The MMORPG market is certainly not “Wee” or even “Not So Wee”, but as far as I can tell, it hasn’t bridged the gap to “Friggin’ Huge” like it was expected to. From Ultima Online’s launch, to the popularity of EverQuest and Lineage, it seemed like MMOs could only get bigger. There was a slight plateau after EQ, but when the world went crazy over World of Warcraft it felt like the sky was the limit.
Now? They have to give this stuff away to grab enough customers.
Has the market saturated? I don’t think so. It’s just settled for “good enough” by repeatedly cloning WoW. It’s even become time to milk customers via nickle-and-dime business models.
Do we even think about the next game beating WoW anymore? Maybe if it’s a Star Wars license.
I could moan about the lack of innovation, but in a general sense it’s just a need for something different than the Diku genre. We’re essentially playing the same game over and over, with changes to the setting and quests (although arguably, many quests are also the same).
The MMORPG market could use a shakeup in core gameplay, or at least an expansion of what we expect in an online RPG.