Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Market Research

This topic is 5043 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I''m trying to compile some statistics on MMO games, specifically on the habits of the players, and the idea of using a professional market research firm seemed an obvious one. How do these firms tend to work? Fixed price per question in the survey or something? What sort of ballpark figures are being talked about - $1,500 or $150,000? The other alternative, I guess, is to write to the companies running some of the current major MMO games, and ask them. But I don''t know what sort of response I''d get; would they be at all likely to give me any figures, and would they do it for free? Would I need to establish my credibility before they''d even give me the time of day?
Richard "Superpig" Fine
Smoother than a greased baby [TBRF|GP&T|Enginuity1|Enginuity2|Enginuity3|Enginuity4|Enginuity5]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I spoke to someone recently who has been researching market data companies and they were quoted in the region of $1,500 - $2,000 for sales data on 40 titles. However that is boxed software. I am not sure of there is any accurate data out there on paying customers for MMOs as those monthly fees don''t go through a retail till but direct to the company.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions (www.obscure.co.uk)
Game Development & Design consultant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Obscure
I spoke to someone recently who has been researching market data companies and they were quoted in the region of $1,500 - $2,000 for sales data on 40 titles. However that is boxed software. I am not sure of there is any accurate data out there on paying customers for MMOs as those monthly fees don''t go through a retail till but direct to the company.


Hmm... so I guess that any market research company would have to either deal with the developers of the games, or poll people at random filtering out all people who aren''t MMO gamers. I can do either of those myself

So do you think the developers of the MMO games would be likely to give me any data on subscription fees / playing habits of users?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by superpig
...
The other alternative, I guess, is to write to the companies running some of the current major MMO games, and ask them. But I don't know what sort of response I'd get;



If you request any information beside standart marketing blurb or pricing you either will not get any response or will get negative response. Some MMORPG don't disclose even their number of players (AO for example), and they would never release any useful statistic information - that is a vital information which they guard with their life.


[edited by - serg3d on February 22, 2004 3:17:22 AM]

[edited by - serg3d on February 22, 2004 3:18:55 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Drat. Then I guess it''s a question of visiting a load of MMO forums and doing a little survey... if I''d be denied access to those stats, I doubt a market research firm could get them either.

Thanks for your help, anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster
You could buy research data. NPD TechWorld tracks software title sales at POS. Gartner Group / DataQuest track overall trends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Careful what you sick a research firm after. It might suprise you. Whatever their results are, if the investor knows you sought advice from a professional firm, they will want to know what you did with that advice. As they say in Law school, "Don''t ask a question of a witness unless you already know the answer."

Consider today''s market landscape:

The Sims Online was a flop generating only 100K users on the largest single player game playerbase. It should have been the first 1 million subscriber game.

Shadowbane has been mired in problems since day one and likely will not recover.

Horizons went to market too early because of what ever reason and the game struggles to get real subscriber numbers.

Worlds of Warcraft has half the hype it used to have as players get more and more tired of combat-centric MMO games.

Middle Earth Online is being developed by Turbine who famously brought you AC and AC2, neither of which generated more than 100K subscriptions or so.

SWG is the only real success in the last 18 months.

UO, EQ, and DAoC are all aging games that still retain a stranglehold on the market.

EQ2 will be interesting to watch and could provide the industry a spark but the problem is not any specific game, its the lack of innovation from the EQ-Clone syndrome. EQ2 will be no different.

Dragon Realms is delayed and likely will continue to be delayed.

Mythica has been cancelled by Microsoft.


All of this does not bode well for the investment seeking startup. Each of the companies above had significant experience in the industry. Each of them, except the big four (UO, EQ, DAoC, SWG) are teetering on shutdown from day to day. Given the amount of investment, expected returns and the size of the initial investment needed to get an MMO to market, you must have an innovative better designed moustrap to gain investment. The market simply looks bleak for YAEQC. (yet-anotherEQ-clone) If you have this, then all the market research doesn''t really apply because you''ll be comparing the death of combat-centric MMO projects to your game which should be apples to oranges. (otherwise you''re nothing more than another EQ clone.)

Kressilac

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The success of SWG is largely based on the power of the Star Wars license. If you take that away from SWG, what you have left is a very uninspired game. At least it was when I tried it at launch.

On MMO that could duplicate SWG(at least in terms ''whoa'' factor) is the Matrix Online. Its due out sometime this year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Penten
something like this?


BRILLIANT! Thank you thank you thank you

kressilac: true, but I already have a contingency plan in the event that the figures aren''t what I expect. BTW, are you sure Mythica was cancelled? Last I heard Mythic Entertainment were still taking MS to court over it... maybe my news is outdated though because I heard that I while back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by superpig
BTW, are you sure Mythica was cancelled? Last I heard Mythic Entertainment were still taking MS to court over it... maybe my news is outdated though because I heard that I while back.
Yep MS announced it on the 16th Feb http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=3451



Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions (www.obscure.co.uk)
Game Development & Design consultant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My main point was to illustrate that using market research to back an investment plan in an MMO is risky at best. Three years ago, the water was significantly more fragrant but unfortunately the economy wasn''t. Today I believe the focus should be on the product and why you think yours can revive the industry and capture huge marketshare as each of the big four continue to get older by the day.

Kressilac
ps I''m glad you have a plan to deal with the results if they do not come back to your liking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good point. Market research is useful to try and define the size and type of market you are looking to enter. However the important part of a business plan is the part that shows how you intend to capture your share.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions (www.obscure.co.uk)
Game Development & Design consultant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You may want to ask the guy who''s compiled the MMOG subscription chart for tips/contacts. He also has a section about his sources on that page.

I haven''t been too into MMOG''s for a while, but Raph Koster''s writings were always a good source of info about player behaviors for me (though you won''t find specific stats). Mr. Koster may be willing to share more details too (he''s worked on UO and then SWG). Here''s his site: http://www.legendmud.org/raph/

Tadd
- WarbleWare

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites