You had to see it coming.
For a time, it seemed as though the entire video game industry was going the way of the MMO. And why not? MMO’s like World of Warcraft were wildly successful, and the potential of massive multiplaying seemed limitless.
Alas, that no longer seems to be the case. It turns out there are no MMO’s like World of Warcraft – there’s just WoW. Only WoW itself has seen both immense and sustained success (I must note, however, that EQ1 is still alive and kicking, and somewhat awesome, if you’re into that kind of thing). Currently, free to play MMO’s are all the rage, but I’ll be interested to see what happens with the next generation of MMO’s like Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Regardless of their past, present, or future, the concept of the MMO remains groundbreaking. Thousands of people playing together in the same game world. Hundreds playing together in the same area – well, in the major cities, at least. A couple of dozen players banding together to battle the most powerful enemies. Heady stuff, and inconceivable not all that long ago.
I still believe that in the future certain MMO-like aspects will become the norm in all games. And depending on the success on this next generation of MMO’s, perhaps the MMO will once again become the dominant genre of game. But even if that doesn’t occur, the MMO will always be one of the most exciting innovations in gaming.