I was reading an interesting post over at BullCopra this morning. He is looking at the comparison between Wow and EQ2.
Now I never played EQ2, so I was unable to offer a comparison for him. His post however did get me to thinking.
Sometimes that can be a bad thing.
Wow (or any MMO) is more about the social aspect than the game itself. If it were not, people could simply purchase solo games for PC or console far cheaper than subscribing.
Think for a moment about how much you spend to play. You are buying more than just the game, you are paying for the environment that you hang out in.
Call it a cover charge if you will, just like a bar has on live music night.
For example: myself and two of my kids all play in my household. Thats $45 every month in subscription fees alone, not counting and average of $40 every year and a half for a new expansion and random other charges for transferring characters around and such. Even assuming nothing else I am paying $540 a year in subscription fees alone. I could pick up ten to twelve console games for the same price.
There are quite a few times I go online just to chat. Hell, my mother in law uses in game mail to email me about out of game stuff. She knows I check it more often, especially on my banker toon.
Sometimes i’ll run circles in Dalaran, sometimes i’ll scan the auction house, others i’ll just sit and fish. I am not really there for the game. I am there for the interaction with the friends I have made in the virtual world. Friendships that in certain cases have spilled over into this world as well.
Until another game finds a way to move the social network over to the new game, to steal that connection that people have to one another, there will be no Wow killer.
Actually I take that back, there will be.
It will be Blizzards next generation MMO.
Why do I think that you ask?
Because Blizz has recognised the same fact that I just pointed out.
The are building their company’s future around keeping you with your social network. The more you can stay in touch with friends the less likely you are to go find another company’s game to go play.
Do you think they developed the whole battlenet system just to be nice?
They are linking all your Blizzard made games under one roof.
Do you think they are spending time and money on being able to find friends and chat with them live across game platforms because they have hearts of gold?
Never forget that they are a business…. Their goal is to keep us happy and keep taking our money.
Do you really think they put in cross server instances and free voice chat because they wanted to look good for Greatfather Winter? They are simply enabling your social network.
They are moving the social network from single faction, single server, game specific to any faction, any server, any game….
Soon it won’t matter which game you are playing, you will still be able to chat with all your friends.
Just so long as you all stay playing Blizzard brand games.
Think about it.