MMO subscriptions fall for the first time
Subscriptions levels for massively multiplayer online games fell in 2010 for the first time ever, according to research from ScreenDigest.
There was a drop in purchases for MMOGs on the PC in both North America and Europe.
In 2009, $1.66 billion was made by the MMOG industry, but that figure dropped a year later by 5% to around $1.58 billion.
2009 had previously seen a 10% growth in revenue, whilst the year before that saw an increase of 21.6%.
Piers Harding-Roles, a senior analyst at Screen Digest, stated: “The 2010 decline in subscription revenue – the first annual contraction experienced by the market since our coverage of this segment started in 2002 – represents an inflection point for the industry.”
Microtransactions, however, saw an increase in revenue as they generated $1.13 billion – up 24.2% from the year before.
Mr Harding-Roles said of microtransactions: “This more than compensated for the decline in the subscription area and caused total Western MMOG/MOG market revenue – both subscriptions and microtransactions – to rise to $2.7 billion in 2010, up 5.3 percent from $2.57 billion in 2009.”
He goes on to say that microtransactions will continue to increase and will reach $1.8 billion in revnue by 2015.
This isn’t surprising as several big name MMOGs have made the shift to free-to-play models which rely on income from in-game microtransaction purchases, not subscriptions.
Funcom’s Conan recently made this shift with great success, and Star Trek Online is making the move later this year.
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