Never one to shy away from tooting their own horn, Mythic Entertainment today announced that the Dark Age of Camelot expansion pack, Shrouded Isles, landed at number 15 of the top selling games of December putting it well ahead of games like Asheron's Call 2, and the much ballyhooed The Sims Online. The press release, which I noticed over at Gamespy Daily, goes on to give some of the raw numbers of Mythic's online community.Read on for some specifics.
The Press Release indicates:
"Dark Age of Camelot: Shrouded Isles has outsold all other massively multiplayer online game releases in December, including The Sims Online from Electronic Arts, as well as Asheron's Call 2 from Microsoft," said Mark Jacobs, President and CEO of Mythic Entertainment. "Almost 90% of Dark Age of Camelot's US-server player base has purchased Shrouded Isles and we look forward to continuing this 'top of the charts' trend as we expand our player base in the US and around the world."
I can't help but notice that this press release fails to point out that Shrouded Isles, as an expansion, costs substantially less at retail than it's so called competitors, and that those buying it are existing users and thus won't incur an additional monthly charge above what they're already paying. With that said, it's still pretty impressive to see DAoC steal victory from the jaws of otherwise certain defeat against The Sims Online. I know many retailers were suprised by the enthusiasm over Shrouded Isles (and quickly sold out), while I never saw a shortage of TSO boxes on the shelves.
That 90% sell through to existing customers is equally impressive, though there's probably a little statistical magic at work.
Over 600,000 people have played Dark Age of Camelot, with over 65,000 people around the world playing simultaneously at peak times. Currently there are over 210,000 paying subscribers to Dark Age of Camelot.
A subscriber base of over 200,000 is, frankly, outstanding. When compared with games like AC2, an excellent game in many respects, but one with a serious population defecit, DAoC seems to have found that comfortable balance to attract and keep players. And, lest you think DAoC is stealing those subscribers from rival Everquest, I noticed this press release from Rob Humble, Executive Producer of Everquest, on January 30:
Just a quick thank you to all our players for helping with our brand new record of over 110,000 simultaneous EverQuest users and a new record high number of subscribers too! Welcome to all of the new Adventurers in Norrath!
So it would seem the relatively old guard are holding their own against the next generation of MMORPGs. While Everquest, DAoC, and to a lesser extent Anarchy Online seem to hold their ground, games like TSO, AC2, and Earth and Beyond can't seem to find an audience. I'm not going to start spouting fatalistic propaganda, but it's a trend that gives one pause. The real test comes in April, when we can measure the success of Shadowbane - to be released in March - and watch the storied lauch of Star Wars: Galaxies.