Margaret Wallace of venture-backed startup Rebel Monkey -- itself developing an MMO -- was at Austin GDC's Worlds in Motion Summit to discuss user retention in multiplayer spaces. The question she posed: If you build it, will they come?
It's an area of particular interest, as Rebel Monkey's situation isn't unique. Many panel attendees raised their hands when asked if they were developing an MMO -- but only one hand stayed up when these participants were asked if they had yet launched.
As many new companies hope to launch successful online products -- and as their investors watch eagerly for their success -- retention becomes not just interesting and important, but crucial.
By 2008, it's estimated that the casual games business will be worth $2.1 billion dollars, and some 150 million players average 28 hours of gaming per month. Virtual worlds have seen rapid revenue growth from $5.9 billion in 2006 to $14.3 billion by 2009.