In today's feature, we see what game professionals thought of the conundrum - is having over 2 million subscribers a bigger sign of MMO expansion into the mainstream?
Gamasutra presents the answers to its latest Question Of The Week: "Does the recent success of World of Warcraft
indicate that this once primarily hardcore genre is now reaching the mainstream? If not, what needs to happen for MMOs to radically expand their market?"
Answers have ranged from the revelatory:
"WoW is absolutely reaching the mainstream market. I'm in a guild in WoW where there are many players who are playing their first MMO, and beyond that, playing their first video game ever! For example, my girlfriend plays and she would've never thought to buy a video game until trying out WoW. She works at a medical device company, and her female co-workers talk about playing WoW. But then again, WoW is the best MMO out there for hardcore and casual gamers alike. World of Warcraft is a great license also, but to most casual gamers, Star Wars or the Matrix are more notable names. It's not about the license, it's about making a great game.
-Tony Dormanesh, Midway"
...to the cautionary:
"I don't think that MMOs will ever be fully mainstream. Blizzard has done a good job of making WoW easy and appealing for players new to MMOs, but they can't control people. There is a certain percentage of people who play online games who ruin the experience for other players, though perhaps not always intentionally. I think that what we all really want is more options in dealing with our server communities. Maybe Blizzard and the creators of other MMOs should take it a step farther and allow players on specific servers to form and enforce their own community rules.
-Carolyn Begle, Stardock"
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature
on the subject, including many more responses from game professionals (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).