It actually isn’t as common as you might think that an MMOG makes it to five years. At GDC this year, six panelists from among the survivors got together and talked about their strategies for keeping old players and acquiring new ones.
And there’s sound advice in there for more industries and enterprises than just MMOGs.
Jameson said that just as games evolve after launch, so too does the audience. Instead of looking for the audience the developer wants, he said it becomes a transition to understanding the players it has. Getting to that core audience that identifies with the game is key, and while Jameson said it’s still possible to grow the game after launch, that growth needs to stem from the core player base.