What Makes A Genre Explode?

Ever since the dawn of MMO gaming we’ve been introduced to new genres that feature a new approach to the world of massively multiplayer gaming. However, after sitting down and thinking of the giants of yesteryear, I couldn’t really figure out what made them so big.

The first real explosion in popularity was arguably World of Warcraft. Sure some big name MMO games were released previously, but WoW had adverts on the TV, was the talking point of school playgrounds everywhere, and boasted millions of players. This shot the RPG genre to the forefront of the MMO world, with hundreds of following games attempting to emulate the success from Blizzard’s biggest title.

Next up we see the introduction of the MOBA genre. Despite its routes being in the original DotA game the strategy-fueled genre didn’t really explode until the release of League of Legends. Since that time it has become one of the most played genres on the planet and homes some of the most competitive play you’ll see in a gaming environment.

Moving down the line we see the release of World of Tanks. When I first played the game I didn’t really consider it to be anything special and I expected it to die out like the rest of the shoddy tank simulation games before it. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong as Wargaming.net’s title launches into the competitive scene and holds a number of World Records.

I’m obviously not “down with the kids” anymore as I wasn’t really impressed with any of these titles when I first played them. I grew to love League of Legends but that was more due to friends than anything else at the time.

Comparing these to other games; none of them really boast a massive new feature or approach. So what made them get so popular? Two practically identical RPG games can be seen with one catering to millions while another struggles to keep a thousand players. Is it the communities? The actions and behavior of the developers? Or the game itself?

What Makes A Genre Explode?