Internet version of the quiz show. He spends around 15 hours every week playing the t rex game. However if Sony Online Entertainment ever asks him to fund the game, he’ll leave faster than you are able to say “potent potables.”
“There are so many game sites around,” he explained within an online chat. “Why pay in the event you don’t ought to?”
Preston, who will only give his first name, represents one side in the notoriously bipolar online gaming industry–a market that has to overcome some serious barriers to attain the billion-dollar revenue growth analysts expect on the next few years.
On one side of the market are free, advertising-supported games like “Jeopardy Online” and also the myriad card and board games offered by sites such as Yahoo and Pogo. Squeezed from the same advertising pressures facing other online content providers, websites like these are scrambling to find ways to create a consistent profit.
On the other side are online role-playing video games, by which players pay monthly subscription fees to have interaction along with other players in huge virtual worlds. Popular games like Sony’s “EverQuest” and Electronic Arts’ “Ultima” have hundreds of thousands to pay players, generating steady revenue streams envied by other segments from the software business. Although the complex fantasy worlds in which the games exist interest just a small minority of significant game players, in contrast to the complete game market.
“The process for companies dedicated to Web-based games is to attempt to bridge that gap and make up a sort of crossover involving the casual gamers along with the hard-core gamers,” Jupiter Media Metrix analyst Billy Pidgeon said. “The idea is to discover a middle ground: people who don’t play as much as hard-core gamers but they are still willing to pay for something.”
Market researcher IDC predicts that total United states revenue from online gaming will increase almost one half annually on the next few years, from $210 million this past year to $1.8 billion in 2005.
Jupiter predicts similar growth, with Usa revenue projected to hit $2.55 billion in 2006. Advertising revenue will continue to account for about 30 percent of the market, Jupiter forecasts, with the bulk of revenue from subscriptions.
For now, the majority of that subscription growth will probably originate from variations on familiar role-playing game formulas. Sony is developing “Star Wars Galaxies,” run 4 in line with the film series “Star Wars,” while Vivendi Interactive has similar plans for “The Lord of your Rings.”
Both expect the mass appeal of the franchises to broaden the possible audience for role-playing video games. But David Cole, president of market researcher DFC Intelligence, warns a strong brand won’t be sufficient.
“I do believe it’s a good deal about game design and so that it is not intimidating to the casual user. (Role-playing video games) typically are games that take a whole lot of time for anyone to play; most people don’t want to devote that much time and energy to a pastime,” Cole said.
“Brands are essential. But when you dextpky35 the same kind of intensive, 20-hour-a-week experience, people aren’t likely to stay around that long,” he added.
Kelly Flock, president of Sony Online Entertainment, said the design issues are section of the company’s technique for expanding the viewers for online role-playing games.
“The next games we’re designing now are certainly carried out with the intent to be a lot easier to travel out and in of,” Flock said. “Particularly with ‘Star Wars Galaxies,’ the overwhelming majority of people that come to that game will likely be new to the (role-playing game) category.
“The secret to success is making it easy to get started and play on your pace, yet provide enough value and depth and so the consumer feels they’re getting their money’s worth.”
Still, real increase in run ninja run will mean going beyond role-playing and creating innovative new styles that intrigue those with a standard fascination with games.