Ahead of this year’s Game Developers Conference, analyst and virtual world fan Bruce Sterling Woodcock updated his MMOG Chart website. Compiled and published since 2002 using stats from 1997 to date, it provides as unbiased a snapshot of growth in the MMOG space as you’re likely to find. And in an year when subscriptions to World of Warcraft alone topped 10 million it should be no surprise that Woodcock’s research shows continued extreme growth in memberships and subscriptions to virtual worlds.
Though WoW may account for a disproportionate share of that growth, when you take that away the growth curve is still significant — a clear indication of the sheer numbers of MMOG-trained Millennials to whom virtual worlds are just another neighborhood to explore. From radio and movies to music, television, the Internet and online realms, the progression is real and so are the evolving needs of students and other audiences. So whether you’re applying game and simulation technology for teaching, training, selling or entertaining, the medium is the message and it’s continuing to change. Where virtual words may have been science fiction to boomers and busters, to the new generation they’re an expected part of the media landscape.