Is subscribing to MMOs a zero-sum game?

Given their particular ability to suck away your life with endless loops of gameplay and gear-hunting, many people tend to think of the decision to play a particularly MMO as a lifestyle choice hardcore gamers make not unlike marriage—an allegedly permanent commitment you find yourself increasingly bound time increases your investment. So when Star Wars: The Old Republic enjoyed an auspicious debut last year, many game journalists suspected that Bioware/EA was giving Blizzard/Activision a run for its money. But a recent report in VentureBeat calls into question how mutually exclusive players of the two massive MMOs truly are: 

Another sign that a chunk of WoW players are giving SWTOR a try without abandoning the former game: 17 percent of visitors of the official website also visited in December 2011, according to comScore Cross-Visitation numbers cited by Curse. “Many MMO gamers are willing to try new MMO games but aren’t going to completely abandon something like WoW that they’ve put so much effort into.” concludes Curse CEO Thieblot.

The thing is, this still raises the issue of commitment. While WoW players may indulge in a brief tryst with SWTOR, it’s less clear if they will leave the original game entirely for greener pastures. World of Warcraft may then have the ultimate advantage of longevity that The Old Republic can never truly provide in comparison to its current staying power. As the article concludes,  “SWTOR might have a hard time maintaining an aggressive growth path.”  

Yannick LeJacq

[via VentureBeat]