MMO World populations and predictions

I was reading the blog of my good friends at Pure West Documentaries about Guild Wars reaching the population of 3 million, and soon after at 3pointD there was news about one of the companies within Eve Online beginning to sell shares to players. I begun to wonder what is next. With these virtual worlds all allowing different reenactments of things you can do offline, such as retaining your intellectual property, buying shares in companies, bartering and using microeconomic systems to influence the world around you, what is next for these worlds to accomplish? Are there going to be major NFL, NBA franchises for each game? (Imagine the thought of the World of Warcraft Orcs going against the Second Life Prims at the 2196 NBA Finals). If you look at some of the major MMO’s populations; Second Life at 2 million (about the size of Houston, TX); Guild Wars at 3 million (slightly bigger than Chicago, IL); World of Warcraft = 7 million (slightly smaller than New York City, NY), this idea of the Internet becoming a series of metaverses that you can easily communicate, travel and participate in from one to another is slowly becoming a reality. All of this thinking has lead me to begin to make my predictions of the upcoming year.

  1. The Virtual World Population of the major MMOG (World of Warcraft) and the major MMO Virtual World (Second Life) will exceed 23 million “accounts” combined. Being that you can never really trust if an account is an alt account, the populations of these two worlds will exceed that of a major metropolitan area. I think at this point, some of the taboo around virtual worlds and spaces will become demystified and new audiences (who aren’t geeks) will begin to further discuss them the same way they discuss television shows.
  2. The First Second will become a stable success. A lot of organizations, groups, and companies are claiming that they are the “first” in these virtual worlds. World of Warcraft was not the first MMOG to use instancing, Second Life is not the first virtual world to allow users to make custom content. While the MMO industry has its major successes based on other platforms that were the first to do so. Now there are a lot of content providers, “Metaverse Development Corporations”, and Virtual World services that are claiming to be the first in something. While I believe they will provide a major impact in future ideas, and services to the virtual world, it will be the people after them who will not only do it better, but also have a bigger success than the initial pioneers.
  3. Virtual Worlds will become more stable. Severs go down, they get filled, patches happen. While 2006 was about the growth of virtual worlds, 2007 will become focused on making them stable. Even the World of Warcraft patching style has been deemed painful, and to this date servers still need to be taken offline to apply a patch. Someone is going to get it right and allow older clients to run on updated servers, and create a more stable, easier patching process. Also the companies running the technology behind these growing worlds will understand their issues of expansion, address, and fix them.
  4. There is going to be a mixed reality, mixed world event. This prediction is a bit of a cop-out, being it is something that I am working on to do, but there has been no true mixed reality, mixed world event amongst two different virtual spaces. While there has been a lot of mixed reality meetups, and possibly a mixed world event (see MTV’s Laguna Beach Project which exists in both Second Life and There.com… sorta.) There is going to be a mixed reality, mixed world event that takes places across two or more worlds at the same time, AND takes place in a physical, real location.
  5. Metaverse Development Companies will change their primary method of buisness. Currently a lot of Metaverse Development Companies are responsible for creating builds, projects, and events that occur in virtual worlds (primarily focused around Second Life as I understand.) While they are predictions that they will explode in numbers, MDC’s (as referred) are becoming less and less agile to the growing virtual world populations and projects being thrown at them. Several MDC’s will be forced to change the way they operate to not only deal with projects in a different manner, but also change they way they handle projects.
  6. “Real world” big companies will matter less. There will be a major emphasis on those groups, companies and individuals who provide services within virtual worlds than those companies and individuals who are entering these virtual world. Like the Internet during it’s growth, the major hot topics were what Yahoo!, E-Bay, Pay-Pal, Amazon, and the rest of the dot.com’s were doing, rather than what the big companies are trying to do.
  7. A social networking site and a virtual world will team up and integrate their services. Right now the two major social things online are MySpace and Second Life. These two things are social egnigma’s in the virtual world, and while Second Life has it’s own social networking site, there will be a non-associated social networking site that will pair itself up with a virtual world (not necessarily Second Life and MySpace… it could be There.com and MTV’s planned social networking site – which seems to make the most sense…)
  8. There.com will be bought out by a major company. Yes, There.com, not Second Life, will be purchased by a major company. There have been a flurry of reports, speculations that Second Life will be purchased, I don’t think that it will… I think it would be the small, more manageable virtual world that will be purchased, mainly because There.com does not have the same issues Second Life has – such as dealing with Intellectual Property, full customization, and the openness to it’s system that it plans on allowing. While There.com would be akin to something like Mac or Windows, Second Life will turn into a Linux or Firefox model.
  9. There will be a trend of releasing Mature Rated MMO’s. Currently a lot of the MMO’s are geared towards teenagers or all audiences, only a handful of MMO’s exist for an over 18 audience, and a few rare ones have the sort of grit that made the Grand Thief Auto series a hit (and controversial). Funcom’s Age of Conan will be one (if not the first Mature MMOG), but it will also spring a development of other Mature based MMO’s.
  10. The following achievements by people within virtual worlds will happen.
  1. Nexeus Fatale will become a brand name and release the next version of George Forman grills, be in commercials for McDonalds, Subway and Nike.
  2. The Pure West Documentary “Second Skin” will win 4 Oscars, 3 Emmy’s and 2 Daytime Drama Awards, and clean house in the MTV Movie Awards. Victor of PWD will also win several MTV Music Awards for his country album “I Film Prims”.
  3. Second Cast will be bought by Howard Stern.
  4. The indigenous people of the virtual world will create a coalition and create the politically correct term of “Indigenous Resident” and demand reparations for all actions that transpired against the rising of their success.
  5. The first extra terrestrial will enter World of Warcraft and soon become addicted. He will hail from the delta quadrant and constantly mention that “resistance is futile.”
  6. Both the NBA, and NFL will see new expansion franchises from Second Life and World of Warcraft. In their first season, the Second Life Griefers in the NFC will face the Second Life Lags in the AFC, and it will be the first triple overtime Super Bowl, with the Lags winning 1337 – 1336 over the Griefers. While in the NBA, the World of Warcraft Night Elves will sweep the New York Knicks in their final appearance.
  7. The Bills will win a Super Bowl…the Canadian one.
  • Someone will actually believe I was serious about the things I said in #10. Seriously.
  • 2 thoughts on “MMO World populations and predictions

    1. Pingback: Nexeus Fatale Website » The Top Virtual Issues of 2007

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