When people like to work themselves up in a tizzy talking about how MMOs are dying or whatever (despite objective, observable evidence to the contrary), one thing that’s sometimes mentioned is how there are only “so many” MMO players and every game released tries to grab from that same pool.
I don’t know where we got this notion that there’s a hard ceiling on the number of potential/present MMO players. I’d love to see the math on that, but anyway, one thing that I never see mentioned is how this supposedly fixed potential pool of MMO gamers stays the same, year in and out. That doesn’t make sense to me. Every year, more kids move up in age and can become gamers. We have had a constant influx of new players over the lifetime of the genre, not just one fixed group that was playing back in 2004 and hasn’t changed since.
I guess it’s a perspective thing. We see the MMO community as copies of us — what we’ve done, where we’ve been, what we’ve experienced. And that isn’t the case at all. There are baby new gamers right now alongside grizzled old vets who have been playing since MUD1 came out. Some players were forged in the fires of WoW, some in RuneScape or Elder Scrolls Online. We’re an incredibly diverse group that has a diverse history with online gaming, and people are coming and going all of the time.