The current “We’re E3 now! Really! Auf Deutsch!” Leipzig Gaming Conference had a “Future of MMOs” panel with some businessy types from EA Mythic, Europe’s CDV, Korea’s Webzen, and Sigil.
Eugene Evans from EA/Mythic pointed out that the casual MMO gamer as a term is fundamentally oxymoronic and that Mythic isn’t setting out to capture a casual gamer with Warhammer Onilne. Evans indicated that Mythic plans to continue to pursue hardcore gamers. Cindy Armstrong disagrees. “The future is not hardcore,” Armstrong said. She pointed out that in order to reach the masses MMOs would have to move beyond the largely fantasy-driven worlds generally associated with the genre. Armstrong detailed a casual MMO model she’s seeing in Korea (her company, Webzen has had success there) where players are completing six to eight minute quest objectives and then repeating them for two hours.
Sigil Games’ Zack Karlsson pointed out that in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes (due sometime this winter), they are finding gamers well outside of the typical 18-35 year-old male demographic. Over a third of the Vanguard players right now are female and of players over the age of 40, Sigil found half of them to be female.
So your takeaways? Basically, the future is in hardcore gamers, except not, and casual gamers like repetitive mindless tasks, and in Vanguard there’s a good chance that elf really is a woman. So there. And you thought the industry had issues!