MMORPG games are defined as role-playing games that are paid in online environments simultaneously with several other players. Such games are large money makes with unique sociological and economic aspects that make them unique when compared to other games. The social aspects of MMORPGs have been the subject of serious accident review along with the unique virtual economies many of these games develop over time.
The Financial Aspects
MMO games, in general, have a large and engaged user base and have yearly revenues totaling billions of dollars when taken as a collective whole and very popular MMORPG games can easily exceed 1 billion dollars on their own. This is a worldwide trend with such games being popular worldwide with large player bases in North America, Europe, and Asia.
The Player Base
Much like any other product every genre of game has its own defined target market in terms of age, gender, and income level. The MMORPG player base when compared to other gaming market segments tends to be older and have more disposable income. This difference is often attributed to the fact that despite existing in the early 1990s MMORPGs rapidly expanded in the late 1990s and MMORPG games tend to have a high attach rate. The MMORPG is composed of players who are consistent users and others who leave the game at times but return later when new content is released this creates a player base that is somewhat variable but also highly loyal.
The MMORPG player base is also one that has grown up and aged into adulthood with the internet. These players are often technologically proficient and advanced strategizing needed in many online RPGs have made them skilled at dealing with managing online businesses, financial exchanges, and reviewing data for proper results. There is an overlap between MMORPG players with activities such as online casino sites such as ComeOn Betting and other forms of online money making based on chance and strategy.
The MMORPG genre has seen yearly growth in both player base and revenue as games continue to be developed and released for home computers, smartphones, and video game consoles. Improvements in technology and the continued expansion of MMORPGs to home consoles (MMORPGs were once almost exclusively computer-based) assures it will continue to be a vibrant and active area of the video game industry.
A unique aspect of MMORPGs is the virtual economies that can develop in individual games with many of these economies developing organically and being chiefly driven by the player base. These player-driven economies are unique in that they are self-regulating and driven entirely by the player base’s wants for in-game activity. Often such economies can play high value on items that while rare may not serve any real advantage outside of uniqueness or simple bemusement.
Virtual economies have also been established by game companies resulting in features such as in-game currency, virtual lot boxes, and the use of real-world funds. Such additions are more akin to real-world economies and involve factors such as taxation and in some jurisdictions, lot boxes are being reviewed as a form of gambling.
In some cases, official developer run stores using real currency were established as a countermeasure to existing black markets and 3rd party websites that exchanged game items for real-world money. Known as gold farming such activity has resulted in damage to gameplay balance, virtual economies, players being scammed, and have even lead to lawsuits from gaming companies. Game companies taking a more active involvement in running marketplaces and exchanging of virtual goods for real-world currency have limited the impact of gray market activities.
As the above information shows MMORPGs will likely continue to remain a popular and profitable part of the online video game market segment with companies devoted to continued development and player safety. It’s older player base is also one that is invested in digital interaction and virtual economies making them an ideal target market for other industries that operate in the same environment.