Failed mmorpgs: It started with a game by EA

Motor City Online Game boxI was looking at the mmo timeline found in Bio Break again to see which classic mmorpgs I would like to try next, and also to learn more about the history of the genre of gaming that I love.  It occurred to me that with the new wave of mmorpgs that are coming our way, (Tera, SWTOR, GW2 etc) there is going to be more variety than we have ever had.

Yet, why do games fail? What is it about a specific concept that makes a game a success or a total failure? With something like SWG, it’s pretty obvious that there were factors that led to its demise, one prominent factor being the expiration of the gaming license and SOE’s failure to listen to the gaming community and rolling out the infamous NGE, angering a significant chunk of the player-base.

So in part one of this series of posts examining the failures of some significant mmorpgs, I started with the first “red” on Bio Break’s mmo time line: 2003’s Motor City Online.

MCO can be considered one of the first major failed mmos of the modern era, maybe even the first! (AOL’s Neverwinter Nights does not really count as a failure in my mind and neither did the games before it, as they were pioneering games and their closures had less to do with financial success or other factors and more with the changing landscape of the emerging world wide web)

Would I have played this game? A massively multiplayer online racing game? Probably not. I am more into sci-fi and fantasy based games and even though I tried games like Twisted Metal on the old Ps2, I was never really a huge fan of racing games, with the notable exception of Atari’s ancient Pole Position, but even that game I was not too heavily into.

Let me say that others have had this idea, and it’s amusing to read some of this author’s conclusions regarding the factors leading up to MCO’s demise. I had to chuckle at this: One of the main reasons given by the author for MCO’s failure was its pay to play format. Specifically EA’s $10 a month subscription coupled with a paid box game. Hindsight  proves that the author’s premise may be flawed because countless MMORPGS since have employed the boxed game coupled with a subscription fee, including Blizzard’s beastly “World of Warcraft.”

As we all know, this strategy continues to be employed with success by game developers, so it is highly plausible that the author’s other reasons for MCO’s failure were more on target, namely a lack of advertising and exposure by EA following launch.

What do you all think? Now it’s back to DAoC for me!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Failed mmorpgs: It started with a game by EA

  1. Funny thing is, I was in that same boat circa 2003: I didn’t want to pay for a game I’d already bought. Oh, how times change…

  2. Indeed they have, I think that even though there has been a rise in f2p games, it is generally accepted that some of the best ones (RIFT, WOW, SWTOR) we are going to have to shell out some coin for the privilege of playing and constantly patching.

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