The worldwide recession has hit some places harder than others. Some industries have been severely hurt, such as the US auto industry, while others have remained fairly unaffected. One of these industries is the game industry, and this could have positive implications for RuneScape in the years to come.
This fact came into my mind when I realized that a relative of mine who works for blizzard was getting a Christmas bonus. In a year when the only people getting bonuses were CEOs, this struck me. This led me to think about why so many people who play games, namely the community, is still paying.
Another thought that came to my mind was the fact that blizzard was charging $15USD a month for the ability to play. This is barely cheaper than my internet bill, and comes to $180 a year. When somebody who is in danger of losing their job thinks about $15 it can seem trivial, but the real numbers seemingly show a different story. Going on a cruise can easily cost ten times what this does, and a week at home playing WoW might seem fun to some people. However, this doesn't seem plausible to me, or several members of the community I spoke to.
Then the view that I think is fairly accurate came to mind. What if people are really, truly, addicted to these games. Activision blizzard's parent company took a hit during the recession, when World of Warcraft subscriptions rose. You can look at the chart on Google finance here
I then went to look, to find some hard evidence to prove that this was true. It was, however, difficult. I looked into other addicting substances such as Alcohol and Cigarettes, and tried to find sales numbers. Although I couldn't find anything specific, it seems that both Alcohol, Cigarettes, and RuneScape all exhibited growth during recessions.
This led me to do more research. Many researchers have stated that in situations of stress, the level of exhibited addiction will increase. Therefore, it would seem that when people are worried because they are out of work, they would play RuneScape, instead of looking into getting a job.
With new years resolutions being made, many people want to be more productive, and get something done. If what I've researched is correct, a resolution would be to break your addiction, and get more done.
Of course, not if you plan on going into video game design. If people are really addicted as it seems, the industry should continue to grow as the tobacco industry has.