About four years ago, I wrote one of the pieces I’m still most proud of: It essentially argued that the MMO industry was suffering from “multiplex monotony,” that the market’s desperate attempt to one-up itself to be the next blockbuster WoW was not only unsustainable but failing, at the expense of both the AAAs and the mid-budget types of games that actually built and maintained the MMO genre. It’s weird to look back at it – Fortnite didn’t even exist at the time! – but it’s only gotten truer as it’s aged, both for MMOs and for other titles.
In fact, the idea that the broader industry is coming to a “breaking point” is the subject of a lengthy editorial on PC Gamer this week that I thought was worth discussion because it mirrors those thoughts we had about the MMO market way back then. Author Jody Macgregor touches on everything from crunch and streaming stresses to artificially always-online titles and the demand for constant updates from players. There’s a poignant bit about how every game must strive to be “the biggest thing in its genre” else it’s perceived as a failure. And she specifically points out that there are fewer AAA mainstream titles coming along now – and those that do come along cost three times as much as they used to. Sound familiar?
I’m curious what our readers think, especially since MMO players have been on the vanguard of this bubble, feeling its effects long before now. Are we watching the AAA video game market burst? And if so… does it need to burst to reclaim stability and normalcy for the people working on it?
With thanks to Ethan for dropping this in my Twitter feed!