World of Warcraft Loses 1.3 Million Subscribers in 3 Months

| 9 May 2013 04:52
World of Warcraft

Activision Blizzard isn't worried despite a significant decline in subscriptions between the months of January and March.

The world of massively multiplayer online gaming has seen some dramatic transitions in the past few years. Even with landscape changing things like the advent and increasing quality of free-to-play games, however, one constant has remained untouched: World of Warcraft is the king.

That being the case, the king's subjects have been shrinking in numbers over the years. In 2010, the massively popular MMORPG had more than 12 million subscribers. A few years later that number would fall to about 9 million before climbing back up to 10 million following the 2012 Mists of Panderia expansion. While this uptick was good news for the aging MMORPG, it seems to have been only temporary. World of Warcraft's user base has again declined, falling by more than 1.3 million subscribers between January and March of 2013.

To its credit, the game's publisher, Activision Blizzard, doesn't seem at all fazed by the news. Part of this has to do with the fact that the game still remains "the number one subscription-based MMORPG in the world' and is still a valuable cash cow. That said, a gradual decline in the game's user base is something its publisher had been expecting. "We do believe further declines are likely, and we expect to have fewer subscribers a year than we do today," said Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard's CEO. "We believe in the long-term value of this franchise and will continue to commit substantial resources to World of Warcraft."

Even if the publisher were to cut off funds tomorrow and shutter the long running MMO, it would still have had an impressive run. In addition to making oodles of money, the massive popularity of World of Warcraft helped expose more general audiences to MMOs. Likewise, while some gamers may be leaving, there are millions more who have stuck with World of Warcraft through thick and thin and remain enthusiastic members of its magical universe. The day might come where this isn't the case, but that's a future that seems so far off it's beyond the sight of anyone looking.

Note: Originally the article briefly mentioned between the months "March and June." As we don't yet possess a time traveling Delorean, this was a mistake. It now says, in all places, between the months of January and March. Our apologies for any confusion.

Source: Polygon

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The Game is fine, its just the players.

Reason i quit was not the universe, or the game itself. Reason i quit was because every single arsehole in the known universe seemed to be playing on the European servers.

Cyber bulling is rampant on wow. If id kids i wouldn't let them anywhere near it.

VoidWanderer:
I wonder how many of those subscribers are actually active? I for one know that I haven't touched the game since

*Looks at calendar*

January / February this year...

Are you still paying the subscription? Because it sounds like you're not getting your money's worth!

Vhite:
Do we really need a new thread every time WoW subscriber base fluctuates? Number of subscribers is a sine curve with new content patch at every second π. It has large player base so fluctuation is also large, this isn't any major drop, most of them will come back next patch, probably even more so since it's going to be summer by then.

Actually, for the two years I played WoW the playerbase seemed to drop like a brick during the summer. Probably because people were going outside and stuff.

I haven't played since the end of Wrath, and I don't think I'll ever play a Blizzard game again. I am clearly not their audience.

Do we really need a new thread every time WoW subscriber base fluctuates? Number of subscribers is a sine curve with new content patch at every second π. It has large player base so fluctuation is also large, this isn't any major drop, most of them will come back next patch, probably even more so since it's going to be summer by then.

VoidWanderer:
I wonder how many of those subscribers are actually active? I for one know that I haven't touched the game since

*Looks at calendar*

January / February this year...

If they're paying the subscription they're 'active'.

If they're paying but not playing - who cares? They're still paying.

If they're playing but not paying they don't register as active.

Quitted back in cata, the pvp just became a bloated mess with ghostcrawler doing nothing to improve it. I wasn't really much of a PVE guy but some fights were fun, like pre nerf kaelthas, archimonde, alar etc. Apparently this new guy in charge of PVP is a blessing from what i heard, he actually takes gamers input and fixes pvp bugs rather quickly. Ye wow kinda got dumbed down in the last 2 expansions and you could get an epic just by killing a lvl 1 rabbit but it still was and is the most influential MMO ever. I still hold dear some memories back from vanilla and BC. The game made me extremely happy when i played it and hopefully TITAN will be good, with some new take on PVP

I wonder how many of those subscribers are actually active? I for one know that I haven't touched the game since

*Looks at calendar*

January / February this year...

Duder Dudeson:

StewShearer:
World of Warcraft Loses 1.3 Million Subscribers in 3 Months

Activision Blizzard isn't worried despite a significant decline in subscriptions between the months of March and June.

I think your months are off a bit unless time travel was involved. I think one of the biggest mistakes was removing the old world. I miss old unfinished zones to explore.

Thank you for noting this error. I've updated the article.

StewShearer:
Af ew years later

:/

OT: It isn't insignificant but it isn't something that will "kill WoW" or even dent it much. Long term players, who are more inclined to buy special editions and purchase things on the store, are the market that Acti-Blizz wants and those people aren't going anywhere any time soon. Chances are if we could see the statistics for who is leaving and how long they had a subscription for, whether they resub every year/expansion for a few months or whether they're just after buying the game to try it out the numbers would look even better.

Ooo, this is excellent news. I wait for the next expansion to bring them all back, then lose 40% of subscriptions soon after. C'mon Blizzard, mess with the fans just a little more than you have been.

LetalisK:

Lunar Templar:

Waaghpowa:
Incoming doomsayers who think WoW is dying.

1/10 the player base isn't anything to over look, and while I will throw a fucking party celebrating the death of this over glorified bore feast when it's LONG over due death finally comes.

1/10 the player base isn't really a sign of 'end times', it's just a trend to keep an eye on and see if it gets worse

now :D it that number was 50% of subs, oh hell the fuck yes, I'd be rocken a sandwich board that says 'the end of WoW is neigh!!'

...why? I never understand why someone would enjoy seeing a game that they need not have any association with die. WoW's death should register a "Meh", if anything.

For me it is a bit personal because I used to be really entrenched in the "lore" of the Warcraft universe. I played Warcraft 1,2, and 3 almost exclusively during those years.

After warcraft 3's ending I was really excited to see where they would take the series and to my disappointment they decided to make it to an MMO. Now from a business standpoint no one is going to argue that their decision wasn't right, but from a fan of the lore standpoint, them ruining the lore by putting it on an MMO that I would never want to play has spurned me in the worst way.

I acknowledge it is completely petty and I can wait another 10 years but eventually WoW will die and I will celebrate. Then maybe, just maybe I can get my warcraft 4 I have been dearly waiting for.

LetalisK:

Lunar Templar:

Waaghpowa:
Incoming doomsayers who think WoW is dying.

1/10 the player base isn't anything to over look, and while I will throw a fucking party celebrating the death of this over glorified bore feast when it's LONG over due death finally comes.

1/10 the player base isn't really a sign of 'end times', it's just a trend to keep an eye on and see if it gets worse

now :D it that number was 50% of subs, oh hell the fuck yes, I'd be rocken a sandwich board that says 'the end of WoW is neigh!!'

...why? I never understand why someone would enjoy seeing a game that they need not have any association with die. WoW's death should register a "Meh", if anything.

Because too many people have been trying to copy it, and it eats up a large portion of the market share, meaning if a big bland game dies other smaller projects will likely see an increase in players/sales

Lunar Templar:

Waaghpowa:
Incoming doomsayers who think WoW is dying.

1/10 the player base isn't anything to over look, and while I will throw a fucking party celebrating the death of this over glorified bore feast when it's LONG over due death finally comes.

1/10 the player base isn't really a sign of 'end times', it's just a trend to keep an eye on and see if it gets worse

now :D it that number was 50% of subs, oh hell the fuck yes, I'd be rocken a sandwich board that says 'the end of WoW is neigh!!'

...why? I never understand why someone would enjoy seeing a game that they need not have any association with die. WoW's death should register a "Meh", if anything.

Lunar Templar:

Waaghpowa:
Incoming doomsayers who think WoW is dying.

1/10 the player base isn't anything to over look, and while I will throw a fucking party celebrating the death of this over glorified bore feast when it's LONG over due death finally comes.

1/10 the player base isn't really a sign of 'end times', it's just a trend to keep an eye on and see if it gets worse

now :D it that number was 50% of subs, oh hell the fuck yes, I'd be rocken a sandwich board that says 'the end of WoW is neigh!!'

When that day comes save me a seat, I'll bring the burbon :-)
OT: Something worth watching but still too soon to tell if it'll have any long term effects.

StewShearer:
To its credit, the game's publisher, Activision Blizzard, doesn't seem at all phased by the news.

Was that an intentional joke about WoW phasing? Or did the editor not pick up that it's supposed to be fazed? :P

OT: As others have said, this is pretty standard for an MMO where sub numbers will go up for a few months after a new expansion comes out. WoW will probably be around for some time, gradually bleeding subscribers until it's no longer profitable.

Also, crazy theory - does anybody think that they might be planning a Warcraft 4 that has a story leading into the next WoW expansion? I think that would be pretty cool.

VladG:

viranimus:
It is just a part of the normal MMO end cycle.

As new expansions are released you see people return to burn through the new content in 1-6 months. Then once up to date again grow bored and head back out to greener pastures.

The numbers will continue to yo yo back and forth representing a slow gradual descent.

Any MMO, you can only keep it moving at the head of the pack for only so long. Its the curse every MMO thus far has/will eventually fall to. Being locked in a still frame of its best possible experience, forever limited by its original coding.

Until there is a radical advent departing from existing MMO norms and tropes, this is the same fate all MMOs will suffer.

Actually EVE Online has had pretty much steady increase in subs since launch 10 years ago (with somewhat of a hiccup with one of it's expansions). True, however, that EVE is quite unique and a niche experience and never got anywhere near WoW subs.

Hrm. I guess I will grant you that because Eve IS an anomoly of sorts. However, even if it has not happened yet, the formula will still remain the same.

Original snapshot of code > Rise to peak of popularity > Yo Yo dwindling

Eve may not have hit its true "peak" yet given its structure being different, but eventually it will peak, interest will wane in a slow progression as players try to hold on to what it once was, to eventually gravitating to other outlets.

I think what I am driving at is that it would take an MMO that was capable of "molting" out of the limitations and dynamics of its original code and structure to fully represent new industry advents instead of what we see today where MMOs will try to "tack on" new gameplay advents but it is never proper utilization and always come off as a gimmicky "shell" of what it is trying to mimic. In short, despite all the power of internet connectivity, patching, expanding, etc MMOs only have a very limited capacity to truly "Evolve"

I wonder how long it will take for WoW to die? It seems to just do alot to stay alive.

Waaghpowa:
Incoming doomsayers who think WoW is dying.

1/10 the player base isn't anything to over look, and while I will throw a fucking party celebrating the death of this over glorified bore feast when it's LONG over due death finally comes.

1/10 the player base isn't really a sign of 'end times', it's just a trend to keep an eye on and see if it gets worse

now :D it that number was 50% of subs, oh hell the fuck yes, I'd be rocken a sandwich board that says 'the end of WoW is neigh!!'

viranimus:
It is just a part of the normal MMO end cycle.

As new expansions are released you see people return to burn through the new content in 1-6 months. Then once up to date again grow bored and head back out to greener pastures.

The numbers will continue to yo yo back and forth representing a slow gradual descent.

Any MMO, you can only keep it moving at the head of the pack for only so long. Its the curse every MMO thus far has/will eventually fall to. Being locked in a still frame of its best possible experience, forever limited by its original coding.

Until there is a radical advent departing from existing MMO norms and tropes, this is the same fate all MMOs will suffer.

Actually EVE Online has had pretty much steady increase in subs since launch 10 years ago (with somewhat of a hiccup with one of it's expansions). True, however, that EVE is quite unique and a niche experience and never got anywhere near WoW subs.

Seeing Bobby Kotick speak for Blizzard reminds of just where this company is now.

Made me feel a touch ill in my stomach honestly.

Anywho, this game will come to an end, someday.
I'm not in any hurry to see it, it will come in it's own time, which will probably not be any time in the foreseeable future. (Despite this recent dip in subscriptions)

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