Friday Factoid: Fantasy Rules!

Posted: April 25, 2008 by zobek in Friday Factoid
Tags: , ,

Well, Bruce over at recently posted version 23 of his ever-expanding MMOG subscription tracking data, which got me to thinking: just what kind of numbers are we really dealing with? We hear lots of stats on subscription counts – World of Warcraft’s 10 million subscribers being the best example – but not so much about tallies from individual genres.

Fortunately, Bruce has provided not only a chart of subscription share by genre here, but he also gives access to his raw data. With that in mind, I decided to take a look at the statistics myself….

The first thing I noticed, not immediately apparent from the charts, was that subscriptions for fantasy-based MMO’s dominate the landscape. Just take a look at these raw numbers:

Genre Current Active Subscriptions
Fantasy RPG 15153071
Sci-FI / Superhero RPG 595760
Combat Simulation / FPS 32000
Social / Puzzle / Other 306585
Total (all MMOGs) 16087416

Even if you take WoW’s 10 million subscriptions out of the picture, that still leaves over 5 million accounts spread among the remaining games in the fantasy genre – over 8 times the next highest combined genre (sci-fi/superhero) at nearly 600,000.

That’s a lot.

What’s more interesting to me, though, is the proportional distribution of games in the genres themselves:

Genre Number of Games
Fantasy RPG 22
Sci-FI / Superhero RPG 10
Combat Simulation / FPS 2
Social / Puzzle / Other 11
Total (all MMOGs) 45

In the 45 games that he tracks, nearly half belong to the fantasy genre – and that’s only MMO’s.

The market today seems saturated with fantasy. Some even feel that it’s reaching the point of oversaturation… yet non-fantasy games such as Pirates of the Burning Sea have struggled to hit the subscriptions that they want. The numbers clearly indicate that fantasy games sell – and more are in the works. Age of Conan and Warhammer Online are in the pipeline, as is the anxiously awaited project from Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios.

How will the market bear these new additions? Only time will tell.

  1. Xeavn says:

    I looked it over, and the thing that stood out the most to me, was that Sony hadn’t released any recent numbers for subscriptions for their games. I was curious to see how EQ and EQ2 compared, against some of the more recent titles released, etc. Most of the numbers for Sony games were from early 2007 or before though. It makes it hard to see the effect recent changes may or may not have had on subscription numbers.

    The general rule seems to be tell about your subscription numbers if it makes you look good, otherwise keep quiet about it. Although I can understand this, I don’t really like it.

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