2008 was a year of death for the MMO genre. As economic conditions changed, a number of titles died or were cancelled. It was a tipping point - launching a MMO wasn't enough for it to be successful any more; instead you needed a strong basic offer and continued improvement to keep players subscribing and interested.
By comparison, 2009 was a year of pain. There were fewer dead MMOs (although some that died were still very notable) but that was because of the number that went out in 2008. Instead, 2009 was a year of layoffs, mergers and lawsuits.