Gaming industry behemoth Peter Molyneux recently sat down to discuss his views on innovation in the MMO universe. Molyneux believes 'innovation is much more difficult when a lot of money is on the line.' Massively has touched upon this subject before which means that...it's happening? Oh no! Our multiplying subscriptions are all going to kill off our own content! I should have never given away my Xbox to focus on EVE! Take a deep breath because before we all panic, there are some important things to consider.
With the MMO industry seeing astronomical numbers tossed their way for funding, perhaps he is correct. Much of the criticism around the early release of games like SWG was blamed on the desire to make returns on the huge investments put into the cost of development and production. When ten, twenty, or more recently, Real Time Worlds' fifty million dollars, is on the line, the wallet will become a huge factor towards the development and timetable of any game.
On the other hand, that massive amount of money we all wish we had is drawing in designers, producers, investors, and of course, gamers. As Alex St. John pointed out in a recent interview, 'the PC is the home of the most profitable game in history, generating more revenue than the top 10 console games combined.' St. John is certainly right about one thing, (US)$1.2 billion is certainly a way of attracting attention. But WoW is only one of many successful MMOs. The list keeps growing and with each success story comes more interest in creating new and innovative experiences.
So where will this new found fortune take the MMO industry? Will the interest generated by new financial resources force developers to focus on profitable returns? Or will that funding bring with it more players, more attention, and more dedication to generating exciting worlds?