In the last few days there have been at least three notices of MMO or virtual world projects shutting down. It’s hard for me not to see these as indicators of the generational change in the now-traditional “heavy” MMOs/worlds: Stargate Worlds, There.com, and Vivaty — all very different takes on the previous age of MMOs/VWs, are gone or going away.
They’re doing so in an online game/world/app market that is growing faster than we can track — just not where they are. Not to be unkind (any effort in this area deserves some respect), but one way to look at these worlds is that they are the very finest in hand-made carriages for the elite set — right about the time cheap autos are rolling off the assembly line.
But looking forward as well as back just a few years (as I wrote in 2007 about the potential for a “Virtual World Winter“), it may be that this isn’t the depth of winter, but its end. In December 2007 I wrote:
While I’m still bullish on virtual worlds and MMOGs for a number of reasons, that doesn’t mean we won’t necessarily go through a deep winter before we find spring again. I’m often asked about what comes after World of Warcraft? Can this market be sustained?
I think we have the answer; as usual, it’s no — and yes.