Torn on MMORPGs

That headline doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Back at the start of November I got an unsolicited email asking me for something.  Not an uncommon occurrence.  I get a surprising amount of offers on the blog email address, most of which I delete out of hand.  This one, however, appeared to be from an actual person.  I was still skeptical.  If you send me a note asking for something on that account, expect that.  But wanted to know what he was really up to.

Kevin, Head of Digital at Chedburn Networks Ltd, the makers of the text MMO Torn (from which I draw the title of this post, so there is that question answered) wanted to know if I would provide feedback on something akin to an MMORPG white paper project they were working on and, also, would I like my blog to be listed on the finished product.

After a bit of back and forth and cynicism on my part, set off by trigger words like “brand exposure,” I said I would look take a look.  After seeing an early draft, I said I would be okay with being listed as an example of an MMORPG blogger along with Syp, Murph, Jewel, Chris from Game by Night (where is your handle, man?), and some John Doe guy that used to write about MMOs, then stopped, but who can’t stop reminding people that he could have been a contender or something.

(I also appear to be the only one of the six that can follow instructions, judging from the final product, where I am the only one with an “established” date.)

That was in late November, after which the whole thing dwindled into silence… until this week, when I got an email with a link to the finished product.  You can go see it here.

There is actually quite a bit of information packed into that.  There is a nice little history of online games with a timeline that starts with Ultima Online and carries through to today, picking out some events that have happened along the way.  It is interesting, in its way, to see what got included.  I’m not sure that the EVE Online T20 scandal ranks up there with the advent of Leeroy Jenkins.  And did nothing happen in 2009 besides the launch of Aion?  It is also hard for me to see these two next to each other like they were totally unconnected events.  And no mention of Warhammer Online, which killed the genre.

SWG was closed because of SWTOR

SWG was closed because of SWTOR

There is also a chart listing out the top MMOs out right now that contains some hard numbers that I am sure people will want to see.  You can, I suppose, extrapolate total player bases by multiplying players per world by the number of worlds they list out.  Of course EVE Online is the top MMO when you sort that way, though the total players is a bit gloomy, while the WoW numbers seem to add up to a total not seen since 2010.

That is a lot of daily players...

That is a lot of daily players…

I asked about the source for some of those numbers, as some of them seem quite questionable, like the ones listed for EverQuest Next.

Daybreak dreaming here?

Daybreak dreaming here? These can’t be Landmark numbers…

But there it is, a pile of data ready to be argued over.  I can foresee some doom and gloom coming from a few entries on the list or what it means to be in the top five, depending on how you sort things.

Anyway, if you are a general MMORPG nerd there is probably something in the report that will interest you.  If nothing else, there ought to be something to spark a blog post.  I will likely write something further once I have had time to sit down and digest what is there.  And it is nice to be told how popular I am again.  It says so right there in that last section.  All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my authoritative close-up.

9 thoughts on “Torn on MMORPGs

  1. Shintar

    I don’t find myself agreeing with Syncaine very often, but yeah, those numbers are one big WTF. Wildstar has 4 servers, not 2, and SWTOR has 17, not 214… that’s quite impressively far from reality!


  2. Shintar

    Just to add, something like the number of servers a game has can easily be checked by logging into said game or asking one person who actually plays it to check. If they can’t even get that right, that’s not encouraging for the rest…


  3. bhagpuss

    I flipped quickly through the thing last night. It seems to be a mixture of one person’s opinions and a bunch of unsourced data points. Whoever put it together clearly has a long suit on presentation – it looks very professional – but little or no interest in even the most basic fact checking.

    Those population figures just stand out as the most egregious example. As Shintar says, how hard is it just to log in to an MMO and count the servers on the list? GW2, for example, has 24 servers in the NA cluster, 27 in the EU and 24 in China. Where he gets a total of 13 from is beyond me.

    What audience or media outlet is this intended for, anyway? It looks like something you might find in the Media Supplement of a Sunday newspaper.


  4. Telwyn

    Shame really, that kind of data would be a goldmine for discussions, but as mentioned the server counts raise some pretty big alarm bells…

    Does the top 10 (peak MAU) fits the standard list of most active/popular games?


  5. Kevin

    Thanks very much for taking an interest in our article. When starting it, we knew it’d be a massive challenge as a lot of this data is not readily available (which is probably why no one has ever done it before). What we wanted to achieve was to gather the most accurate numbers possible so at least there was some kind of data out there, even if it isn’t fully accurate. Number of servers for example, may be at the peak time of the game rather than current. We know that 100% accurate data is impossible to find as very few games publish it but we’re certainly looking to keep working on this article and make it more accurate as we find new sources. If you’re aware of any accurate data sources please drop me an email (kevin [at]


  6. Jacob

    After reading the article, I have to question how are dividends productions costs? Aren’t dividends paid out of profits (Revenue – Costs = Profit)? It seems like a very odd, and (to me) counter-intuitive to list dividends as 26% of the cost of making a non-indie game.


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