Why MMOs are doomed (Hint: FarmVille)

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We've said time and time again here that the lines between social game and massively multiplayer online game (MMO) blur more daily. Say what you will about the complexities of exploring Azeroth in World of Warcraft with your buddies, but it's the feeling that that experience grants the player that doesn't make it all that different from, say, FarmVille.

Massively's Beau Hindman said as much in a recent column, and this writer can't help but agree. "That stereotypical 'soccer Mom' social gamer might feel just as immersed and as connected to her tiny little town in CityVille as any player of Lord of the Rings Online feels about his main character," Hindman writes. "Humans enjoy details, for sure, but they are also built of impressions."

Hindman goes on to argue that the majority of recent MMOs that he's seen offer as much originality as the next match-three puzzle game on Facebook. But for every clone and rip-off on social networks or in the MMO world, there are gems that work to push each respective genre forward. Unfortunately for classic MMO fans, the free-to-play and casual gaming movements serve to threaten their favorite kind of game.

A future wherein games like Draw Something (and my personal favorite of the moment, Hero Academy) reign looks more and more likely as asynchronous social and casual games collectively reel in billions. At the same time, said games have shown a new group of people the beauties of gaming. With this looking more and more like an inevitability, it begs the question: Is this a good or a bad thing?

Do you fear the social/casual game takeover or embrace it? Can social games and MMOs coexist? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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