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Why did MMOs become about the money and numbers?

TheScavengerTheScavenger Matrix, NYPosts: 911Member Uncommon

A lot of good companies degraded when they saw the money Blizzard made with WoW. They didn't make MMOs because they enjoyed making or playing them, but they actually hated MMOs, but saw how much money there was in the business.

 

Anyone remember Ultima Online? That was decades ago. That was when EA wasn't all about the money. EA helped make UO, a truly great and probably the best MMO to date. People still talk about it to this day...ITS STILL PAY TO PLAY and...ITS STILL A SUCCESS. More successful than EA's recent MMOs.

 

Then remember SWG? Yeah so do I. While I personally enjoyed UO more (always liked fantasy), SWG was amazing. Then SOE, a great company at the time, completely changed it. Again, they saw how much money they "thought" they "could" make...in the end, it was a disaster for them. Then SOE re-made it into SWTOR...they took the recent changes of SWG and made it a bit more modern and added a linear story that has nothing to do with MMO. Didn't really work out for them and SOE turned it into a free to play game like the rest of their games.

 

Even Everquest was more of a sandbox (or maybe its better classified as an open world).

 

Then of course Asheron's Call was amazing, more niche than EQ and UO. But the developers of AC LOVED their game and the genre. They really wanted to make it great. Then their new MMO, just made for cash and numbers.

 

the point is...these companies used to be great, they loved MMOs and they really wanted to revolutionize the genre. heck, these companies even let their developers play their MMO. I remember talking to developers in UO and SWG (not GMs, actual developers...in chat)...now these developers never play the MMO. When was the last time you talked to a developer in a game where you didn't have to contact them for a support question? Probably back in the classic days.

 

So like the title says...why did MMOs become about the money and numbers? What happened to the love that went into them? In the old days, they never cared how many people played the MMO...as long as the ones who played it enjoyed it. Now they are factory made, no love at all...just feels like your playing a machine.

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Comments

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member

    Rewind to Spring of 2004.

    "EQ2 is gonna so rock!" "Pfft, have you seen Blizzard's cartoony graphics, no one's ever going to want to play that."

    Spring of 2005.

    "Subs don't mean anything!" "EQ's still a better game, damn WoW kiddies"

     

    I'd say just about maybe Feb. '05. When it finally became clear that EQ2 vs. WoW was not going to be any sort of contest at all.

    Prior to that, the subs-based arguments consisted (primarily) of denial that Lineage "mattered".

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by TheScavenger
    not GMs, actual developers...in chat

    I believe you can thank the Liability Management Team for that one.

    Last time I saw a Dev in-game (anywhere) would be around...2006 maybe?

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,316Member Uncommon

    Yes.  "Bangs Fist"

    When did for profit companies start caring about money and numbers.

    That really grinds my gears.

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • GruugGruug Chillicothe, ILPosts: 1,311Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by TheScavenger

    A lot of good companies degraded when they saw the money Blizzard made with WoW. They didn't make MMOs because they enjoyed making or playing them, but they actually hated MMOs, but saw how much money there was in the business.

     

    Anyone remember Ultima Online? That was decades ago. That was when EA wasn't all about the money. EA helped make UO, a truly great and probably the best MMO to date. People still talk about it to this day...ITS STILL PAY TO PLAY and...ITS STILL A SUCCESS. More successful than EA's recent MMOs.

     

    Then remember SWG? Yeah so do I. While I personally enjoyed UO more (always liked fantasy), SWG was amazing. Then SOE, a great company at the time, completely changed it. Again, they saw how much money they "thought" they "could" make...in the end, it was a disaster for them. Then SOE re-made it into SWTOR...they took the recent changes of SWG and made it a bit more modern and added a linear story that has nothing to do with MMO. Didn't really work out for them and SOE turned it into a free to play game like the rest of their games.

     

    Even Everquest was more of a sandbox (or maybe its better classified as an open world).

     

    Then of course Asheron's Call was amazing, more niche than EQ and UO. But the developers of AC LOVED their game and the genre. They really wanted to make it great. Then their new MMO, just made for cash and numbers.

     

    the point is...these companies used to be great, they loved MMOs and they really wanted to revolutionize the genre. heck, these companies even let their developers play their MMO. I remember talking to developers in UO and SWG (not GMs, actual developers...in chat)...now these developers never play the MMO. When was the last time you talked to a developer in a game where you didn't have to contact them for a support question? Probably back in the classic days.

     

    So like the title says...why did MMOs become about the money and numbers? What happened to the love that went into them? In the old days, they never cared how many people played the MMO...as long as the ones who played it enjoyed it. Now they are factory made, no love at all...just feels like your playing a machine.

     

    I just wanted to point out that your facts are incorrect regarding SWTOR. It was not SOE that made SWTOR but Bioware (owned by EA) and NOT SOE. SOE had absolutely nothing to do with SWTOR.

     

    Other then the above, I agree in principle but not in total. EVERY company that makes any type of game (or product) is about making money. They could not stay in business if they did not make money and therefore not make those games. At the same time, I agree that many companies have lost sight of WHY they made good games at one time or another. They forgot that they are suppose to make games FOR GAMERS. To paraphrase J. P. Getty....make a product that everyone wants and they will beat a path to your door.....(a key to a truly successful business).

    Let's party like it is 1863!

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    Capitalism 101: corporations that do not min/max their costs/revenue will be driven out of business by those that do.

  • VorchVorch Somewhere, FLPosts: 800Member

    1. People played MMOs. Loved it but wanted a more epic world

    2. People wanted to make that epic world for people. They required resources to make that epic world.

    3. Players played that MMO. Loved it, but wanted an even more epic world.

    4. Developers wanted to make that epic world for people. They required resources to make that epic world.

     

    In order for that MMO world to exist, it MUST make money. These games, no matter how immersive, do not actually exist in another dimension. Money makes these worlds possible. All that remains is HOW that money is collected; hopefully, as convenient to the player and unintrusive as possible.

    "As you read these words, a release is seven days or less away or has just happened within the last seven days— those are now the only two states you’ll find the world of Tyria."...Guild Wars 2

  • PyukPyuk Eugene, ORPosts: 692Member Uncommon
    Strange, i must have missed that memo that states game companies are charitable services that make games for the masses out of the kindness of their hearts. How dare they want to make a living. How dare they indeed!

    I make spreadsheets at work - I don't want to make them for the games I play.

  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Oxon Hill, MDPosts: 1,147Member Uncommon

    It's more like when did they sell their souls to get the WoW money?  After WoW obviously.  The question is how much of its developer choice and how much is it the big wigs pushing them to make the next WoW.

     

    Seems to be the state of the genre comes from copy catism.  Not to mention internal polling which amounts to asking kids if they want a steady diet of  candy vs. green peas without thinking about the health of the kid.    Thus we have WoWish games that are casuallized further.  

  • FinalFikusFinalFikus Chicago, ILPosts: 906Member
    What other entertainment industry do they not allow the creatives to take a risk on something? The current formula is all but used up.

    "If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  • NovusodNovusod Lakewood, NJPosts: 892Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Icewhite

    I'd say just about maybe Feb. '05. When it finally became clear that EQ2 vs. WoW was not going to be any sort of contest at all.

    Prior to that, the subs-based arguments consisted (primarily) of denial that Lineage "mattered".

    Anyone who thought Lineage didn't matter wasn't just in denial, they were delusional. Lineage with more than 2 million subs which they maintained for almost a decade was the second most successful MMORPG besides WoW. Lineage II was the 3rd most successful MMORPG with also about 2 million subs. Even today Lineage still makes money and considered successful.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by FinalFikus
    What other entertainment industry do they not allow the creatives to take a risk on something? The current formula is all but used up.

    Hollywood, arguably.

    Network television, without a doubt.

    The music industry; yes and no...not all "formula" productions; just the artists that make the most money.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • TheCrow2kTheCrow2k Adelaide, AKPosts: 953Member
    No Publisher is willing to take risks on titles that innovate in any meaningful way. That is why the market is full of WoW clones.

    Generally its the publishers who put money before fun, not the studios.
  • ShadanwolfShadanwolf Posts: 2,114Member Uncommon

    I'm stunned that some have no concept of the need to make a profit in a business.

    Profits pay employees...allow further product development...and provide an incentive to the company owners to continue to invest and many other other things.

    Simply stunned.

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,464Member Uncommon

    I been around a long long time and sorry to say but these businesses have been every bit corrupt and money greedy since day 1,nothing has changed.

    How long was EA ripping off their employees from just wages before they were actually sued?

    Ea was famous for buying up smaller operations to steal their properties,then shut them down.They bought out origin [Garriot Brothers],who subsequently got bought out again by NCSOFT and lost everything AGAIN.Richard had to sue NCSOFT to get some money and i am not sure if his brother got anything at all.

    Both Blizzard and SOE rushed their products for fear the other would get an upper hand and to meet the Christmas deadline.

    Ever play the original EQ?lol more bugs than the African rain forest,you think that is the sign of greed or a company that cares about it's game and product?

    Blizzard was totally owned by Vivendi who through terrible spending was in trouble so tried to sell Blizzard.How much did they care about gaming ,when they tried to sell it lol and at an incredible bargain price and still nobody wanted it.

    IMO the FIRST developer to show me a sign of caring was Square Enix.They  spent around 45 million to make FFVII.Trion recently thought they had over spent on Rift at 50 million.We are talking about a 16 year difference,that 45 million would be more like 100+ million today.Square Enix was willing to put that kind of investment way back when,even though they were not doing that well before FFVII.Trion on the other hand works a lot with investors money,yet thinks 50 million is a little too much.

    SWTOR spent 200 million,so not like they held back on the purse strings.Point is there seems to be a lot of disorganized operations that really don't know how much to spend or are a little too disorganized and spend more than needed.I would not blame the NOW for going  greedy and all about money,nothing has changed in businesses or the people running them,there is simply a LOT of hit n miss behind the scenes and in our games.


    Samoan Diamond

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,727Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Wizardry

    I been around a long long time and sorry to say but these businesses have been every bit corrupt and money greedy since day 1,nothing has changed.

    My thoughts exactly, I especially loved OP's "In the old days, they never cared how many people played the MMO...as long as the ones who played it enjoyed it" line :)  Those sweet, rose-tinted glasses...

  • sportsfansportsfan BlankenbergePosts: 431Member

    Since when became players communists ?

    Since 18 year olds got the internet to spread meaningless opinions.

    The problem is:

     

    I can't even blame them: NOT being a socialist at the age of 18 is stupid, but STILL spreading this thinking at the age of 40 is idiocy.

     

     

  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,759Member Uncommon

    Artists should starve to provide us art!

    ...right?

    "Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • wakatackwakatack DarwinPosts: 7Member

    I think allot of people are missing the point.

    No one disputes that making and supporting an MMO costs money, allot of money.

    But there is a big difference between making a product / service which is focused on making money, and making a product / service which is focused on actually provided something people WANT to PAY FOR.

    This applies to everything in life, all money-making products / services.
    You can scam people into parting with their cash, or you can make something so desirable they are blissfully unaware how much cash they are throwing at said product /service.


    As a person who also was around playing MMO's before that term even existed, before the genre was even established, I can agree with the OP, the lack of passion into modern day MMO's is the real reason so many are flopping to F2P - Cash Shops, or even launches with that model.


    Rather than make a game so good you never question paying for it, they a make a game where if you don't part with cash, you have little chance of enjoying it.

     


    Good products / services SELL THEMSELVES!

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    Originally posted by Novusod

    Anyone who thought Lineage didn't matter wasn't just in denial, they were delusional. Lineage with more than 2 million subs which they maintained for almost a decade was the second most successful MMORPG besides WoW. Lineage II was the 3rd most successful MMORPG with also about 2 million subs. Even today Lineage still makes money and considered successful.

    Lineage is still NCsofts biggest game. GW2 only ever got as high as 35% of their total income for a few months around launch. It's still huge numbers for them in SK and China.

  • TheHavokTheHavok San Jose, CAPosts: 2,398Member Uncommon

    The main difference from then and now?  The market is saturated with titles, giving players many more options then in the past.  This leads to a lot stiffer competition between studios but also means that they must make every dollar and every cent count.

    Its actually a good thing for us, since studios fight harder to keep us playing their games.  Unfortunately it does mean that games shut down and your community dies out - but that's what is to be expected for online gaming.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,676Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by wakatack

    I think allot of people are missing the point.

    No one disputes that making and supporting an MMO costs money, allot of money.

    But there is a big difference between making a product / service which is focused on making money, and making a product / service which is focused on actually provided something people WANT to PAY FOR.

    Maybe we're missing the point because we're simply looking at how the world works all wrong. Help us out.

    Can you explain how an entertainment service makes money without providing something people WANT to PAY FOR?

     

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • RydesonRydeson Canton, OHPosts: 3,858Member Uncommon
         Because the world is changing..  The days when businesses used to be satisfied turning a profit in a small market are almost gone..  Your mom and pop stores are being eaten alive by the global companies.. Gaming isn't any different.. EA Sports, Blizzard or whoever aren't focusing on a small niche audience, they now see global dollars, and greed always comes into play..  I have personally watched small companies that excelled in a niche market, grow too big > more profit > greed = downfall of company product and service..
  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member

    Go back in time:

    Late 90's: Game cost 60$ and a few million players buy if a hit.

    First mmorpgs: Cost similar or less or a bit more - generate decent playerbase maybe not as bit as the above due to tech, lack of connection etc...

    BUT:

    Each player pays a sub each month to play!

    So that's your answer, once you have a sub cost that could go on a few years and steady audience, it's an awesome market to get into - cue publishers start throwing in.

    Next however, the costs go up, as Bigger, better mmorpg = more players = more subs = more ROI.

    As mmorpgs are expensive, risky, long dev and very complicated but potential to earn mega bucks eg wow, that's why.

    Look at the budgets of AAA mmorpgs.

  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Thereiam, ARPosts: 2,697Member

    Don't kid yourself OP. Companies were always about making money. Making something because you think it will be fun does not mean you aren't making something to make money.

     

    There are more MMO players now then there was back before WoW. Clearly that means there are more people who find it fun to play MMOs now than those of us who did back then. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean suddenly the world became about money (it always was) and not about making things fun (people still find them fun).

  • stayBlindstayBlind Suwannee, GAPosts: 527Member
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar

    Yes.  "Bangs Fist"

    When did for profit companies start caring about money and numbers.

    That really grinds my gears.

    A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.

    Henry Ford

    Little forum boys with their polished cyber toys: whine whine, boo-hoo, talk talk.

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