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The Daily Grind: Is it IP or people?

Yesterday after the announcement of the new Marvel MMO, a bit of lively discussion sparked up on Twitter between Shuttler from Limited Edition, Brenda "Tipa" Holloway, West Karana blogmistress and Massively alumni, and me. There was of course, the discussion of Marvel's MMO re-entering the scene, but also the question came up of whether the IP is what draws people in to a particular MMO, or if it's the people? Tipa and I generally felt that, much like World of Warcraft's success, pulling new people in has a lot to do with people suggesting the game to their friends, who then jump in and start playing it. Shuttler suggested that for those who aren't getting in via friends, IP may be the most important thing that brings new players to the table. After all, how likely are you to walk into a store and pick up an MMO in a genre you don't particularly care about - even if it has millions of players - when a genre you like (superheroes, in the original discussion) has an MMO?

So this morning I wanted to open this discussion up to you all, as it was an interesting topic. What do you think pulls in new people to MMOs? For new players, do you think it's more important to have a recognizeable IP like Star Trek, Marvel, DC, Star Wars - or is it more important to have good word of mouth from people you know? When you started out, what got you into the genre? Was it friends telling you about a great MMO they were playing, or did you decide to check out a particular game because of the story/genre behind it? How important do you think IP is in the initial hook? Are there other factors that you feel are more important to bringing new players to the MMO genre? Or is it a combination of all of them, really?

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