February 3, 2010 7 Comments
First let’s define “WoW Tourism” I believe that this term was first used by SynCaine I cannot find the exact post but he is the first one I remember using the term. WoW tourism is the phenomenon that occurs when a new MMO has massive initial sells then after the first month looses a large percentage of its subscribers back to WoW. Now I am not sure that this is exactly what happens but that is how it is going to be defined.
The first time that this phenomenon was really observed in the wild is the release of Age of Conan, it initially sold over a million copies of the game now it is sitting well under 500k subscribers. Shortly after that Warhammer online released to critical acclaim and sold over a million boxes now it sits at 4 servers and some claim it is on life support. Then Aion sold millions of copies and lost a lot of its subscribers. I think it is holding onto more than the others though.
Normally I would say that Star Trek Online would be a niche title like EVE or Darkfall due to its sci-fi setting. But with it being one of the most popular IPs ever and it having a huge non gamer following that goes way back before video games even existed I think it has potential.
Initially the game will pull in some huge numbers and pull them from the same places that WAR and AoC pulled them from. The MMO player that is looking for a new home the “WoW Tourist”, they will announce over a million copies sold and promptly loose 3/4 of those subscribers. Then something strange will happen, they will start to gain subscribers again and these will all be new people to the Genre they will be the people that see it on the shelf and think “HOLY CRAP A NEW STAR TREK GAME” they will then quickly purchase it and not even realize that it is an mmo may not even know what an MMO is. A few hundred thousand people will purchase the game this way and a large percentage of the people will stay with it for a long time.
My final prediction for the game after one year will be around 300k subscribers. So to answer the initial question, yes it will suffer the “WoW tourist” effect but it will recover from non-wow players.