First, I would like to correct our recent press release on global MMORPG market. The press release says Global MMORPG Market will hit $8 billion in 2010, but actually it should be in 2014. In 2010, the market will be in excess of $6 billion.
Yet it is still an exciting growth in the context of falling video game market in general, and we expect the MMORPG growth story to continue. While a lot of the traction in the gaming sector recently has been drawn to social games, where Zynga, Playdom and Playfish all had stunning valuations, we believe MMORPGs are still a steadily growing segment. For serious gamers, it is not something replaceable.
Despite that there are now tens of companies playing in this field, the future growth of MMORPG, to a greater extent, still hinges on the handful of major companies. In the West, Blizzard Entertainment with the unmatched World of Warcraft (WoW) determines the general trend of the market. WoW's new expansion pack Catalysm is in beta test and it is going to be one of the driving forces for MMORPG growth in the next few years. Besides, the revenue model transition from subscription to virtual item sales will help some stagnating MMORPGs to revitalize. In Asia, Shanda and Netease will lead the Chinese market, whereas Nexon and NCsoft will remain the prevailing MMORPG companies in South Korea. Certainly, new players, such as Tencent and Perfect World, should not be neglected either. These players make up the bulk of total MMORPG market.
2009 Global MMORPG Market Share by Company
Source: Strategy Analytics
It is also noteworthy that some of the Asian companies are expanding significantly in the Western market. Recent news reveal that EA is considering to take stake in the Chinese firm Perfect World, which is now generating about $100 a year from online games in overseas market. And Korean game developers are expected to continue their expansion in Europe and the US.
Client Reading: The World of MMORPG: a Tale of Two Regions