As we reported last month, THQ President and CEO Brian Farrell said fans of the upcoming Warhammer 40k MMO can expect an official unveiling at this year's E3 on June 15. In a recent interview with IGN, Farrell offered a bit of insight about the upcoming MMO's target audience, in addition to an interesting statement regarding its potential revenue model.
When asked about Warhammer 40k's chance for success in a market dominated by MMOs like World of Warcraft, Farrell said that THQ is confident Warhammer 40k will stand on its own, noting the IP's established fan base. "On the PC alone, the Warhammer 40K series has sold over five million units, so there's an audience there that likes that universe," he told IGN. "We think there's always competition in every market, but you got to have an x-factor, a point of differentiation, and we think we've got that."
Farrell also pointed out the stark differences between the sword-and-sorcery genre of WoW and the gothic sci-fi themes in Warhammer 40k. "World of Warcraft is a great game, but as you know in entertainment, there's always the juggernaut and that means there's opportunities out there for the right MMO," Farrell said in the interview. "What we love about the Warhammer 40K MMO is that it's different in that it's a sci-fi, futuristic-based world. We're not competing directly in the orcs and elves fantasy environment that World of Warcraft is in. We can differentiate ourselves."
Finally, Farrell hinted at a unique, region-dependent revenue model that THQ might be adopting for Warhammer 40k. He told IGN that THQ is developing the MMO with a "flexible business model in mind." Farrell said the traditional, subscription-based revenue model "still works" throughout North America and Europe, although it's a harder sell in the Asian markets. He told IGN that THQ is developing Warhammer 40k in a way that lends itself to several pricing models, including "time-based sessions or microtransactions" for the Asian market.
The upcoming Warhammer 40k MMO is based on the Games Workshop tabletop miniature game of the same name. THQ published a real-time strategy PC video game version, Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War, in 2004. Virgil Games is developing the Warhammer 40k MMO, which takes place thousands of years after the events of the Warhammer Fantasy series. In January, we awarded Warhammer 40k an honorable mention in the 2009 ZAM Awards for "Most Anticipated Established IP."