In a recent interview, Trion World Network CEO Lars Buttler expressed his view that new MMO games don't have to compete with World Of Warcraft, but also that it is not impossible for those who do to surpass it.
Buttler is currently working on an unnamed MMO game with a $30 million budget. "I think it is really important to point out that we are not trying to compete with WOW or clone it - in my mind that would be boring and it would be creatively constraining, and I also think it would be massively limiting the amount of risk and innovation we are willing to introduce", he said.
"We don't see this as a zero-sum game where you can only have WOW and nothing else."
Buttler believes that the only reason why World Of Warcraft is currently prevailing over the MMO market is that it hasn't been challenged yet.
"I think it's because no one has really launched a great product in the online gaming space yet other than WOW."
"Look at all the stuff that has been launched and apply one simple bar - could you sell this at retail if you stripped out all the online components? In other words, is it a good game? I don't think that any other MMO could then stand... Or very few exceptions."
"WOW is a good game. It has ramped up the last ten years of the MMO category and polished it really well and presented it as almost the closing chapter on those last ten years. But that doesn't mean that there aren't another ten years or another twenty years to come."
"Saying WOW is the end of all things would be like saying Mario or The Sims or Madden or any other great franchise are the end of all things in their particular categories. There will always be new and great developments. In the games world, that's particularly true because technology evolves so much."