A fascinating story I read on GigaOM, talking about the hidden secrets of WoW (from a DFC report). Now people will believe me when I say that WoW is a very good business but a very bad market.
I also often say that MMOG are niche market when it comes to online gaming. With 7 millions people playing WoW on a regular basis, hundreds of millions of dollars of revenues per year, it is easy to dismiss this claim. if it is a niche, then what is mass market online gaming ?
Let's do the math together:
- There is a whopping 1 billion internet users througout the world today
- WoW has 7 millions regular users
- WoW is about 50% of the total ww market for mmog, that means about 14 millions people play MMOG today
- Growth of this market according to the DFC report will reach its peak in 2008 then will slowly decline. Let's say it reaches 25 millions users in '08
- There will be maybe about 1.3 to 1.5 billion internet users at the time
To me, the "reach" of this market will be no more than 2-5%
So what will be mass market then ? Easy answer : casual gaming. My company has been selling casual games since 2001 and the one thing we learned is that everyone is a gamer. Indeed, the "reach" is closer to 90%.
THERE ARE 10X MORE people interested in playing casual games than online mmog ! I can guarantee that the online casual game market will be many many times bigger than the more traditional online game market targeting hard core gamers...