Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Established Mythos: Sales Boost or Blood in the Blogwater?

I plan to write an article later on the modern information cycle and its relevance (and detriment) to the video game industry. For now, suffice it to say that between the intensity of the blogosphere and our almost constant connection to the web, there is an unprecedented amount of analysis, scrutiny and mudslinging that takes place when even a tiny bit of information about a game is released.  This is particularly destructive to MMO’s, who naturally have a longer development time and thus more time for each bit and beta to be blown out of context and proportion.

The effect is worst for MMO’s based on established franchises.  If you hear that a game called Rift is coming out, and hear nothing for three years, how much would you have been able to criticize or speculate on (actually maybe a little bit, if you’re anything like me)?  On the other hand, if you hear that a Star Wars MMO or a Warhammer MMO or a Star Trek MMO is coming out, every moment of those three informationless years will be filled with speculation, naysaying and high expectations.

My point is, the MMO market seems unusual in that an established mythos gives little benefit to sustained sales, since it raises expectations and allows for a much longer window of naysaying.  A game with an unestablished mythos may have weaker initial box sales, but it won’t have to fight the negative tidal wave to hold subscribers.

Let’s hope this is true in another market!

Edit:  Just to preemptively clarify the links, Ravious is scrutinizing and analyzing, not mudslinging.  And I agree with Syp.

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