MassivelyOP’s 2022 Awards: Worst MMO Business Model


Welcome back to Massively Overpowered’s formal end-of-the-year awards!

Today’s award is for the Worst MMO Business Model, which was awarded jointly to Star Citizen and crypto scams last year. This award is intended to recognize a live MMORPG of any age that has demonstrated an abysmal, terrible, no-good business model specifically in 2022, regardless of its past performance. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

And the MassivelyOP staff pick for the Worst MMO Business Model of 2022 is…


​Andrew Ross: Anything play-to-earn. NFTs are crap, but P2E threatens to turn the genre into one of those dystopian Black Mirror episodes.

Andy McAdams: Star Citizen. All the pay for none of the play!

Brianna Royce: Diablo Immortal, Star Citizen. I can’t believe a Blizzard MMO is dethroning Star Citizen here, but that just goes to show what a stain on the genre and the company this game and its egregiously greedy monetization really was. I don’t expect much from NetEase, but shame on the Blizzard folks who launched this with their names on it.

Carlo Lacsina: Kritika Global, Diablo Immortal.

Chris Neal: Diablo Immortal. This game doesn’t just have the fingerprints of Activision’s money guys all over it; it has the stink, the look, and the taste of that, too. And least we forget, one of the franchise’s former top guys pretty much said that’s what led to this one’s creation. Mobile gaming has so much potential, but this one does not help.

Colin Henry: Diablo Immortal, New World. I’m going to go with New World for this one. Hear me out. What the player gets for their one-time purchase is a huge value, and so far Amazon Games has chosen not to charge for the new zones being added to the game. That’s great! But for me, business model isn’t just about value; it’s also about keeping the game reliably funded. Sooner or later, Amazon is going to want this game to make money, and I just don’t see how it’s going to do that. The cash shop is pretty light, mostly cosmetics, and all of them super ugly. Seriously, I’ve got a nice stack of cash shop currency from Prime Gaming giveaways, but have yet to find anything I want to spend this free money on. On the other end of the bad business model spectrum is Diablo Immortal, which has plenty to spend your money on, in the form of pay-to-win gear upgrade lockboxes, with some players spending thousands of dollars and not getting squat. There’s not much more to say on this; even after adjustments, it’s just plain over-monetized.

Eliot Lefebvre: I cannot imagine being so invested in an IP consisting primarily of “there’s a dark underworld full of demons, go kill them” that paying money for Diablo Immortal seems like a smart idea. I cannot imagine how many layers of greasepaint must be caked upon your face beneath a rotting, tattered red nose prosthetic for your to actually defend it. But then, I also cannot imagine what would lead you to think paying Chris Roberts another $200 for a ship that may eventually be available to look at in the non-game that is Star Citizen is a smart investment. And both of these things made money, so I hate what people do with their money and I am going to be reduced to finding peoples’ cars and kicking their tires until they explode.

Justin Olivetti: I hated seeing so many MMOs – EVE Online, RuneScape, Albion Online – jack up their subscription prices. I’m genuinely worried that these moves will end up losing the studios more in the long run, both from current players (who might leave) and prospective ones (who might be turned away).

Tyler Edwards: Star Citizen. Say what you will about Diablo Immortal or any other freemium punching bag du jour, but at least they’re charging you for an actual finished game.

Diablo Immortal took our award for Worst MMO Business Model. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What MMO had the worst business model in 2022?

  • Diablo Immortal (30%, 404 Votes)
  • Star Citizen (32%, 433 Votes)
  • Anything play-to-earn or blockchain or crypto (19%, 257 Votes)
  • Kritika Global (0%, 0 Votes)
  • EVE Online (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Albion Online (1%, 8 Votes)
  • RuneScape (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Legends of Aria (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Shroud of the Avatar (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Dual Universe (0%, 4 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (2%, 23 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (2%, 27 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (0%, 4 Votes)
  • SWTOR (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (0%, 4 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (1%, 8 Votes)
  • LOTRO (1%, 8 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Ashes of Creation (0%, 1 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Temtem (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Mortal Online 2 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Anything with a sub (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Anything crowdfunded (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Anything buy-to-play (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Anything pay-to-win (6%, 85 Votes)
  • Anything free-to-play (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Something else (let us know in the comments!) (0%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 972

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How does MassivelyOP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together to nominate and discuss candidates and hopefully settle on a consensus winner. We don’t have a hard vote, but we do include commentary from writers so that you can see our thought process. The site’s award goes to the staff selection, but we’ll include both it and the community’s top nomination in our debrief in January.
How does MassivelyOP populate this poll?
Poll options include all MMOs nominated plus a few others we thought should be included.
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