In recent years, massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) have enjoyed a revival. Despite the genre possessing some of the industry’s most popular games of the last two decades, including RuneScape, The Elder Scrolls Online and World of Warcraft, developments have since gone in a somewhat different direction. While, of course, strategy-related MMOs are still sought-after titles, creators have since endeavoured to diversify their releases. So, let’s discuss whether the massively online genre is here to stay.
What are the Genre’s Main Competitors?
To determine whether the genre will continue to be a leading player in the industry going forward, it’s worth considering its competition. According to a study by Statista, 37 per cent of UK-based respondents stated that they predominantly played action games. On the face of it, this genre will undoubtedly challenge the emerging dominance of MMOs. Action-adventure games with a story-driven focus have historically appealed to gamers, as showcased by Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, which made a record-breaking £553.6 million in its opening weekend, as per a report by Joe.
Furthermore, outside of traditional genres, online casino gaming could have an influence on the outlook of gaming during the 2020s. With predictions forecasting that the sector will be worth approximately £78.6 billion in 2025, few can argue with the market’s global appeal. Unlike other aspects of gaming, casinos adopt an incentivised approach to entice prospective players. The BonusFinder UK 2020 comprehensive guide to casino bonuses showcases that many listed operators, including 888 Casino and William Hill, offer cash and free-spin promotions to new players.
Based on gaming trends throughout the 2010s, first-person shooters have the potential to reassert themselves as the industry’s most dominant genre. According to an article at Forbes, the Call of Duty franchise had seven titles in the top-ten best-selling games between 2010 and 2019. However, because of the successes of MMOs and, more specifically, Fortnite, the series has begun to explore the potential of adapting their releases to cater to the MMO audience.
Reasons Behind MMOs Growth
Call of Duty: Warzone, which was released in March 2020, is a free-to-play battle royal game that adopts an MMO-style approach. The title’s combat experiences enable gamers to play against as many as 150 people in a single lobby. Should the franchise continue to implement this approach, then it will likely prove beneficial to the popularity of MMOs.
Crucially, there are many reasons for the sector’s recent resurgence. As touched upon with Call of Duty: Warzone, variation within the genre has undoubtedly aided its contemporary popularity. Along with embracing first-person shooters, more casual, light-hearted releases have also started to make their mark as massively multiplayer alternatives.
Although it doesn’t boast a similar lobby size to Warzone, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has become the third-most-popular game on Steam, according to Game Spot. The title itself differs from traditional MMOs as it adopts a more cartoon-inspired aesthetic. Having established itself as round-formatted MMO, the Mediatonic development showcases how diversity and variation are helping to retain the genre’s appeal.
Well Placed for Future Success
If recent games provide an insight into future gaming trends, then MMOs will undoubtedly enjoy sustained success in the coming years. However, this isn’t guaranteed, especially when you factor in the growth of emerging markets. Although online casinos may not become as popular on traditional consoles as alternative options, the genre will unquestionably challenge the dominance of massively multiplayer titles.
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