For the last few years everyone has tried to jump on the MMORPG bandwagon. They see the big guys doing good like Everquest and Ultima Online and figure its a money pot. Then along came WoW, and thats dominating now. Its got 5 million subscribers. Figure $15 a month and they are raking in $75 million a month. Everyone is looking with greed on that money, and once its started, it seems like practically a garunteed income stream (unlike most games which get 99% of the money in first few months after release).
The place is littered with MMORPG wannabees. The problem is, its FAR more expensive and manpower intensive to develope and run one of these things than most people/companies realize. AND you have to continually pay for the servers, bandwidth, AND continually develope new content and patches, and customer support. Blizzard may rake in $75 million a month, but I bet they pay out a huge majority of that in server, bandwidth, and development costs. A typical server there has something like 6,000-10,000 people ONLINE at once. Figure that the actual population per server is more like 30,000. With 5 million people thats probably 150-200 servers. And the bandwidth to keep 6,000 people per server simultaneously logged in? Since you can do it on dialup, figure 5k/sec bandwidth needed. Thats something like 4 gigabytes per second bandwidth PER SERVER. Do you know what kinda connection you have to have for that?
Thats an OC 192 connection (or few). And they need that for every 6000 people.
Those are frigging NOT cheap. $50,000 a month? $250,000 a month? I have no clue, but I know its WAY up there.
Then the server hardware itself to be able to handle 6,000 simultaneous connections. Probably has to be a dual or quad Xeon or AMD opteron. Thats fortunately only a 1 time cost but that isn't cheap either.
And none of this is counting how you have to have the MMORPG in continual development to add new content or else your base will leave you. Most games the development is up front before release (except maybe a patch or 3). Your MMORPG will fail if you only do up front developement.
And NONE of this addresses if you have something that looks interesting or unusual enough to draw people, or if its fun. Blizzard got its start because they had an IP that was familiar, and they had a reputation for quality. So tons of people tried it. They stayed because it is a high quality MMORPG thats fun.
Anyway, thats why there's so many failures littering the wayside. And with WoW's monster success (I think they are biggest now) you will see lots more attempts at MMORPGs.
This comment was edited on Jan 4, 15:47.