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Amazon delays its MMO New World into 2021
Multiple genres and business models now crowd the online multiplayer market

Online giant Amazon has not had the easiest time trying to launch new PC and console games. After initially launching its team-based shooter Crucible and quickly pulling the game into another closed beta to work on improvements, Amazon Game Studios has now delayed the upcoming massively multiplayer online (MMO) title New World until Spring 2021.

The game had already been pushed back once from May to August, but Richard Lawrence, the director of game technology at Amazon Game Studios Orange County in Irvine said that the team scrutinized its feature list and alpha user feedback and decided that more time was necessary to meet the quality bar they’ve set.

What Amazon is attempting to do is no easy feat. The MMO space has several entrenched entrants (World of Warcraft, Elder Scrolls Online, Runescape, Eve Online, etc.) and the genre arguably peaked about a decade ago when World of Warcraft enjoyed 12 million players in 2010. Since then, we’ve seen the rise of free-to-play games and MMOs like Guild Wars and Star Wars: The Old Republic. There’s also been a noticeable shift towards other styles of online gameplay, including Battle Royale (Fortnite, PUBG), MOBA (League of Legends, Dota), and team-based shooters (Counter-Strike, Overwatch).

Looking at data for a three-month period pre-COVID, Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that only 8% of gamers had played an MMO whereas 16% had played a first-person shooter like Call of Duty and 10% had played a Battle Royale title like Fortnite.

Amazon can still succeed but the company faces an uphill battle, as PC Gamer described: “It’s a new MMO, but not a wildly ambitious Kickstarter project, not a survival game, not free-to-play, and it does not take place in space. It feels like a game that could’ve released alongside Guild Wars 2 in 2012.”   

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