In Sir Bruce's chart, players with subscriptions to more than one game show up as multiple users, and I think it's reasonably safe to assume that there is some not insignificant percentage of MMORPG players with subscriptions to more than one game.
Indeed, in his own analysis, and in correlations with other studies, e.g. Nick Yee's, the general conclusion has been quite a large percentage of people doing this.
Informal information from the dev & admin teams for the big US games also backs this up.
In the IGDA's latest whitepaper on the online games industry they place the total market for MMOGs at around one million players. which I think is probably pretty accurate if Sir Bruce's numbers are to be believed.
...unless they qualified it with something like "that are RPG's AND that are based in the USA" (I've not read it yet, so I can only guess
) that's completely and utterly wrong. Even just taking RPG's worldwide it's trivially bullsh*t.
A note about Lineage, according to a recent article I read ... What I didn't know was that access to Lineage from these bars is not paid for on a per-account basis, but on a per-cpu basis, ... What this means is that there is no additional cost for having multiple accounts, or starting a character and abandoning it.
Yup, that's definitely the case. This is the reason Lineage took off - site licenses that were to cafes nothing more than a small additional fixed monthly cost, and to customers were a significant differentiator in an industry with fundamentally identical product in every cafe.
I don't know where the saturation point is for MMORPGs, but...
Sounds sensible, *assuming no-one innovates on the revenue model*. For several years I've been proposing that the monthly fee for MMORPG's is likely to go up - e.g. to around $30 a month - although this has partially been to counteract the long-standing naive feeling that it could only come down over time.
I'll come back to this later, but I know of quite a few MMORPG's with more interesting revenue models who are pretty much printing money at the moment - but not making any noise about it (to some extent their marketing is helped by deceiving people into thinking they are barely breaking even). They would all show up on SB's chart, but he apparently isn't aware of them (or isn't tracking them because they never issue press releases...).
Because the investment of time and money required by the genre is self-limiting.
Yeesss, but... that statement is very fragily predicated upon the exact nature of current MMORPG's, so (theoretically - myself, I'm not guessing far either way) could easily be broken by even modest innovation in game-design.
That said, I think there is a large, untapped market for massively multiplayer casual online games. (MM-COGs)
What remains to be seen is whether the MM-COG format can be successfully applied to other (less cutesy) themes, and whether this might be a way to crack the .5M player upper limit we're currently seeing in the MMOG market.
I've not heard of MM-COG before, as most people I talk to don't differentiate between this and an MMOG (just like we don't differentiate between Bejewelled and Warcraft3 except on playstyle - these days both are capable of making similar revenues and achieving similar market penetration).
As far as the 0.5m per game limit is concerned, I'm actually surprised that games have gone as high as they have with the high level of incompetency in the technical, design and marketing teams (of course there are many exceptions to one or two of those, but very few to all three...). The marketing in particular is mainly god-awful from the perspective of any corporations that are accustomed to selling mass-market services. I know little about this, but I can see that the big-publisher MMOG's are still mainly using the same techniques that the self-published ones are using (who typically are constrained by very little budget and experience!).
I personally know of about 5 MMOG's with upwards of 50k-150k subscribers that don't appear on SB's charts (I've independently confirmed the figures for two of them). Most of those use "free" accounts to bring in new subscribers, and typically boast 500k or more total accounts. Some of them are direct competitors to projects I'm involved with, so I don't feel any temptation to give them free publicity!
In summary, even amongst those who have a good reputation amongst public and press (e.g. SB) for knowing about the MMOG industry are still woefully ignorant; there is so little in the way of any real experts at the moment that anyone who puts in a lot of effort and tries to be diligent and do something useful becomes a de facto expert. I respect SB's diligence in particular, but by his own admission, he's only guessing
. Similarly, Nick Yee puts a lot of hard work into his studies, and they are generally of a very high quality...but without access to authoritative data from the game-owners he can never cross-correlate and check the accuracy of his respondents' answers; only VI/Sony truly know the accuracy of his direct results (and hence of his indirect ones).