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Summary:

The MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) market can be a weird one to read. In America, our vision is usually steadily locked on what’s popular here. That’s why, when I looked at the subscriber charts at MMOG Chart back in 2001, I was to see Lineage completely […]

The MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) market can be a weird one to read. In America, our vision is usually steadily locked on what’s popular here. That’s why, when I looked at the subscriber charts at MMOG Chart back in 2001, I was to see Lineage completely destroying EverQuest. “What is Lineage?” I thought. Well, it turns out that Lineage was developed by NCSoft, a South Korean based game developers, and was wildly popular in Asia but had hardly any following here. It completely blew my mind that a game could be that big without me having noticed it. That’s when I started paying much closer attention to what was going on outside of the U.S., specifically what was happening in the Asia/Pacific region.

In-Stat, a research firm that specializes in communications and infrastructure, has released a new report that shows online gaming revenues to be increasing at a very high rate. In 2005, online gaming in the region was at $3.2 billion, this report predicts that it will hit $6.8 billion by the year 2010. That’s a pretty serious number. According to Bryan Wang, In-Stat analyst, the reason for the growth is “The increase in speed and consistency of Internet connections provided by ISPs and telecom operators continues to greatly facilitate development of online gaming. Online games are no longer restricted to slow-action strategy games.”

According to In-Stat research, 53.2% of all users polled in Asia/Pacific said that they play online games. Also noted is that Japan is expected to be the top subscriber with a projected revenue of $2.8 billion with China in second place at $2.1 billion by 2010. Now that’s a market to look out for.

  1. Coincidentally, that market is part of a theory i’m pondering, which also relates to Roguelikes and the *nix community: quality and popularity are extremely iffy concepts when no one is making any real games. You remained unaware of Lineage for so long simply because you had better things being offered to you. You go BACK to being unaware of Lineage if you want to sleep peacefully at night.

    Similarly, i think online gaming surges in Korea simply because console makers have inexplicably turned a blind eye to it. After leaving the Korean market in the hands of a shady, almost apathetic company that everyone hates, Nintendo is actually JUST NOW starting to wake up to what a great market it would be for the DS. It’s growing in bursts much like the Asian movie industry is, pretty much because the only other thing it CAN do at this point is not exist at all. It’s that young, relatively.

    Actually, that makes me wonder. The US has shit for broadband progress and penetration, but digital distribution looks like the next big buzzword. That region of Asia has comparitavely awesome broadband penetration, so what’s their take on digital distribution? Do they really even need it, or can people just whip shit to eachother without much need for single points of massive bandwidth?

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