MMOs Take Gaming to the Next Level

Posted: September 24, 2012 in Trends

Imagine a video game with no ending; no final boss battle, no conclusive cut scene, not even a victory banner scrolling across the screen. Who would want to play such a game?

Well in fact, at this very moment, millions of video gamers around the world are logging into MMO games that promises no true game-winning accomplishment.

MMOs, short for Massively Multiplayer Online games, have been growing in popularity at an immense rate in recent years. One prime example of such growth is the browser-based 3D MMO Runescape, which recently celebrated 200 million registered members from over 150 countries. That’s more members than there are people in Brazil, the 5th most populated country in the world!

Certainly the scale of growth of MMO games is astounding, but what makes it more unfathomable is that this growth is occurring years after the game has released. With typical video games, the number of players tend to drop off as the age of the game increases but with MMOs, the player base actually increases with time. Moreover, gamers are devoting unbelievably large portions of their times to MMOs compared to traditional video games. The most infamous example of this is World of Warcraft which has been widely known to invade gamers’ lives and conquer all of their spare time. 

In a research study conducted in 2005, players of World of Warcraft play a weekly average of 21-22 hours. (Source: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/world-of-warcraft1.htm) Combine that with the 9.1 million subscribers to the game and you get an immense amount of playing time! (Source: http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/08/02/world-of-warcraft-loses-subscribers)

The reason for such strange characteristics is that MMO gameplay circles around player social interaction. While the types of MMO games can vary from racing to puzzle solving, all MMO games involve players competing with other players. In such games, players are not striving towards an objective in the game but rather for dominance over their peers. Just as in real life people try to climb up the rungs of the social ladder, MMO players try to gain respect and fame in game. In addition, the constant activity of other people keep the gameplay dynamic and new. as more players join, the competition increases as does the user-created content.

The success of MMO gaming has been recognized by mainstream media in hit TV shows such as South park and Big Bang Theory and its impact can even be seen in the mechanics of fantasy sport league websites. Judging from the increasing amount of time players put into MMO’s as well as the increasing realness of the games, it’s not hard to imagine a futuristic world in which people live virtual lives (like the matrix).

The best part about MMOs is that most of the games are completely free. For those who want to see what all the hype over MMO is about, head over to mmohut, a review site for mmo games and find one that’s appropriate for you.

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