End of year contemplation
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 December 2012, 6:10 am
So we all survived the end of the world AND the Christmas holidays, and the year 2012 is nearing its end. I haven't been blogging much recently, being busy with family and playing Deus Ex. As most of my readers read my blog from their office computer, reader numbers during holidays are traditionally down anyways. So I was contemplating what to do with my blog in 2013.

I've already removed the "MMORPG" from my blog title, and general interest in MMORPGs is down by half from a peak in 2009. 2012 wasn't a great year for the genre, most games failed to meet expectations, and then switched to some sort of subscription-free business model. Guild Wars 2 was probably the best MMORPG of 2012, but failed to revive the genre. I don't expect any major breakthroughs in 2013, we'll probably get a few passable games, but nothing revolutionary.

There is a clear trend which I would call the democratization of games, where games move away from complicated time-eaters and move towards accessible games that are playable in short bursts. More Angry Birds, less World of Warcraft. More iOS and Android, less PC and console. The number of people playing computer games goes up, but the average hours played per player and month go down. And as much as some hardcore players will decry this, it is probably a rather healthy trend. At least if we want to end up in a society where the access to video games is less restricted than the access to assault rifles.

But the move away from MMORPGs and the lack of innovation in the genre leads to me not having much to write about. What do you write about yet another sequel or game which works nearly exactly like a previous game? We are at a point where getting your quests automatically instead of having to click on a guy with a golden exclamation mark counts as brilliant innovation. Where the biggest social development is making resource nodes non-competitive so people stop fighting over them. And where combat and the flow of gameplay haven't fundamentally changed in a decade. How do you blog about that without becoming as repetitive as the games you are covering?

I am still planning on using this blog as a public diary of the games I play, both on computers and with pen & paper. And I will write commentary to the game news that piques my interest. But I will probably move away from a daily posting schedule. Which in my experience will result in less readers and comments. But as the blog is approaching its 10th anniversary, with over 5 million visitors over the years, and over four thousand posts, I don't think I have anything left to prove.
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