Funcom CEO suggests that gamers are suffering MMO ‘fatigue’

    
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Stringing things together.

It’s been a good year so far for Funcom with the success of Conan Exiles and the impending relaunch of The Secret World. CEO Rui Casais recently sat down to an interview discussing both the Nordic development scene for video games and the specific future of Funcom, including the company’s focus on the Conan IP. Casais points out that it’s not really a focus born of recent entertainment trends; rather, it’s just that a lot of Funcom’s staff knows the Conan lore in great detail, and it’s a setting that lends itself to a wide variety of game styles.

As for MMORPGs specifically, he says,

“There are still many players enjoying this space and we continue to invest in it as is proven by our relaunch of The Secret World coming this spring. We do see that some players have gotten a bit of fatigue from the very large time commitment that these games tend to require and are moving on to our online social gaming experiences, and we plan to create some of those experiences as well, just like we’re doing with Conan Exiles.”

Casais also stresses that while Conan Exiles might not have the traditional narrative story that many Funcom games have, it’s still meant to have a rich story moving in the background, more of a different approach to storytelling rather than an outright abandonment. He notes that while there are a lot of games in the survival sandbox genre, it’s not a “competitive” genre in the usual sense, as it’s very possible for players to play one for a while, move on, and then go back later. Last but not least, there are hints of more (“a few,” he says) games to be announced this year, which is good news for fans of the studio’s projects.

Source: IGN
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Johnny

In my opinion its not that players have to put so much time into an MMO, its more the way they allow/offer us to spend time in said MMO.

Valen Sinclair
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Valen Sinclair

While a true statement, and probably 5 years late, this is deflection from the fact their games are kind of bad. Conan Exiles for example. People freaked about it for 3 days, saw nudity, then uninstalled. I watched some people stream it and my Suck Meter hit about a 9.2 after 10 minutes.

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Alex Willis

With the recent success of ESO, which absolutely started as a “fatigued” MMO, but morphed gradually into an excellent version of itself, it’s hard to take Casais’ comment at face value. Clearly, there’s still a substantial market share out there for classic and even traditional MMOs, as long as they are GOOD.

If someone tried to tell you that there was market fatigue for FPSes, you’d probably laugh. Well, same deal with MMOs: people don’t want bad versions of either genre. They will flock to well-made or innovative iterations of either.

So it’s a combination of two factors, from what I can see:

1. Poorly produced/designed games
2. Risk aversion

I don’t think any of this would be surprising to the average gamer. Most of us are pretty clear with our expectations for well-designed or innovative games.

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Kevin McCaughey

I’m still playing Everquest and there hasn’t been a game since 1999 that is as good. But I have tried about 100 of them, every time ready to commit. But every time the new game has nowhere near the same depth.

I believe it is because the assets (gfx) these days take up about 90% of the budget, given the improvement in graphics over there years. So about 10% of the budget now goes to the actual game. So it’s always shit but often looks great.

agemyth 😩
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agemyth 😩

Genre fatigue happens when creators fail to create new experiences and adapt to audience expectations.

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Diskonekted

Or it is F2P fatigue. I stopped playing mmos when I no longer wanted to create a new character because bag space cost nearly as much as a game itself. Add on to that if you want anything else for your character and the “optional” subscription most games have. True they are technically optional not having it does also effect how much you might enjoy the game.

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Tamanous

Yup … because the current crop of mmos are shit. Every new mmo I have played over the last several years have only managed to keep my attention for a few months each because I lose interest.

While waiting on one to some of the new indie mmos to be made I have been playing vanilla wow now for 15 months straight and still loving it. I also play it casually along with several others going the same speed in the guild so the full time commitment excuse is crap. Only a minority are hardcore … but obviously their impact is great as it should be.

Stop making crap mmos and people will play them. The developers have poisoned the well with their F2P bullshit fucking the games up. They only have themselves to blame. Also stop expecting millions of players per game and target one God damned audience you greedy assholes.

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kgptzac

I hope you are not implying that there is a causal relationship where a game is shit because you “only” could play for a few months before getting bored. The only reason why looking back in time and stuff seems to be rosy colored is because back then, there was much less games to choose from.

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Tamanous

There were many mmos by 2006. Not sure where you’re going with this. It doesn’t even matter how many. It matter how good they were at keeping people’s interest. Players stuck with mmos longer because the players got the games they wanted. No whale hunting and development geared toward mass player base with expected turn around.

The games were made differently than now. It is the exact reason why the new indie “old school” mmos are in development now … there is a demand for it. It is why vanilla wow and emulators have 100k+ player bases across the popular ones. The games were actually game worlds and not F2P transaction platforms designed to maximize income against minimized spenders which corrupt mmo game design.

There is NO f’ing rose coloured glasses when players ACTUALLY play a game for over a year!!! It means the game is fucking good and burn out isn’t an issue as the populations is not just sustained but growing yearly. The new indie old school mmorpgs in development would not exist without this demand.

The driving reason behind vanilla Wow gaming (the most populated servers) is the concept of keeping all content within the game. No pay to win or for any items outside the game. It is the preservation of gaming and, these days, we have to look back at older mmos that proved to have sustainable populations to get it. Most of us want new mmorpgs like this but they barely exist today.

My point is that these developers say stupid ass shit like “mmo burn out” after they themselves shit in mmo pool by corrupting their games by marketing for mass and fast turn around audiences instead of nurturing their existing audience. Most of the existing older mmos have flat out abandoned their original audiences.

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socontrariwise

I wish there was a MMO out there that would be less combat and competition focused but acknowledge that many of its playerbase are now adults with stressfull jobs where some peaceful, collaborative and more social focus would be most appreciated.
I care not one bit about being some hero, I care about relaxing with a friendly group of people and some brain-switch-off where my attention matters and my creativity and not how long I am willing to repeat the same thing over and over again in my scarce spare time …

I enjoyed the way you forge in A Tale in the Desert a lot more than I enjoy clicking a button in Black Desert. I enjoy picking a lock in ESO a lot more than I enjoy killing 100 rats or who knows what for a ding that enables me to kill now 100 wolves. I enjoyed playing minigames in Free Realms for resource gathering much more than standing the same time around whacking some node or trying to find a node in another game. And I enjoyed decorating my houses with this abundance of easily obtained items in EQ a LOT more than the ridiculous grind and scarcity ESO put into it. I enjoyed hunting for seeds in BDO and improving them for month. I would have enjoyed horse breeding in BDO if the traits and color weren’t pre-determined and nothing to chance or creativity. I even enjoyed hours of digging and dropping dirt in Salem – because I could help do something unique. I enjoyed helping for weeks building a bridge in Istaria/Horizons to reach a new island, didn’t even care for the grind, because the grind was not juts a means to more grind with a new number attached to it. I spent many hours playing the Diplomacy card game in Vanguard, collecting new cards, finding a better strategy and learning about the lore by beating the NPC’s in it. I spent month in Landmark building different things (and would have spent a lot more if the tools didn’t turn into this micromanagement thing) or in Skysaga building my castles (and if they hadn’t blocked me with the alpha 10 from choosing my color schemes for decorative items I’d still do so).

But hey, let’s make the next PvP MMO with some PvE thing that happens to have a few fetch quests and a bit button-click crafting and the fig leave housing.

Valen Sinclair
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Valen Sinclair

Sounds like you like to mindlessly grind…which I can’t stand. I prefer story, and mmos don’t have good stories. This is the main reason I don’t play mmos much anymore, and have migrated back to single player experiences. If I want to play something online with friends we typically play more casual stuff like some kind of golf game, or Worms, etc.

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Stropp

I don’t think that is what he was saying. I read that he enjoyed systems that had meaning and depth rather than just grinding out 100 mobs to move on to the next.

It’s not grinding to spend time decorating your house, or simply fishing because you find it relaxing. And doing a grind because you end up with something world changing like a bridge is more rewarding than doing a grind to add a point to reputation because you want a bit of gear that will be superseded in the next zone anyway.

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Crowe

I dunno about that. I think I got Funcom Fatigue from playing AoC and TSW at launch. Other MMOs haven’t affected me like that though.

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Robert Mann

True to a point, where people don’t have the time. It’s not really MMO fatigue though, it’s lack of time for many. Well, at least what he’s talking about, there’s also some MMO fatigue out there.

Now, in terms of fatigue, there are several kinds. There’s overall MMO fatigue (people needing a real break from the genre) and then there’s status quo fatigue(s). That could be anything from tired of the same old races, the same designs, or whatnot. Which is where variety comes in, once again, as the hope for the future of the genre.

If MMOs dared to be less of a cluster of clones, we’d likely see more people sticking with certain games and more games with strong player engagement… as well as players who swapped into those games rather than going offline for a while.

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GiantsBane

It’s not MMO fatigue. It’s bad product fatigue. With the online gaming market exploding over the last 10-12 years we’ve seen the market flooded by a plethora of shovel ware shit pile video games of all types, but I feel that the MMO market has suffered the most from this with the variety of skeezy business models like microtransactions or even the standard issue “raiding is the only way to endgame” gameplay style being shoveled down peoples throats.

A good number of the business execs making decisions on gaming related stuff don’t seem to have much knowledge of gaming, or mmos though so it’s no wonder they wind up making shitbag decisions designed to try and milk consumers for cash for a multitude of sub par product lines.