Should MMO’s Have an Expiration Date?

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I pose this question for a couple of reasons. The first of which is that it seems that more MMO’s are being developed than there are being shut down. If we remove the WoW population from the equation there is a finite number of MMO players that is continuing to be diluted and diluted to a point where only the really good MMO’s are viable without resorting to some form of extortion technique free-to-play scheme. An argument against this is the fact that more choices are always better, but my rebuttal to that would be with all the clones out there, are there really that many choices?

The second reason I bring this up is the idea that if something has an end date, are we more likely to play the heck out of it and then move on to the next. It seems that people are constantly moving from one title to the next like some kind of nomad. It is hard to build a community when it is always changing. I imagine one of the big reasons the community in those early games like EQ, DAoC, and Ultima had a great community simply because they were semi-permanent.

I know that this idea is unlikely to catch on because companies are not going to shut down viable money making entities, but what if companies took a leap of faith and ran with it. Where would the die hard, never played another MMO ever, EQ crowd go if SOE said it was closing the doors in 2012? Would people in LotRO move on to a LotRO II if the devs made an ending for LotRO and gave everyone a date they had to complete it by? Would I bother purchasing that Hello Kitty Online game if I knew I really wasn’t interested in it and I only had 6 months before DDO closed its doors for good? All questions that would be relevant if games had an expiration date.

World of Warcraft: best if used by December 7, 2010.

-Pid

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