In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Trion Networks chief Lars Buttler has stressed that World of Warcraft is not the be all and end all of the MMO market.
Buttler, formerly an online gaming exec at Electronic Arts, was following up his previous suggestion that Activision's claim that it could cost a billion dollars to top WOW was a "bluff".
"Saying WOW is the end of all things would be like saying Mario or The Sims or Madden or any other great franchise are the end of all things in their particular categories," Buttler told GI.biz. "There will always be new and great developments. In the games world, that's particularly true because technology evolves so much."
He did acknowledge that WOW's domination of MMOs has happened for a reason, arguing that it's the only MMO to date to achieve the same quality level as offline games.
"I think it's because no one has really launched a great product in the online gaming space yet other than WOW," he said.
"Look at all the stuff that has been launched and apply one simple bar - could you sell this at retail if you stripped out all the online components? In other words, is it a good game? I don't think that any other MMO could then stand...Or very few exceptions."
However, Buttler also feels that Blizzard may struggle to repeat WOW's success. "In many cases, the biggest obstacle to future success is current success," he said. "If you look at EverQuest, that's exactly what people thought. They thought you can't beat EverQuest. If that logic applied, then EQII should be owning the market."