Online multiplayer games have been popular for a long time. But in only a few short years, the MMO market has changed dramatically in terms of revenue, player preferences and addressable audience. Overall, the total MMO category is on track to generate $11 billion in annual revenues by the end of this year, representing roughly 21% of the worldwide digital games market. By 2017, this number is forecast to grow to $13 billion. And so it can be no surprise that small and large publishers alike are trying to claim their share of this thriving market.
The success of MOBA titles indicates a subtle but important shift in the way people like to play online. Offering the same fast paced action as first-person shooter games, MOBAs have quickly become one of the most popular game genres worldwide, growing their share of the overall MMO category from 16% to 24% in just the last year.
free-to-play games offer high-quality game play that is also accessible. Consequently, we’ve seen a spectacular adoption by gamer audiences in markets like Brazil, Russia and Turkey. But Asia remains the biggest market for free-to-play MMOs: with $4.2 billion in revenues, it looms over North America ($3.1B) and Europe ($2.1B), two markets traditionally central to any successful publishing strategy.
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