TV To MMO – Can It Work?

Over the years we’ve seen some bold moves in the gaming industry. From idolizing Lara Croft in her transition to big-screen, to enjoying the rabbit hole experience of The Matrix Online, but it’s not too often that we see a TV series explode into the MMO world. With my new TV to MMO series I take a look at the potential of new IP’s and the fall of previous ones.

A very short history of TV to MMO games cut short; it failed. We’ve seen some massively popular TV titles come to the MMO world, only to be met with massive criticism; and eventually the unavoidable closing of an unreleased game. Family Guy Online is probably one of the most recent examples of how a huge TV series can utterly fail in the MMO space.

Failing to even finish a successful open beta period, Twentieth Century Fox decided to cut Family Guy Online after an unofficial report stated that the average player spent less than 3 minutes playing before deciding to quit, a terrible statistic for any game but for such a big TV franchise; it was enough to put the final nail in the coffin.

But why did it fail? You cannot argue with the quality of characters in the TV series and despite the unrealistic aspects, it does feature a solid enough background story to provide some depth. However, the only game the TV series can even remotely compare itself to is The Sims, after all you’re pretty much just watching the lives of a slightly abnormal family. That issue left a huge gap, the game play was in the wrong era. Imagine Steven Hawking trying to explain his theories to neanderthals and you wouldn’t be far off.

So is there any potential for the TV To MMO niche or are companies just trying to exploit any kind of popularity for extra revenue? Check back for future articles as we look at the potential of announced TV to MMO titles, such as Defiance, as well as discussing the potential of some more unlikely candidates.

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