With the release of the latest COH expansion and the winds of change blowing, I decided it was time to play weatherman and speculate on where our game and community are headed. Here’s my take as a former top-ranked player.
Back in the stone age of the vCOH beta, it was rare to see more than 300 people online. I never remember seeing more than 3,000 online throughout all of regular vCOH. With the release of Opposing Fronts, the average number of players almost doubled. I was stunned to see 5,000 or 6,000 people online at peak hours. I was even more surprised to see peak numbers continue more than a year after the release of OF.
Yesterday, a new all-time high was reached: more than 10,400. While it’s true that single-player users are forced to login to Relic Online, they only account for about 30% to 40% of users online at any given time. This still leaves yesterday’s 10,400 figure well above previous OF highs. Despite the cries from the prophets of doom on GR.org, the game does not appear to be dying at all, but is growing larger.
What does this mean? It means COH may have the numbers to support multiple community sites, more pro-level players, and larger, more frequent tournaments due to a larger advertising base for sponsors. Think PC hardware, software, gaming companies and even soft drinks and snacks targeted at the coveted 18-34 young male gamer demographic.