Online gaming is once again being touted as the next big thing, teetering on the edge of greatness. This time the optimistic prognosis comes in the form of a market report from DFC Intelligence, who claim that 114 million people will be playing games online by 2006, including 23 million console gamers. The one caveat here is "whether individual companies will be able to monetize that usage", according to DFC president David Cole. Most online gamers are notoriously unwilling to pay for anything, whether it's from a practical standpoint (casual gamers) or religious convictions (hardcore gamers). Despite this, top online games are apparently already earning upwards of $100m over their life time. The bad news is that there are far too many online games in development for the size of the market, something we could have told you for nothing. It seems barely a week goes by without some developer you've never heard of before announcing a massively multiplayer number crunching game, or a big name publisher leaping on the EverQuest bandwagon to the promised land, where anti-social geeks throw money at you to spend all day running around in a dress killing orcs. The report obviously goes into a lot more detail than this - four hundred pages worth, to be precise - but as you'll have to pay DFC the best part of $3,000 to get hold of a copy, we think most of you will make do with the free one-page summary... Related Feature - Online gaming overhyped
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