MMO specialists have told MCV that predicting the fall of World of Warcraft is ‘futile'.
Blizzard's title is the world's most lucrative MMO, raking in over $100 million a month.
And rival developers admit that even when there are some big name MMOs on the horizon – such as Star Wars: The Old Republic, FFXIV, APB, DC Universe Online and Star Trek Online – none of them will beat Warcraft's huge installed base.
No game will topple World of Warcraft,” commented Cryptic Studios' COO Jack Emmert.
Many companies try to replicate Warcraft's gameplay, but that's just silly. If someone wants WoW, they'll play WoW.”
Funcom's director of communications Erling Ellingsen added: The game has proven to be incredibly resilient against the test of time, not only because it's a great game but also because it's turned into somewhat of a pop-cultural phenomenon.
Predicting success or failure in the MMO segment is dangerous, but I think it's safe to say that World of Warcraft will be around for a long time. Based on the numbers reported by Blizzard so far, it will probably take a while before their subscriber level falls significantly.”
Jagex COO Rob Smith agrees: 2010 will see the release of a number of hardcore space and science fiction MMOs such as Star Wars and Star Trek Online.
These games are unlikely to topple the likes of World of Warcraft from their throne, at least in the short term.”
Blizzard is set to release a new World of Warcraft expansion into retail this year called Cataclysm.
The firm has told MCV it hopes the add-on will shake-up the Warcraft universe by refining the established game.
We look at game development as an iterative process, and we're continually polishing World of Warcraft and building on what we've done in the past,” the company's production director J. Allen Brack told MCV.
Just to give you one example: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm gave us an opportunity to go back to the game's original zones and update them dramatically.
Cataclysm is also shaking up the game in other ways, with new features and races added, altered landscapes, new zones, new professions, new dungeons, and new raids to ensure that the game offers all of our players something new and exciting.”
For more on the future of the MMO genre, head over to our special feature