s certainly one thing that World of Warcraft’s proved: Not only do you have to do it well, it has to be great from day one,” he said. “There’s not a tolerance like there used to be, when Ultima came out… All those games were buggy and horrible, and eventually got there. You can’t do that anymore, which has lengthened the cycle for good quality MMOs.”
“There’s a lot of commonality (between World of Warcraft and Warhammer 40,000) that just comes right out of what Games Workshop has developed – the fiction, and the rest of it is incredibly deep,” he continued. “I think if we’re true to that and do it at a high quality, then people will come. And certainly we can co-exist.”
In 2006, Farrell said it would be “misguided” to try competing with World of Warcraft at that point, and that it would be better to put something out when the game was “on its downward slope.” Since its 2004 launch, Blizzard’s online fantasy game has dominated the MMOG market, announcing in January that it had surpassed the ten million subscriber mark. The game’s second expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King, is expected to hit sometime this year.