BBC News has an interesting article regarding what might be shaping up to be a battle for online supremacy in 2008.
Analysts were expecting online subscription numbers to decline in 2007, but that wasn't the case. With the release of online games like Lord of the Rings Online, Tabula Rasa and Hellgate: London, there are now plenty of choices for gamers. However, analysts thought these games would steal players from the current king of the MMO - World of Warcraft. They didn't, and they're not sure why. Numbers for WoW jumped from eight million at the start of 2007 to 9.3 million by the end of summer. Experts say that the release of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning in 2008 may turn out to be serious contenders because they come with a long history of earlier works, just like WoW.
In the article Rob Fahey, columnist for Gameindustry.biz, said all these new launches, along with the continued success of WoW, shows just how strong the MMO industry has become. He also notes that it's maturing as well. He points out that Vanguard, which was riddled with bugs at launch, proves that players are no longer willing to accept buggy games and won't stand to pay monthly fees to basically "test" unfinished products.
But Philip Wride, head of Elysium Gaming Consultants, thinks the biggest impact on online gaming in 2008 might be from something outside the industry. For the whole scoop, check out the BBC News article.