Video games have become a huge part of our culture as humans. Deep down, we’re all playful and kids at heart.
From the very first game called “Pong” created in 1958, we’ve come a long way from black & white gaming. We’re now seeing games being released every single day for every platform. But while the gaming industry keep advancing, some genres become obsolete.
Take MMOs for instance, they were the big thing in early 2000s. Some say they’re still big but some say they’re almost a thing of the past. What’s the truth behind this topic? In this article, we’re going to talk about the buzz of the past decade and see where its future is headed.
What are MMO games (MMOs)?
For those of you unfamiliar with this type of game or just too young to know them, let’s define it.
Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games are online games with a large number of players playing on the same server at once. These type of games typically feature a vast open-world for players to play together and complete missions. Imagine meeting with people around the world, completing quests together and reaping the rewards of your hard work together – that’s one of the best things about MMO games.
If you haven’t heard of World of Warcraft, it’s one of the most popular MMOs to play. It was released in 2004 but it’s still going strong to this day. Some other popular MMO games are Guild Wars 2, Eve Online, The Elder Scrolls Online, Rift, Black Desert Online, Final Fantasy XIV and many more.
The Rise and Fall of MMOs
When you think about it, MMO games are the closest thing we can have to virtual reality. These are the type of games that lure you into thinking the real-world sucks and you wish you just live in one of the MMO games.
That’s one of the factors that made MMO games so successful with the masses. It appealed to a broad range of audience satisfying their cravings for a unique gaming experience.
With that, let’s take a trip back into history and try to understand the whole process before judging to any conclusions.
1997 – This was the year that Ultima Online was released. This game is considered to be the grandfather amongst the best MMOs to play. This was the game that started a whole genre that we know today. In this game, you could become anyone you like – a warrior, thieves or a merchant. What made this game so successful was that it had a sense of community. It’s a whole new world where players can interact with each other directly without the use of global chat systems.
1999 – This is the year were Everquest was released. At the time, it featured highly realistic 3D graphics. Because of its massive appeal, it quickly rose to popularity which allowed the developers to release 22 expansion packs. The most memorable contribution of this game was the fact that it shaped the MMO games that we know today. They featured 16 different races and classes with raids that we know today.
2001 – The year when Anarchy Online became available for everyone to play. This game didn’t feature a fantasy-themed game rather, it took a futuristic approach that will forever be remembered. It introduced many technical innovations such as letting players tailor combat encounters depending on their needs. They also offered a free trial of their game which a lot of people tried.
2004 – This is the year that spawned the most popular MMO game to date – World of Warcraft. One of the reasons for the unprecedented success of WoW is that it featured dozens of years of innovation into one game. The game was so enjoyable for all ages that you forget you’re playing an MMO.
2012 – The Guild Wars series thrived at throwing players into an arena to battle each other gladiator style. The game heavily featured intense combat tactics and dynamic fights far from the typical MMOs.
As we can see from the screenshot, the keyword “MMO” reached its peak in the Google console around 2008 to 2010. Now, it’s been declining ever since with the rise of other game genres.
The Rise of Other Game Genres
The decline of the MMO genre paved way to a whole new breed of game genres. Let’s see what the popular genres are today.
Action Games – While action games have been around for a long time, we’re seeing more of these games year by year. Popular games such as Super Mario 3D, Assassin’s Creed, Batman: Arkham Sylum and so on.
Sports Games – Like action games, sports games are not a new genre. They started in the early 2000s and they remain popular today. Games such as NBA 2k series and the FIFA series are some of the best sports games that exist. They are successful because they incorporate the players’ favorite teams and making them play as if they are playing in real-life. Thanks to modern technology, sports games now are as close to reality as it can get from the gameplay to the players habits and actions.
Battle Royale Games – Perhaps one of the biggest game genres of today, Battle Royale games have taken the world by storm. In a way, they are reminiscent of MMO games since they both have vast open worlds. But the difference is that Battle Royal games focus on shooting and quick games. The most popular games of this genre are Fortnite and PUBG.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) Games – Another genre that is closely related to MMOs but have gained more popularity than them. Unlike MMOs matches in MOBA are short and sweet. And the map and players per match are limited typically 5 vs. 5. This genre has become so popular over the last decade that it even branched out to mobile games.
Even though other genres are finding success in the gaming industry, MMOs are not dead. Sure, players of the game aren’t what they used to be but there’s still hope that it will become the biggest thing in the future if they can find their groove.
But what’s important is that there are more people who acknowledge games now unlike before. Because this means that the more gamers the more fun!