Where’s kids MMOs are at

 Posted by (Visited 12023 times)  Game talk
Feb 172010

VW traffic for kidsThree years ago at a GDC panel, I said that big media companies were coming into the MMO space hard and fast, and would be the authors of the most significant releases. At the time, I was pointing at kids’ and youth worlds as the big area to pay attention to.

Daniel James replied on that same panel saying “I don’t think big media companies will be able to execute their way out of a paper bag” and Rob Pardo of Blizzard and WoW fame said “I don’t think the most important MMOs will come from big media.”

Well, here’s the Toy Fair (!) charts on MMOs that VentureBeat has published. The article breaks it down in tables — 7 from toy companies, 8 more from entertainment and media companies, and 20 more from independents. Oh, and two from established game companies. Kids’ worlds are by far the dominant form of MMO today, and many of them are rather not Diku-like.

Compare the below chart to the number of AAA MMOs released, and how large they have managed to get from 2007 to today. Note that below does indeed say that Poptropica is at 4.5m monthly users.

Was I right? Well… depends how you slice it. But I think that in terms of impact to the genre… yeah, these kids worlds and media-driven worlds are probably more important than most all the AAA MMOs released 2007 to today. Whether that’s a good thing… exercise for the reader.

  8 Responses to “Where’s kids MMOs are at”

  1. wow. i didn’t realize poptropica was that big. that’s the one created by the “diary of a wimpy kid” author that my son loves so much.


  2. Hate to say that I’ve never heard of Poptropica until now. Hopped in for a bit and I’m impressed. Talk about easy to get in and be playing. It only asks you later if you’d like to create an account. I also like how there are knowledge tidbits here and there. Was interesting to stumble into the museum and have a chat with Van Gogh

  3. It’s interesting to me to see when and how kids’ MMOs are being discussed. At this point in our post-Club-Penguin world it seems a matter of fact to say that these worlds will be major players in the MMO space, fighting for much bigger (and more volatile) territory than ye standarde fantasy MMO… but that doesn’t dig much at all into the details of how one launches a successful one. The bottom line is most of us are happier making smashy fantasy MMOs, and I think that’s still fine too.

    There seems to be an error in that chart, though, or maybe it reflects the insular attitude of game entertainment… Poptropica was developed by the Family Education Network, being a branch and funded by Pearson, a multibillion dollar publicly traded publishing company with over 30k employees, and an extensive back catalog of characters and art that figures in the game reflect. That’s hardly comparable to, say, Jagex. (And maybe supports your forward projection from ’07.) To call that an ‘independent company’ makes the blue/green distinction kind of irrelevant?

  4. I was wondering why Habbo had been omitted, and then went to check the original M2 report and noticed the data is from services aimed at 7-12 year olds. Hence omitting Habbo makes sense, but I’m a bit puzzled by the inclusion of Runescape if that’s the demo aimed in the study. Or maybe 13 year olds already transition to WoW. 😛

  5. I’m also puzzled by the inclusion of Runescape. If you raise the ages a little to include other games that target the same audience as Runescape you get a chart that would look very different, particularly in the independant vs media-driven worlds. Also once you get in to the .5-2 million unique users a month, what’s on the chart looks more like a small sampling of what’s out there rather than an all inclusive list.

  6. Not as bad as I thought it would be.

    It shows allot claims for massive numbers on these free to play games are hype. There using total number of accounts created over the lifespan of game versus the much smaller number that remain active.

    WoWs active North American and European accounts would probally place it around club penguin on that list. While its monthly revenue may well exceed the combined total of all those listed.

    Shows many people that want to write off the old EQ WoW model of adult teenage mmogs have overstated the inevitability and economics of there postion.

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