Thursday, May 19, 2011
Has the MMO-lite model failed?
Atari announced they are ditching Cryptic Studios, maker of City of Heroes/Villains, Champions Online, and Star Trek Online, with Neverwinter in development. Cryptic has a rather peculiar business model, producing MMORPGs which have considerably less features than classic MMORPGs, but offer other genres than just fantasy. Apparently that wasn't a financial success, so Atari is looking to sell the studio they bought just two-and-a-half years ago.
That makes me wonder whether the feature-lite MMO is really viable at all. Measured by cost per hour of entertainment, MMORPGs aren't all that expensive even in their full-featured version. And there are some "WoW clones" out there which offer nearly the same amount of features as World of Warcraft and are free to play. So unlike other businesses, for example cars where a low-cost car with few features makes sense, a MMO-lite doesn't really appear to have a viable place in the market.
What do you think?