Modern MMO - What's going on?
A bit of curiosity. We all know the MMO market is over-saturated. using the word "crowded" to describe it doesn't even begin to get there. Likewise, we all know the failure rate is somewhat high. Many MMO's simply don't make it. Likewise, the rate at which games that wanted to charge subs are now forced to do otherwise - LoTR; Star Trek; Conan; Even WoW is F2p to level 20. All of these are examples of either partial failure or in the case of WoW the game's age finally catching up with it.
And yet...yet...developers - and their publishing house overlords (bit of exaggerated humor there) - continue to insist on entering into this overcrowded market. Despite abundant and very clear evidence that the MMO is not the cash cow many think it will become, everyone wants a slice of the MMO pie. Partly, I believe, because each studio is arrogant enough to believe theirs will be the "next WoW" and will woo millions into a new subscription fee. SWTOR and maybe Rift seem to argue that the possibility of this, though diminished, yet remains.
But most fail. Either partially - like LoTR and Star Trek, forced to go f2p despite wishes to the contrary - or completely, leaving the scene altogether or maintaining such a small player base as to be worth very little to their parent company.
I guess my question is this: Why do they keep trying? And why, if they are going to try, do studios enter into a crowded market by offering more of the exact same style of product already so prevalent in that market? Seems to me that, if you wanted to market an MMO in this day and age, your best chance would come with offering something dramatically different from the mainstream fare. As opposed to, you know, virtually copying it.