games / Columns

Level Up: Which Developers Could Drive the MMO Market to New Heights?

November 29, 2017 | Posted by Adam Larck

Expansion packs have been part of the gaming world for a long time now, but only a special few get the kind of fanfare that has welcomed new content for Destiny 2. As well as receiving a full trailer, the Curse of Osiris is set to be unveiled to fans via a series of live streams with developer Bungie going all out to celebrate its launch.

To be fair, we can maybe let the console-based MMO’s creator off the hook on this one, considering the sequel only needed a month to become the biggest-selling game of this year and that was even before the PC version was released.

The performance of the game not only reflects the huge interest that Destiny 2 has attracted, but also the popularity of MMOs in general at the moment. A new report into the global MMO gaming market has estimated that while the sector generated $26.9 billion in 2016, this figure is set to rise to $44.6 billion by 2020. It is safe to say gamers love the opportunity to come together with others across the globe and take each other on in a range of titles. The success of Destiny 2 means Bungie is likely to be integral to the future growth of this market, but are there developers in other areas that we should also be keeping an eye on?

Headquartered in Israel, mobile MMO developer Plarium is best known for historical games such as Throne: Kingdom At War and movie tie-ins such as Terminator Genisys: Future War. While the company may not have had the huge success of the likes of Bungie just yet, a few developments have put it in a strong position for the future.

In the past few months, Plarium has acquired KingsRoad creator Rumble Games as it plans to expand into new markets, while the company itself was also acquired in a $500 million deal by Australian gaming firm Aristocrat. Two big announcements in a matter of weeks hint at a very promising future.

Elsewhere, in terms of PC-related MMOs, all eyes are currently on what’s next for Korean publisher Bluehole. The company has been one to watch since PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds became a full-on gaming phenomenon. As well as building a growing reputation in eSports, the game also this year beat the record set by Dota 2 for the largest number of concurrent players on Steam. More than 1.3 million people were recorded as all playing the game at the same time.

Looking ahead, Bluehole has just revealed that its latest upcoming project is a new steampunk-inspired fantasy title called Ascent: Infinite Realm – or AIR. While details remain limited at this point, we are sure that interest in the game, which is set to go into beta in the first half of next year, will be very high.

So it is safe to say that everything in the MMO world is looking fairly rosy right now and we are sure that the likes of Bungie, Plarium, Bluehole and many others will have an important role to play in pushing the gaming sector even further. The potential is clearly – excuse the pun – massive.