World of Warcraft is doing terrific lately, but if you believe the hype, there's trouble on the horizon, and it's coming in the form of two big MMOs: Age of Conan and Warhammer Online. Greg Howson of Britain's Guardian newspaper has a column online in which he examines WoW's grip on MMO gamers and the two big games it'll face this year.
We'll leave the cross-MMO predictions to our great sister site Massively, but for their part, Blizzard says they're looking forward to a little competition in the MMO pool. Howson has J. Allen Brack, WoW's lead producer, saying that they're looking forward to playing the new games as well. And it's true -- real competition in this space might actually be a welcome thing to fans of all MMO games. Blizzard is working hard now, but they might actually be working harder if they had a competitor breathing down their necks.
Unfortunately for those who want to see that happen, it's going to be super hard for anyone to get near Blizzard's neck, much less near their game. As Lord of the Rings Online producer Ed Relf says to Howson, WoW is pretty much the iPod of the MMO space. It could just be that what Blizzard has done here -- bring an MMO to the forefront of gaming culture for an extended period of time -- is a deed that just can't be replicated, no matter how much money you put into making a game.