Thursday, January 8, 2009

Will you reduce MMORPG spending in 2009?

We are in the middle of a global financial crisis, including a recession in the developed world, and at least a slowdown in the developing one. So one question on the open Sunday thread was how I think that would influence MMORPGs. Well, there will certainly be less investment in new MMORPGs because of the crisis. But whether people will reduce MMORPG spending isn't quite that clear.

One aspect here is that not everyone loses money in a financial crisis / recession. People who lost part of their invested savings and those who lose their jobs are hardest hit, but that is far from everyone. Most people will keep their jobs, and just suffer from lower raises and bonuses. So it isn't quite clear how many people will feel the need to save on a $15 per month expense.

The other aspect is that MMORPGs are incredibly good value for money, if you don't count the cost of the computer and internet connection. Which most people don't, because computer and internet have become basic necessities of life. At under $180 per year for hundreds of hours of entertainment, MMORPGs are cheaper than many other forms of entertainment per hour, for example single-player games, movies, magazines, or books.

Nevertheless of course you could save money by sticking to free-to-play games, or using other forms of free entertainment from the internet (not all of which are legal). Or you could play all those old games you bought and haven't played all that much. Read free books from the local library. Watch TV, under the assumption that you're not more likely to cancel your cable subscription any more than you are likely to cancel your internet. And some people will certainly resort to such cheaper methods of entertainment, because they have less money now, or they are afraid of losing their job and start saving. It is hard to say how big the overall effect will be.

So how about you? Will you cancel any MMORPG subscriptions due to the financial crisis? Or will you rather save money elsewhere?

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