Screen Digest have just completed a report that MMO subs to European and American MMOs has fallen for the first time since they started tracking data back in 2002.
2008 saw growth of almost 22% while in 2009 the growth had shrunk to just 10%.
Screen Digest are predicting that the down turn will continue towards 2015 when MMO Subs are expected to bring in only $1.33 billion, that’s down from $1.58 billion in 2010.
The downward trend is due to more and more games going F2P with micro transactions, in fact micro transactions are up 24% more than 2009 and when you put the two figures together MMO revenue across the sector rose 5% to $2.7 billion in 2010 and is predicted to rise to $3.1 billion by 2015.
So what does that mean for the current crop of older sub based games like World of Warcraft, not a lot it seems, as Blizzard’s WoW may actually continue to rise as new regions take on the game.
It seems that even Screen Digest’s own predictions back in 2007 were a little way off the mark as they under predicted the revenue from MMO’s by over a $1 billion.
So you can expect more micro-transaction games and less sub based games in the future, where purchasing upgrades and pay to win may well become the norm, competition is certainly going to be fierce for a share of the revenue of MMO’s.