Western MMO report brings good, bad news

Total MMO revenues in North America and Europe are on the rise. That’s according to a recent report from industry analyst Screen Digest who says the genre’s western market value saw a bump of $0.2 billion last year; $1.6 billion in 2009, up from 2008’s $1.4 billion. Revenue growth is expected to continue, despite the rising popularity of the free-to-play model, and reach $2 billion by 2014.

The amount spent by the individual player was on the decline, however; the average revenue per user was down 10 percent year-over-year.

Big boy Blizzard’s subscription market share is said to have dropped as well, to 54 percent (down from 2008’s 60). Best not expect monthly subscriptions to go anywhere, though. “We maintain our view that subscriptions will continue to play an important role in the MMOG sector,” the report reads, which sees it as more of a there’s-room-for-everyone situation: “Certain consumer groups and types of service are well suited to subscriptions but we also acknowledge the growing success and adoption of microtransaction-based MMOGs as an alternative business model for operators.”