Blizzard Will no Longer Report World of Warcraft Subscriber Numbers

Steven Bogos

The Taco Man
Jan 17, 2013
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Blizzard Will no Longer Report World of Warcraft Subscriber Numbers


World of Warcraft's latest official subscriber count - 5.5 million - will be its last.

It's no secret that World of Warcraft has been bleeding subscribers over the last few years, mostly thanks to Blizzard's diligent quarterly reports [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/140717-World-of-Warcraft-Loses-2-9-Million-Subscribers-in-One-Quarter] of its subscriber numbers. However, it has now announced that the latest count - 5.5 million - will be the last, as it is bringing its regular subscriber reports to an end.

"Note that this is the last quarter that we plan to provide subscriber numbers," the company said. "There are other metrics that are better indicators of the overall Blizzard business performance."

Just FYI, the latest figure of 5.5 million represents a loss of around 100,000 subscribers from last quarter, putting the game's player base at a nine-year low. Given this fact, it's no surprise that Blizzard would stop its reports - after all, it isn't great business sense to tell people it is bleeding subscribers every month.

As for what these "other metrics" are, Blizzard parent company Activision Blizzard didn't offer up any immediate information, but we can assume they will involve numbers concerning the developers new cash cow - Hearthstone [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/hearthstone].

WoW's upcoming expansion - Legion [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/legion] will be on display at BlizzCon this weekend, and Blizzard has stated it plans to release expansions for the games a a much more frequent rate than prior.

Personally, I really wish Blizzard would just put WoW to bed and work on a new MMO. I was really bummed when Titan was cancelled [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/137608-Blizzard-Cancels-Titan-MMO-After-Seven-Years], and would love to see an MMO set in one of it's other universes (World of Starcraft, anyone?)

Source: GameSpot [http://www.gamespot.com/articles/blizzard-will-no-longer-report-world-of-warcraft-s/1100-6431943/]

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jurnag12

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Nov 9, 2009
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I can actually kinda see the reasoning behind this. It's incredibly easy for potential investors and such to see the continuously dropping subscription numbers and balk at the company while ignoring the somewhat underestimated new revenue generators that are Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.

Also, let's not forget that 5.5 million is still pretty fucking good for an 11 year old subscription-based MMO in 2015.
 

Compatriot Block

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Jan 28, 2009
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Well there are those gold-based subscription tokens now right? Maybe that fudges with the numbers. Can't really wrap in those purchases with normal subscribers.

Just saying there are probably ways to view this less negatively if that's your thing.

Sad to see something I have such fond memories of struggling so much at the moment.
 

Kameburger

Turtle king
Apr 7, 2012
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I want a Starcraft visual novel centered around a lonely protoss construction worker who heeds the call and signs up with the war effort to construct additional pylons, but finds love instead.
 

synobal

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Jun 8, 2011
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They don't report on anything any more really. Haven't heard anything about HOTS recently and the numbers for Hearthstone seem really old too and I think was counting anyone that installed the game.
 

LordLundar

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Compatriot Block said:
Just saying there are probably ways to view this less negatively if that's your thing.
Well I'm not disputing that, Blizzard's track record supports Steven's theory. Whenever Blizzard would suffer a loss of subs from WoW, they would wait until the quarterly figures to put out the numbers. By contrast, increases were announced the moment they had the numbers and frequently done so. This does read more like they're giving up any chance of recovery for the game than any thing else.
 

Ticklefist

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They're in the middle of the most profitable faction imbalance in the history of the game. Subscriber numbers don't properly represent the truckloads of money they're getting off faction changes.
 

kajinking

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Aug 12, 2009
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Ticklefist said:
They're in the middle of the most profitable faction imbalance in the history of the game. Subscriber numbers don't properly represent the truckloads of money they're getting off faction changes.
I don't follow WOW, out of morbid curiosity can you explain what you mean? I love hearing about comically mismatched balance when it's in a game I don't play.
 

Red Panda

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Jan 28, 2014
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There will never be another blizzard mmo, free2pay is the new meta. Why put all the effort into an mmo when they can rake in billions with a skeleton crew creating a few dozen cards a year?
 

SlumlordThanatos

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Aug 25, 2014
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jurnag12 said:
I can actually kinda see the reasoning behind this. It's incredibly easy for potential investors and such to see the continuously dropping subscription numbers and balk at the company while ignoring the somewhat underestimated new revenue generators that are Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.
Hearthstone has probably allowed Activision Blizzard execs to purchase their fifth gold-plated yacht, but I really doubt they're making very much money off of HotS.

If anything, they're probably losing money on that game, since they're trying so hard to push the eSports community for that game and failing miserably. It's not a bad game, it just doesn't lend itself very well to a solo experience...which will push a lot of people away. Without players, no one will want to watch the pros go at it.
 

Elfgore

Your friendly local nihilist
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I would too if I had nothing but rapidly decreasing numbers to show. Looks bad for not only investors but potentially new players.
 

Ticklefist

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kajinking said:
Ticklefist said:
They're in the middle of the most profitable faction imbalance in the history of the game. Subscriber numbers don't properly represent the truckloads of money they're getting off faction changes.
I don't follow WOW, out of morbid curiosity can you explain what you mean? I love hearing about comically mismatched balance when it's in a game I don't play.
People have been faction switching to Alliance since the 6.0 patch for Warlords of Draenor. At first it was just the min/max pvp'ers that wanted the best racials available. Then their fans went. Then everyone who just wanted a decent pool of players to group with went. It's a mess.

Don't take my word for it. Have a look at the rankings in the primary bracket. Horde players sparsely scattered among a sea of Alliance.
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/pvp/leaderboards/3v3
http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/pvp/leaderboards/3v3
 

Fappy

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May 1, 2020
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The theme park MMO is in it's twilight years. This was inevitable. Hopefully someone comes along and revolutionizes the genre again. We're long overdue.
 

Nimcha

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Fappy said:
The theme park MMO is in it's twilight years. This was inevitable. Hopefully someone comes along and revolutionizes the genre again. We're long overdue.
SWTOR's latest expansion surely helps!
 

Sarge034

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Feb 24, 2011
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Can't help but see this as closing our eyes to keep us from seeing how badly the bleeding is. Spoiler, it's arterial. I want them to keep posting the numbers only so the WoW death spiral chart can continue to show the inevitable trend of games.
 

immortalfrieza

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Fappy said:
The theme park MMO is in it's twilight years. This was inevitable. Hopefully someone comes along and revolutionizes the genre again. We're long overdue.
Long long LONG overdue. As a result of World of Warcraft being the first MMO that really took off, the one that really hit the public consciousness with a very select few exceptions like say EVE EVERY MMO since then has been copying it trying to get a piece of the WoW pie and every single one quickly failing because they miss the entire point. It's not hard to see why they keep trying for subscriptions, the idea of being able to make money hand over fist for months or even years just by basically doing nothing more than adding a multiplayer function to a game is a game developer's wet dream, but they don't bother to deliver an experience different enough from WoW to make anybody buy into it for long. Everyone that would want to play a game like WoW either already is or has lost any and all interest by this point, they want something NEW, not the same thing with a different skin. That, and thanks to Free to play MMOs people are also waking up to the fact that they are paying monthly to be allowed to actually play a game they already bought and thus are far less tolerant of the subscription model than they used to be.

World of Warcraft is VERY slowly dying, and it's eventual death will spark a widespread innovation to MMO games but it will probably be another few years before it bleeds out entirely. Regardless of how long that takes, Blizzard is still making out like bandits by suckering millions into paying billions over more than a decade for a game that they should never had to have paid more than the initial purchase price for.
 

Quellist

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Oct 7, 2010
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Steven Bogos said:
Personally, I really wish Blizzard would just put WoW to bed and work on a new MMO.
5.5 Million subscribers? No way are they going to 'put to bed' a game with that many players paying a monthly fee