MMORPG revenue to reach $8bn by 2014
UPDATED: Asian success means 17% growth in 2010, says analyst - but the West falters
The MMORPG market was worth $5 billion last year and will generate $6 billion this year, according to a new report by Strategy Analytics.
2009's revenue is in itself up 17 per cent on 2008's $4.15 billion. Furthermore, the analyst predicts a rise to $8 billion by 2014.
However, this estimated annual growth is not necessarily reflective of the health of the Western market, with Strategy Analytics observing a general decline (outside of World of WarCraft). The Asian market continues to grow, however.
Shanda, Netease, Nexon and NCsoft were named as the publishers most responsible for growth in Asia.
"Contrary to the flattening Western market, the Asian MMORPG market has grown immensely since 2007, due to the successful virtual items-based revenue model," said the report's author Jia Wu.
"As more Asian online game companies target US and European markets, they will become a formidable force in the global gaming industry."
In an update correcting an initial assertion that the market would be worth $8 million this year, Wu also revealed that Blizzard retains the single largest share of the market, at an estimated 22 per cent. The next closest was China's Netease, at 14 per cent.
"In the West, Blizzard Entertainment with the unmatched World of Warcraft 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."