By telling you this I feel like one of those homeless guys with a sign written on a cardboard, but please, hear me out. I’ve been following games industry for quite a while now and I’ve noticed a couple of trends repeating over the years which makes me come to this dire conclusion. Over the years, the games industry jumped from one trend to another. But it’s unhealthy for the business to chase trends. It never was, but game development companies seem to forget the lessons learned over the years.
Let’s travel back to 2000s. Can you remember the time when MMORPG genre was riding its huge popularity wave? Games like Everquest, World of Warcraft or Guild Wars were considered to be the prophets of the new age of PC gaming. Surely, quick enough every company out there started to make their own spin on the MMORPG genre. These type of games takes a long while to make, so only a few years after a bunch of newcomers started to pop up. Some of you may recall the infamous WoW killers such as Warhammer Online, Aion, Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online or Wildstar. Majority of these supposedly mega titles died fairly quickly – not because they were bad (well maybe some of it), but because player base wasn’t big enough to support so many games of the same genre. Only handful of MMORPGs managed to secure their communities and stay a little while longer.
A similar thing happened with MOBA genre. Riot Games created League of Legends, Valve has developed DOTA 2 and everything pointed towards MOBA being the next big thing. Well, it was until fans of the new genre locked in their favourite games and any newcomer were doomed to fail. You don’t need to look far for examples – Heroes of Newerth, Dawngate, Paragon and many more. All of these ‘new’ games were similar to the previous ones offering almost no original features. So why would a fan of genre invest his time playing essentially the same game but wrapped in a different kind of paper? And why would he discard the popular one, the one all his friends are playing?
My point is simple – the same thing that happened with MMORPG, that happened with MOBA will inevitably happen to Battle Royale. While the genre popularity is currently booming, Fortnite and PUBG already claimed the majority of potential genre fans. Even today we can see that most of new Battle Royale games are struggling to find their audience. Sure, some of them will succeed and some of them are doomed to fail, but this won’t continue for long. Battle Royale is quickly becoming a ‘must have’ addition to any newly released shooter.
To wrap this up, let me ask you, how many players are still wandering in the unknown and have yet to discover this emerging genre? If you’re a new developer, why would you invest your time in the makings of something that already exists? Unless you have a proper spin-off, chasing this trend might not be worth your while.