MMORPGs or massively multiplayer online role-playing games have brought the world to its knees by lively content and player interaction. Such companies as Blizzard and their World of Warcraft would earn more than 1 billion dollars annually back in the days with the help of millions of participants who would use in-game services and purchases. So what causes the success of virtual reality and how do such games gain their popularity so vividly?
There are a few main reasons why MMORGs are so well played and, therefore, bring an impressive amount of income to big corporations. To begin with, it’s important to mention that every online game requires a stable Internet connection since any interaction happening in-game is real-time. In order to start playing one should undergo a process of logging in and connect to a server that brings people from all over the world to the same playing platform. The interest in a game like this is found by many people in the opportunity to co-operate, communicate and, most importantly, progress with others.
The second reason for MMOGs to be such an influencer is social- networking. Unlike the modern time when there is a vast range of social media networks, back in the 2000s such were not fully developed, hence people would find communicating with others via the form of a game – a fascinating idea. Statistically, it’s established that up to 30% of female gamers and 10% of male gamers start a real-life relationship with another online player.
The third reason is a price paid monthly along with the cost of a game itself. Even though people may find it a bit expensive to spend such an amount of money, they do enjoy updates and new in-game content which comes with it. While the most of competitive online games require an initial payment and/or a subscription, others lure people in by offering a free-of-charge gaming and possible purchases of content while playing.
The Evolution of MMORPGs
The first attempts to create a playable online game are considered to be multiuser dungeons or MUDs, which were introduced to gamers in the early 70s-80s. A prototype project of such a game was created by two English students who aimed at elaborating an analog of board games that could be played using a computer.
The process took a few decades and had its moments of success and failure. By the beginning of the 2000s, first MMORPGs were developed including Ultima Online, EverQuest and Final Fantasy XI. The lack of proper Internet resources and poor technical possibilities of the time decelerated the games’ anticipated popularity and it took them a few more years, till 2004, to establish their names and create a new promising way of spending time – online gaming.
The popularity of MMOGs grew so fast and unexpectedly that a few years later when an online gaming marathon was held in Asian countries, a few fans reportedly passed away from tiredness. The very year the countries’ questionnaires showed that more than 10 % of the population suffered from a new kind of addiction – the Internet one.
In order to sustain their business and not to lose followers, big gaming corporations were forced to invest sufficient funds in and open Internet addiction support groups. Moreover, the Chinese government adopted a law according to which such companies would be heavily charged for each player who was engaged in playing their game for more than three hours in a row.
While quite a few MMOGs were dominant at the Asian market, a western company, Blizzard, introduced a new product called World of Warcraft that rapidly became number 1 in the West.
Along with the tremendous success and unimaginable revenue, the company had to face new struggles – freedom of speech. The team reportedly banned some players, who in their opinion, had used inappropriate vocabulary regarding LGBT. This minor and quite casual for a gaming world event brought up a discussion on the nature of virtual reality. Is it like a limited membership club, where the authority can filter what is said? If yes, then it disregards basic human rights and must be forbidden.
Economy in the Web
The uprising of a whole new virtual world has brought new issues and possibilities for the companies and players. For instance, Ultima Online noticed that one of their virtual properties was a subject of real money trade when a player auctioned a mention on an internet platform. While online games are still regarded as time-killers, some people take advantage of them and make a business. Such individuals spend days or even month in a search for valuable loot such as gold, artifacts, armor etc. and sell them for real money. It’s a known fact that certain Asian companies hire ‘treasure scavengers’ whose job is to find such items and trade them electronically or in-person. Nowadays, this business is worth more than 1 billion dollars and the revenue is increasing daily.
However, big corporations don’t find it profitable for themselves and since 2007 there have been certain actions taken. For instance, MMORG businesses are suspending thousands of accounts annually for such accounts, whereas online stores and auctions are trying to prevent in-game items from being sold on their platforms.
While most of the corporations are aimed at shutting this dark economy down, others may strongly encourage it seeking for their own benefit and Second Life (2003) is one of them. The in-game currency is a must for every player and is provided to everyone who has bought an account. The game had its own currency exchange rate and valued 250 Lindens to one USA dollar which has laid the first cornerstone to the virtual economy establishment.
Social Media Influence
It’s true that MMORGs have been a mind-blowing phenomenon for some time, however, social media networks, such as Facebook, LiveJournal and others have had their share in gaming development.
They have added playable applications to the list of their services and have, truly, made a fortune out of them. Such Facebook a game as Farmville was the first one to introduce a new means of social media marketing (SMM) including advertisements and promotions into the gaming process.
Moreover, they have enabled players to be promoters themselves and earn rewards or, even, make real money for placing an advertisement on their profile, or inviting friends to ‘join the game’.
My name is Alexia Wolkerr. I support the effective adoption of new technologies or ways of working within writing by communicating complex information in an informative and inspiring way. My works you can at https://thepoetrytrust.org/ . I’m fond of writing articles for students, helping with essays.