The MMO market is still very similar to the days before World of Warcraft according to Vigil Games creative director Joe Madureira.
"A lot of people have entered the fray and failed miserably, but I don't think that core of the way MMOs play, or the business model in general - for the most successful ones - it really hasn't changed that much. At least not in the US," Madureira told our trade-only sister site GamesIndustry.biz.
Madureira's Vigil Games is currently working on a Warhammer 40,000 MMO for publisher THQ.
"There are a lot of different payment plans and things that people are testing out, and just social gaming in general is becoming really huge now, but I think for that core MMO audience - the guys that played [Everquest] and are now playing WOW - will be playing the next big game, whatever that is... probably 40K [smiles].
"It's a pretty steady pattern - it hasn't changed that much," he said.
Vigil's last game, Darksiders, did well with critics and Madureira and his colleague, Vigil general manager David Adams, were effusive in their praise for THQ's support.
"THQ went through a lot of pain and restructuring - they took a lot of bullets so we could continue to make our game, and that's a good indication of their faith in us, and their drive to make great-quality products," said Adams.
That faith was also such that, as Adams saw it, the decision to set Vigil to work on the Warhammer 40,000 MMO was an easy one for the publisher.
"I don't actually know the details. They had the licence, and Relic made a lot of 40K games which Games Workshop really liked because they actually took the IP seriously. At some point in the process THQ got the rights to the online game," said Adams.
"From my point of view, I really love 40K, so it was thrown out there casually at one point and I said: 'Hey, we'll make it!' It was literally that simple..."