20070702 - Market Research


As a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) of a new genre, Atom is swimming in uncharted waters. Here are some notes on the MMOG market (mid 2006) from the MMOG Chart.

  1. 12 million active MMOG subscriptions and growing fast.
  2. Roll Playing Games (RPG) are a majority of market, 93.5%.
  3. FPS has 0.3% of market at 37,000 players.
  4. Other has 2.2% of market at 275,000 players.
  5. My guess is that the fantasy RPG side of online games is saturated, yet the growth for other types of games is possible.
  6. Key note from "GENERAL ANALYSIS" section in website, MMOG populations tend to follow hyperbolic or parabolic curves, with the most dramatic effect immediately after launch, so a good launch is very important!

Looking at a recient non-RPG game, Auto Assault, which targeted the niche market of automotive combat. Moral of this story, don't develop for a niche market using the high cost standard movie like game development model. Having 10,000 yearly subscribers at 1/12 the price would be fine for a single independent developer.

  1. Released Apr/2006, had 11,000 subscribers.
  2. They charge about $15/month (or $180/year).
  3. Which would be about $1.9 million a year in income.
  4. As of July/2007, they are shutting down.

ESA Data
The ESA has some great stats on the game market.

  1. 69% of American heads of households play games.
  2. 7.6 hours/week played on average for males.
  3. 44% of most frequent game players play online.

MMORPG Data
With the majority of online players playing the genre, MMORPG should represent the worst case in server load in terms of hours per week per player online. From The Daedalus Project.

  1. Average online player plays 21.9 hours/week.
  2. Which would be over 90 hours a month.
  3. So over 1/8 of the time they are playing the game.