World of Warcraft Numbers Down Again

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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World of Warcraft Numbers Down Again


World of Warcraft is still the king, but its kingdom continues to shrink.

Activision announced this morning that it plans to buy back [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/126340-Activision-Blizzard-to-Buy-Out-Vivendis-Shares] roughly 429 million shares from parent company Vivendi at a cost of over $5.8 billion, a pretty big bit of news for the biggest videogame publisher on the planet. Crowded in near the bottom of the email making that news public was a note relevant to the biggest subscription-based MMO on the planet: World of Warcraft finished the second quarter of 2013 with 7.7 million subscribers, down from 8.3 million at the end of March.

It's still a huge number but it's nonetheless a dramatic decline from its peak of 12 million back in 2010. It's also not necessarily a surprise: When Activision Blizzard announced the first-quarter subscriber numbers in May, CEO Bobby Kotick said further declines were likely [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/123855-World-of-Warcraft-Loses-1-3-Million-Subscribers-in-3-Months] and that "we expect to have fewer subscribers in a year than we do today."

The number of World of Warcraft subscribers has been declining for the past few years but Kotick committed to slowing or stopping the slide, saying Activision Blizzard "will continue to commit substantial resources to World of Warcraft." The company took a big step in that direction earlier this month when it confirmed the forthcoming addition of microtransactions [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/125788-World-of-Warcraft-Confirms-Microtransactions].



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Deathfish15

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Na na, na na na na, hey, hey, hey, good bye!

I'm glad this market encircling monster is slowly going the way of the dinosaurs. This makes room for more innovative, and fun, games to sweep and pick up a reasonable audience to stay in operation with. It expands the market and makes sure there's far less clones of a dying game (and yes, losing millions of customers over 2 years is dying).


P.S. GW2 is ever expanding. Maybe it's concept of content-updates every 2 weeks, and a real evolving story (instead of a freakin' dungeon every 2 months) is the answer to LIVING WORLD that MMO's were supposed to be all about. I can see people playing WoW and paying $15 a month to get content updates every 2-3 months, while looking over the fence to see the green grass with GW2 having cost nothing more than the box and free content every 2 weeks. No wonder those people are saying "WTF are we playing this game paying $15 a month for...where's our updates?!"
 

Baldr

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Jan 6, 2010
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Microtransactions on Asian servers. Look up the Asian subscription model for World of Warcraft, it is almost free-to-play already and much different from the monthly payments on Western Servers.
 

Chessrook44

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Hey I love GW2 a lot as well but I won't necessarily be yelling "WoW-killer" or anything yet.

I've always said WoW is so big the only thing that'll kill it is itself... and while it's nowhere near dead, declining to almost half its peak in 3 years is no small thing. sure, the fact that many MMOs have been going F2P has helped, and the fact there's so many other options, but I think the main reason of the decline is just... people being tired of it. The game is old, people have been playing it for, what, a decade? No matter how much you like a game there's a point where you've just had enough.

You're good WoW. But nobody is ten-years good. Not to that degree.

Evercrack waits to say hi.
 

Morsomk_v1legacy

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Jan 30, 2013
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SecretNegative said:
Yes! fucking die you monster!
Well that made me laugh more then it should have.

OT. It is kinda sad seeing a game that I loved playing for such a long time dying. But then I realize that while this is sad, it's also a good thing, because it finally means that mmo market can grow and be much better it has been the last 8-10 years now.

Competition between multiple giants of the mmo market can finally happen soon, instead of this giant titan that no one has been able to figure out how to deal with. The only question though, will we happy about the offer those giants will give us? Here's hoping that at least one giant wont be trying to screw us up and instead will give us the wonderful experience that mmos can give us.
 

Frylock72

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Cross-realm zones, ridiculous amounts of rep grinding, taking away regular dungeon queues for level 90s, removing the ability to trade Valor for Justice Points, I can keep going. I was leveling a Warrior this month with Mining and Blacksmithing. Mining is easy to level, but when I got to Mithril I needed well over 500 bars just to get from 175-250. FIVE HUNDRED. Then I needed at least the same amount in Thorium just to go from 250-295, yet getting any was an exercise in futility by trying to compete with 90s and their flying mounts and it's just not possible.

Whoever's making the decisions now is an idiot.
 

frobalt

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I don't think anyone is surprised that Wow is due to die eventually.

It just means that the MMO market will either be more spread out in future or another will take its' place. The problem with MMOs is that they require a subscription though, which generally means people only play just the 1. Whereas, with games like COD and BF, people could play both as the only fee is the initial buying fee (I know they have other content too, but it's not required to play)
 

thetoddo

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The original Starcraft was 10 years good, more in fact. SC1 enjoyed the longes continuous
print run in video game history.

WoW's numbers dropping isn't surprising, as was previously said it's an old game. I have a lot of friends who just play for the social aspects, and old or not it's the most polished product out there and the system requirements are negligible. I personally don't play it currently, Since Lich King I've been reupping my account a couple months before an expansion hits, powering through to see the content then cancelling a few months after the expansion. I'm actually ok with doing that given the quality of the product.

I'd really like to see a breakdown of subscriber numbers for returning players around the expansion times, I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people who do the same thing I do.
 

Chessrook44

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frobalt said:
The problem with MMOs is that they require a subscription though, which generally means people only play just the 1. Whereas, with games like COD and BF, people could play both as the only fee is the initial buying fee (I know they have other content too, but it's not required to play)
With the rise of the free-to-play scene that's just not true anymore. Even healthy MMOs have made the transition and gotten greater success. In fact the only major MMOs I can think of that still mandate a sub to play are WoW and EVE. Maybe The Secret World but I can't remember if that went F2P.
 

MCerberus

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The sun shines
Birds sing
And WoW loses subs due to changes in preference of Western gamers making it up in the Eastern market.

These are constant.
 

TheEvilCheese

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Dec 16, 2008
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As has been said before, WoW, you are good. Have been amazing. But no-one should be dominating the market for an entire decade. That said, I do hope you are the most played MMO come your ten year anniversary. Would be a fitting end.

I don't think it's pandaria alone killing the sub numbers, I think it's the massive increase in quality of F2P games and the success of GW2 among other things.

I've personally not jumped back into the grind because of time constraints and I honestly miss those times. But all must pass so that the future can... well happen.

Here's to the re-announcement of Titan [sub]in another three fucking years[/sub].
 

Imper1um

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With the speed that it is declining, we could start seeing WoW Server closures in a year or two, and the game reaching development unsustainability (not enough subscribers to warrant placing developers on patches) within 4-6 years, and server unsustainability (not enough income to warrant keeping the servers up) within 7-10 years.

I hope Blizz finishes Titan quickly, and its a smash hit like WoW Original, because, otherwise, we could see the Blizzard side of Activision/Blizzard tanking very quickly. Call of Duty can only sustain the revenue of the publishing giant for so long.