What constitutes a game’s failure as measured by the computer gaming industry? How about as defined by their target audience, the players?  I ask this because I found it quite amusing (if not a bit naive) that a gamer commenting on a Forbes column (special thanks to Syncaine over at Hardcore Casual for turning me onto this) used a couple of games as examples of failure which are quite successful in my book. And I’d bet they’re viewed as successful by the industry as well: Guild Wars and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning

I mean honestly, Guild Wars has three expansions out (Factions, Nightfall, & Eye of the North) AND they’re planning a Guild Wars 2 based upon the revenue generated from their earlier successes – I’d hardly call that a “failure.”  And Warhammer made it into the top ten money making MMO’s for 2008, and it was only released at the end of September of 2008 – that’s pretty astounding that they even made it into the top ten considering their competitors had 9 months of revenue over them! Neither of these titles even seem to hint at failure in my book.

Valid examples of MMO failures, in my opinion, would be MMO’s or multi-player games that have actually been shut down completely, like: Asheron’s Call 2, Tabula Rasa, or Hellgate London.  Which is too bad, ‘cuz I played those games and they actually had a lot going for them – but they also had some pretty fatal flaws that could have been fixed fairly easily but the dev’s (or somebody) wouldn’t hear of it, so the games died.

I’d also like to point out that one cannot realistically use WoW to judge another MMO’s success or failure.  WoW is what they call in statistics, an outlier.  And as such, their success really can’t be used for anything meaningful, other than to illustrate how well Blizzard can re-package what was already the biggest selling IP in gaming history – it’s absolutely no surprise that it’s exceptionally successful, except to non-gamers. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY is EVER going to mirror that kind of success. Since that kind of statistic puts WoW so far out of the normal trends, you end up having to ignore it in order to get any kind of meaningful data relative to the rest of the market.

Blizzard took advantage of a “perfect storm,” in transitioning their already outrageously popular Warcraft IP to the Massively Online world.  Personally I found WoW kind of boring and unsubscribed after getting my character up to level 40, took another peek at it when Burning Crusade came along, and didn’t even bother with Lich King.  But I never really warmed up to the whole Warcraft IP prior to WoW either – I was much more a Starcraft and Diablo fan.  

In closing, I’d say to “incontactile,” just because YOU don’t like a game, doesn’t make it a failure. And just because a particular game is your cup of “awesome,” doesn’t make it awesome for everybody.

Anyways, that’s just been bugging me for the past couple days – now I can sleep at night, LOL! 😀 It’s almost the weekend, and that means more Warhammer for me!  Enjoy!

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