Star Wars: The Old MMO Problem

Amidst continuing news of EA's declining stock prices and more layoffs at BioWare, Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn't exactly been getting a lot of positive press lately. adds to that with an editorial today that examines the reasons behind the game's failure. The author posits that it's not the game itself in question that's the problem, but the larger issues behind existing MMO game design standards.
This is the dirty little secret of most MMOs. They are not designed to be fun, interesting or even social experiences. They are designed purely so that you keep playing. They are not entertainment; they are traps.

Now, there's a lot I could say on that point about developer responsibility and the evils of systems which promote and glorify these types of design, but those are other arguments for another time. What matters as far as the fiscal realities of SWTOR and its ilk go though is that there's only room a certain number of games that are this brazenly manipulative - and I think we've already reached that limit. Most gamers simply aren't interested in more games like that, while those that are have already got unbreakable bonds to existing games, such as World of Warcraft.
I do think there may be some truth to this - MMOs do take up quite a bit of time, and expecting players to put months and months into every one is a pretty risky proposition. I know I've never played multiple MMOs at once, and the months of gameplay required to get the most out of them isn't always something I'm interested in.