Amazon hopes to poach Lord of the Rings Online players

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Amazon Games head thinks it’s likely that people will “move over” from the 16-year-old MMORPG to Amazon’s new Lord of the Rings MMO.


Yesterday, Amazon Games announced it’s working on a new Lord of the Rings MMO, which is actually the company’s second attempt at such a game. The first Lord of the Rings MMO was cancelled after two years in development, when the studio working on the game was bought by Tencent, and Amazon abandoned the project.

Following yesterday’s announcement, Amazon Games vice president Christoph Hartmann outlined plans for the new MMO in an interview with He gave little away regarding the content and form of the upcoming game, but he did have something interesting to say when it comes to The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO), an MMORPG which debuted in 2007 and has just celebrated its 16th anniversary.

When asked whether he thought LOTRO's head start of more than a decade would affect the potential of Amazon Games’ own Lord of the Rings MMO, Hartmann said he didn’t think it would. “First of all, I have a lot of respect for them to keep it going that long,” he said. “They have a, not huge, but a very dedicated fanbase. But looking just at the technology, where we’re at now, and where we will be in a couple of years, it’s just worlds apart. It’s a little exaggeration if I say it’s going to be like black and white movies to colour, but that’s the approach I want to take. It’s just a completely different world.”

Hartmann went on to say that he thinks LOTRO and Amazon’s new Lord of the Rings MMO can co-exist. But then he added that he thinks the most likely scenario will be: “for people just to move over, because the other one is an old game. It’s not a bad game, but the industry moves on at some point, and it’s a long time from their release to ours.”

It seems that Hartmann is banking on the shiny new graphics of Amazon’s game to lure LOTRO players away from their old haunt. But will they come? LOTRO might not be the biggest MMO around, but its player base has remained loyal all this time, with player counts remaining almost constant over the years. In fact, last April, LOTRO hit its highest concurrent player count in ten years.

There’s also the point that if LOTRO has been available for 16 years and still only has a – in Hartmann’s words – “not huge” player count, perhaps this does not bode well for Amazon’s success in targeting the same space. Still, from Hartmann’s comments in the article, it appears that the company will be targeting a much wider audience with a game that’s easily accessible and provides “instant reward”.

The news of Amazon’s new Lord of the Rings MMO has been met with both scepticism and worry over on the LOTRO subreddit. Some have pointed out that it’s likely to be many years before the new MMO surfaces, given that Amazon’s New World MMO was first announced in 2016 and didn’t launch until 2021. Others are concerned that LOTRO publisher Daybreak will get nervous about the competition and pull development resources from LOTRO. But some are sanguine about the news. “I’m all for Lotro getting a sibling,” says Stigger32. “As, no doubt, it will be shit. Bit then it will push more new players to Lotro.”

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