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Does the industry need to give WoW competition?

Amanda Rivera
May 16, 2007
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Right now WoW stands as the big boy on the online gaming scene. It will take quite a bit to close the gap between it and the other -- some could argue the inferior -- titles. Mark Ward at BBC News wrote an article on the subject of competition to World of Warcraft last week, and it raises some interesting issues.

Mark interviewed Funcom game director Gaute Godoger, the man responsible for the upcoming Age of Conan MMO. Gaute believes that competition is needed for WoW because it has such a stranglehold on the market right now. Normally, I would have to agree with him, since competition breeds innovation. But in the case of Blizzard, they are competing with themselves for innovation, which is why WoW constantly comes up with new and fresh concepts and content that other games strive to copy. From where I sit, the company appears to be driven by the internal desire to put forth the best game possible, and so I see little in the market today that would have the potential to actually compete with their ethic.

We're not talking about the people that play multiple MMOs here. Rather, I focus on those that have to choose between which subscription fee to pay every month. I know in my case, when it comes down do who would get that fifteen dollars, it comes up WoW every time. That's not to say that I didn't like LOTRO, in fact I greatly enjoyed playing it in open beta. I just prefer the personality that infuses WoW.

When Tabula Rasa comes on the scene, I think that may have a better chance to pull players from WoW's player base. World of Warcraft owns the fantasy MMO genre at the moment, but I do think a science fiction title with the same personality and innovation could prove a contender. Knowing the profound effect that Richard Garriott has had on the role playing genre with the Ultima series and Ultima Online, I expect that Tabula Rasa might have enough power behind it to at least show up to the fight.

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