I started drafting a prognostications post about the different games I follow, but I realised that basically I was repeating that most of these games will maintain their current playerbase level or trends going forwards. I do not expect Riders of Rohan to massively increase the playerbase for LoTRO, nor will Mists of Pandaria prevent the continued decline in the WoW playerbase over time.
Except WoW, each of the games that have lasted the test of time is different enough from the others to have a dedicated fanbase. That’s all Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, SWTOR and other recent releases need as well, so long as the publishers don’t have wildly inflated expectations of sales, of course.
I think by next summer there’ll be a whole lot more realism in the industry, the stark lessons from the launches of SWTOR and TSW and the failure of 38 studios will have had an effect by then. This may well change the course of games under development now, like Wildstar and Everquest Next. Hopefully we’ll see games that are ‘true to their niche’ rather than MMOs trying to be the game that ‘does it all’. Tighter, more focused development focusing on quality over breadth of gameplay styles may well result in more small-scale but stable successes and fewer high profile failures.