It’s a good sign that Black Desert Online has been not just a flash in the pan but an ongoing success in the MMO field even as that field has winnowed somewhat. But Pearl Abyss America’s CEO, Jeonghee Jin, is quick to point out that the smaller field doesn’t mean that competition between titles is any less intense than it was during the gold rush a few years back. She specifically notes that the market is diverging between more old-school experiences and bigger, more polished games, with success requiring an ongoing commitment to the game:
Using our own engine and live service experience, we put a continuous effort to improve the game starting from the launch date… To be honest, we were not really successful with our first launch in [South] Korea, but the team didn’t give up. We launched and updated with more content and more patches just hoping to make it better and better. So until now we’ve just had this crazy amount of [patches] and content updates. There were hopes and ambitions in the team, who believed in the product that it’s going to work.
Jin also notes that the dearth of successful subscription models has more to do with the simple value proposition when so many games, both online and single-player, are structured to work as a continuing service rather than a single purchase. It’s an interesting interview about the overall trends in the industry and the demands placed on a studio even with a successful studio, well worth internalizing for anyone who enjoys speculating about the future of the MMO genre and industry.