Gamers With Jobs co-founder Sean Sands contributed to The Escapist a two-page article lamenting the state of the MMO industry. The article is aggressively titled "The Fallacy of MMO Innovation," and uses the example of Age of Conan as the springboard for a discussion of industry-wide issues.
We've already asked questions about just how innovative AoC is, but Sands seems certain of the answer, saying "in reality it really brings very little to the table that hasn't been tried before." But who can blame Funcom for not revolutionizing the genre? MMOs are so expensive to make, and their successes are uncertain to begin with, says Sands, so it's no surprise that developers and publishers are afraid to innovate. He also suggests that polish is just as essential as innovation; that's what makes World of Warcraft successful, after all.
It's a good read, although its contents might not be anything new to the minds of experienced MMO players. There's one question the author doesn't answer, though; is there a way out of this rut? We'd be fools if we tried to provide a definitive answer to that, but it's what the article left us wondering in the end. AoC pushes things forward a tiny bit in some ways. Some hope Warhammer Online will as well. But neither will totally revolutionize the genre. Is there anything on the horizon you're hoping will take the genre to a new level, or are you just as pessimistic as the rest of us?