I'm sort of typing from the hip here, because I feel like I've accidentally angered a friend and I'm writing this in response to that feeling. So bear with typos and whatnot, please.
WoW now has a Toyota Tacoma commercial. And it got Keen really sick to his stomach, and me really excited. Our two opinions? He’s worried that it means WoW’s getting too much exposure these days, and that it means there’ll be nothing but WoW-like games to come.
My opinion is that with or without the Toyota commercial, we are going to get a shit ton of WoW-like games. Before the Toyota commercial, it was the South Park episode. The game has 9 million subscribers. It ranks as the most successful MMO to date in US culture. OF COURSE PEOPLE WILL COPY IT. Regardless of any commecial. Just as wow copied EQ1’s model.
But, with all the success of wow, we’re seeing unprecedented spending on MMOs from investors and game developers. For every 5 wow-clones we will see over the next 10 years, we’ll see 2 or 3 new and exciting games. Because this is exactly how the fledgling videogame industry rose to being so successful over 20 years ago. It was dying before Mario and the NES hit store shelves, and when the little plumber started his hopping, gaming "arrived". Soon after plenty of imitators came, but plenty more new and unique games came to fruition, and here we are over 2 decades later, and gaming is doing things that many of us only ever dreamed of as youth.
Is there stagnation? Of course. Just as 90% of the film industry is crap, and 90% of literature is crap, so too is 90% of gaming. Diamonds are rare. Nothing will stop a flood of crap from being fed to us consumers, because when something sells its our countries nature to ride it hard until we stop buying it. The key is to knowing what’s crap and knowing what’s worth your cash. Not to mention, “worth” is relative. I’d never buy PS3 right now, because it’s just not “worth” it to me. But to some, it’s the be all end all... but that's beside the point.
I know why Keen's worried, and it's not that I don't have similar fears. But it's also not like I haven't gotten used to this cycle in our culture. This is how it works. Capitalism at its finest. Love it or hate it, we have to deal with it. Again, the trick is in weeding through it all.
Now if only I could get Keen to see this and not take offense when I said his viewpoint of the Toyota commercial was elitist.
Doh! Sometimes I type before I think. Sorry, Keen. :)