WoW is dead… but it got better. What kills games that aren’t WoW?

We had some fun over the latter part of last week with our WoW coverage, poking a little fun at the doomsayers who always assert that WoW is dead with every fall in subscriber numbers.

We’ve spoken in the past on GAMEBREAKER about what it would take to kill WoW, but I have to say I think WoW is an exception. The conclusion in the comments of that article in case you’re wondering was that WoW will eventually slowly peter out, losing subscribers to other, newer titles. The likelihood of one single game killing WoW is slim. WoW is dead? Not just yet.

But what kills games, that are not WoW?

Jason Winter recently wrote an article about overhyped MMOs, talking about the tendency some developers have to brand their games as WoW killers, or allow them to be branded as such by the media, and generally over-hype new MMOs. The likelihood of any MMO getting over 9.5 million subscribers in, say, the first quarter, is very slim, so when that inevitably isn’t the case these games are seen not to have failed, but not to have toppled the behemoth. Does this early hype actually work against new games?

Apart from that, what else causes games to fail? Poor gameplay has to be a big one, bad mechanics, bad cameras, bugs, and the like. Those frustrate new players, and cause bad reviews and general bad press, which games sometimes never recover from.

But we’ve talked a lot about new games, what about old ones? What causes servers like those for City of Heroes to finally, finally be shut down? Just a lack of funds? What do you think? Personally, I think it’s easy to forget that games have to work somehow as businesses, and that hard decisions have to be made sometimes.

What do you think?