Massively multiplayer online games can be a difficult industry to break into and succeed. For every Blizzard or Sony Online Entertainment, there are several smaller companies brimming with ideas about how to inject change into the MMO market. Some succeed by breaking from the World of Warcraft paradigm. Most do not.
Writer James Matson writes about these titles that begin full of promise but ultimately meet a chilly reception by MMO gamers, in an article at Atomic. He touches on the fact that the sometimes high price of the box sale paired with monthly MMO fees, sustained over some months, leads to some serious disappointment when the MMO fails and the servers go dark. Matson specifically cites the examples of Auran's Fury and (what is currently Namco-Bandai's) Hellgate: London. "This would appear to the be the first tendrils of a new kind of gaming plague that's arrived with MMOs, games that can be rendered useless due to mismanagement, poor sales or just bad luck," Matson writes.
While he concedes it may be a selfish sentiment, Matson wonders if the numerous MMOs that fold, with respective IPs that simply disappear, should release their server side source code as freeware. "Wouldn't it be one last, great act of kindness to throw the server software out to those gamers that did support the title from start to fire and brimstone finish?... Either way, I'm left pondering the whole deal as my coffee table gets yet another kitsch drink coaster that looks suspiciously like a PC DVD."
What about you? Do you think it's a shame these IPs simply fade away, or do you think there's still life in the IP of a failed MMO that can be spun off in the future?
Are all MMOs just extended vaporware?
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