MMO-Champion - WoW Down to 9.6 Million Subscribers
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WoW Down to 9.6 Million Subscribers
Activision Blizzard's press release states that World of Warcraft is down to 9.6 million subscribers as of December 31, 2012. This is lower than the amount of subscribers from the "over 10 million" announced for Q3 2012. A few other interesting points:

  • Mists of Pandaria was the #3 best-selling PC game at retail.
  • Diablo III was the #1 best-selling PC game at retail, breaking PC-game sales records with more than 12 million copies sold worldwide through December 31, 2012.
This article was originally published in forum thread: WoW Down to 9.6 Million Subscribers started by chaud View original post
Comments 963 Comments
  1. gkai's Avatar
    Doesn't really surprise me, people are bored of the same game year after year. It's just natural progression, no game lasts forever.
  1. The Small Hours's Avatar
    I logged in on one of my alts on a different realm from my main the other day, I was 1/150 online and not one character in the guild was above 85, like some kinda ghost town.
  1. Elexo's Avatar
    Doing a lot better than I expected.
    Assumed by now it would only be 8 mil, MoP must not be as bad as people say it is.
  1. Nyxxi's Avatar
    Lots of doomsayers in the thread I see

    I don't care if its losing subs, i don't care if the playerbase is slowly getting smaller, it could go down to 5 million and I wouldn't care... that would still be double any other MMO

    I love all the people shouting "WOW is over! its golden age is past! its all downhill from here!" Why do you think people care?

    And then anyone who argues against you is labelled a fanboy lol. Get over yourselves...
  1. Kathranis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuckd View Post
    But I agree about Blizzards stand point these days and there arrogance over dailys and this "we know best, despite outcry" BS.

    Dailys = un-fun

    HC`s = not hard enuff and no reward past jp lvl.

    JP = Useless to pointless to run 5mans

    Charms/Coins = Only from dailys? no from 5 mans aswell please

    No point having x rewards for x gameplay. I should be able to earn the same charms/coins/vp/jp etc no matter what i play be it 5mans/scens/dailys the only factor should be how you obtain them and the rate.

    Likewise if your going to stick us for all these fucking reps, give us the option of tabards, they need to show there able to let us play the way we want and not box us into to these grind fests to artificially lengthen a game that actually now doesnt need it.
    I don't agree with you.

    First of all, there is nothing preventing you from playing the way you want to.

    You do not need to farm the reputation gear, and you don't need Elder Charms.

    You do not need to grind for valor/justice points.

    You are perfectly capable of gearing up purely by running heroics and raids. It's not even like the charms were a thing before, they're something completely new that was implemented as a way to reward dungeoneers/raiders for optionally doing daily quests.

    The fact is, their current setup is far closer to the way things worked in Burning Crusade, where you geared up in dungeons and raids but could spend tokens to fill in slots, unlike in Wrath and Cataclysm where earning points became the primary ways to gear up, to such an extent that you could obtain an almost complete set of tier gear without ever stepping into a raid.


    More importantly, you're basically just asking for more rewards for doing the content you are already getting rewards from.

    Let me twist your basic argument around to suit me: I like doing dailies, but I don't really like raiding, and I prefer only to do dungeons once or twice so I can experience the story. However, they have really cool gear in raids that I can't get from doing the content I enjoy the most. I don't need the gear, since I can handle the content I enjoy with the gear I have, but boy, I really wish Blizzard would let me play the way I want to play. They should totally let me get tier gear from daily quests.

    Probably sounds absurd to you, right? Well you want daily quest rewards for doing heroics, which is just as absurd. Why should they cater to your playstyle but not mine?


    Even if it takes longer to gear up without the charms or reputation gear, I don't really see where the complaint comes from. You would just need to keep running heroics and raids, which is the part of the game you already admit to enjoying. If anything, it gives you more incentive to keep doing them, not less. If you got fully geared, would you just quit doing heroics or quit raiding? I doubt it.
  1. Curd3x's Avatar
    How come they have 9.6 million when they have sold about 4 milions of MoP?...dont understant this....i think from 9,6m are about 10-15% goldsellers...maybe more
  1. WarpGuN's Avatar
    the actual number is probably very very much lower, there are so many servers in Europe that are dead or low populated
  1. Kathranis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Teeruk View Post
    I logged in on one of my alts on a different realm from my main the other day, I was 1/150 online and not one character in the guild was above 85, like some kinda ghost town.
    Maybe because it's full of alts belonging to players who spend most of their time on different realms (or in different guilds), just like you do.

    ---------- Post added 2013-02-08 at 08:54 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Curd3x View Post
    How come they have 9.6 million when they have sold about 4 milions of MoP?...dont understant this....i think from 9,6m are about 10-15% goldsellers...maybe more
    I don't understand your question at all.

    First of all, goldsellers use compromised (stolen) accounts to do their business. They don't buy new copies of the game and all the expansions just to farm gold, that would be ridiculous. They'd constantly be getting banned and having to buy new copies of the game and its expansions, and every time that happens they'd have to level their characters from scratch.

    Second of all, not every subscriber who plays WoW buys all the expansions. More importantly, in some regions the expansions aren't sold seperately and are instead released as free content patches.

    The number of players buying the expansions at launch have historically been about 30-40% of total players.
  1. The Small Hours's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kathranis View Post
    Maybe because it's full of alts belonging to players who spend most of their time on different realms (or in different guilds), just like you do.
    Possible, but even my realid friend list is becoming like a ghost town.
  1. Orby's Avatar
    Back in the day when WoW was pretty much the only big MMO on the market to now when we have not only loads of MMO's but free to play models too, there's no surprise the subs have went down. When people want to play an MMO they have multiple choice now and not just WoW to go too. The market for MMO's is pretty much substantial in its own right.

    WoW still has a larger subscriber base so it isn't really a major blow to them.
  1. segoplout's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dingolicious View Post
    As someone who has quit a couple months back, I can see why 500k would be lost.

    1) Game doesn't seem as fun, or at least the focus shifting to dailies overload didn't make it fun for me.
    2) People are getting older and having less time for MMOs (Or grinding dailies)
    For me, it's some of the decisions they have made over the years that makes me not want to play any more. I DO play sometimes but it's been the same pattern for last 2 expansions, buy, go in, play for a month and then I'd just rather quit because for the first week or so you think the expansion is really good but once you strip away the exterior you see there is not much grit underneath, which is unfortunate. I still feel they are not making enough changes to the dynamics, not enough radical changes that are so needed, in my opinion. Looking for raid was sort of fun but it did feel as if you were raiding in a room full of AI bots. There is barely any communication and then the boss dies and you don't see loot. My guild was gone by the start of MOP, a lot of them had beta and told me it wasn't going to be a good expansion and alas they are gone for good those guys, and that's after several years of playing without break. Maybe it's a good thing then. Personally I didn't like the announcement that we were off to pandaland, thought it was a complete sellout and I should have trusted my instincts as I don't think the game could get further away than now from a real Warcraft game, it's all getting a bit silly. And if you say this, people always retort with 'Cows and purple haired gnomes have been there' - yes they have but they were always a joke from the start. And not in a bad way. But to force this kingdom of - well it's China isn't it? - panda bears on us and try to slot it into Warcraft as a 2 year expansion, was a bit much.

    More substance Blizzard.
  1. Gray_Matter's Avatar
    The more I look at this, the more suspect I get with Blizzard's figures.

    Previously, they indicated that the subscriber numbers were 10.1 million (up from 9.1 million) before release in China. My argument at the time was that a lot of the Chinese players would have bought airtime in advance in anticipation. I would imagine that there was still a sizable chunk of Chinese players who did buy after release so the 10.1 million number would have initially gone up before dropping down to 9.6 million.

    That means that the loss of subscribers is definitely more than 500k. The comment that the majority of losses are from China is likely to be referring to the higher loss and not the 500k. That coupled with the specials on MoP over Christmas would explain the comment. Put it this way, if we take the figures at face value that would mean that there are less Chinese subscribers now than before the release of MoP which is absurd (10.1 before release in China and 9.6 now with most losses in China).

    When comparing WOW's numbers with other MMO's, you have to seperate China and the rest because very few (if any) other MMO's are sold in China. WOW is still immensely successful, no one can argue with that, but it is waning in popularity and that will in all likelihood accelerate because it's a social game. People stop playing because their friends have stopped playing. I haven't played MoP for a couple of reasons (grind and I disagree with the model of charging both a monthly fee and for upgrades). It sounds like they have put a lot of work into it of late which implies that they are worried. They milked the cow a bit too much with Cata and are now paying the price. I don't think their specials last year helped either. Come back to WOW and we will give you all of the expansions for free. What does that say to the people who have not yet bought the expansions but have been subscribing? One of my daughters was on the base WOW and I can say that it pissed me off in a big way.

    They won't be gone this year, or even next year, but it's days are numbered. The good news on that front is that Titan won't be too far away. Lets hope they have learnt from their mistakes when it comes to Titan.
  1. edw's Avatar
    9.6 mil sub ... I don't know how they actually got to this number when a lot ( A LOT) of the servers have population problems ... not to say that more and more are labeled DEAD.
  1. lios's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by WarpGuN View Post
    the actual number is probably very very much lower, there are so many servers in Europe that are dead or low populated
    Aaaaand one more time: Lying about subscriber numbers to your shareholders is ILLEGAL. Really illegal. Not 'against the ToS or EULA' illegal, but 'going to jail' illegal. They do not lie about this.

    On another note: OMG I will quit!!! My whole game has changed now when I log in. There might be 10 people who quit on my server too! Doing what I always do is no fun when people quit!! The game is dead! *sigh*
  1. WarpGuN's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lios View Post
    Aaaaand one more time: Lying about subscriber numbers to your shareholders is ILLEGAL. Really illegal. Not 'against the ToS or EULA' illegal, but 'going to jail' illegal. They do not lie about this.

    On another note: OMG I will quit!!! My whole game has changed now when I log in. There might be 10 people who quit on my server too! Doing what I always do is no fun when people quit!! The game is dead! *sigh*
    they can always manipulate the numbers

    btw

    http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2986509135
  1. Pann's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Curd3x View Post
    How come they have 9.6 million when they have sold about 4 milions of MoP?...dont understant this....i think from 9,6m are about 10-15% goldsellers...maybe more
    It is only in the western regions that we buy expansions in China they pay by the hour and do not have to buy the game hence the discrepancy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathranis View Post
    I don't understand your question at all.

    First of all, goldsellers use compromised (stolen) accounts to do their business. They don't buy new copies of the game and all the expansions just to farm gold, that would be ridiculous. They'd constantly be getting banned and having to buy new copies of the game and its expansions, and every time that happens they'd have to level their characters from scratch.
    Whilst some gold sellers use comprised accounts there are many that are completely legitimate companies. For example the owners of Wowhead, Thottbot and many other sites used to own IGE (one of the largest game currency traders).
  1. Stannis's Avatar
    inb4 the game is losing subscribers exactly because of the features I don't like.
  1. Sidone's Avatar
    People have the attention span of goldfish these days concerning games so no wonder. I'm as casual as it gets, but i still play, and enjoy it. I still need 4 MoP factions at exalted, but i just do them on occasion. I don't need them to progress "my" game. Lately enjoying pet battles. I just changed. I don't NEED everything at exalted day one, and 90000 elder coins. I did the normals i killed without the VP items u get from rep. I just play my own pace. If only half the playerbase and the people who quit, did that.
  1. grexly75's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by WarpGuN View Post
    they can always manipulate the numbers

    btw

    http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2986509135
    Did you actually read lios's reply manipulating the numbers is still lying to the shareholders and is still illegal.. Because if someone found out they were manipulating the numbers they would end up in hot water.
  1. Gray_Matter's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by WarpGuN View Post
    they can always manipulate the numbers
    The way things are worded has a huge impact on how the numbers are read. Like the comment at the last one saying that the 10.1 was before release in China. And saying that the majority of the losses are from China but what figure are they talking about? The 10.1 or a higher number? People assume that it's higher percentage of the 500k. This is the first expansion where they released the sales numbers out of sync with the past. They released 1 week sales and no 1 day or 1 month so no one can compare them to the previous expansions. They haven't released the numbers for MoP either. They have only said that it was 3rd in retail. There is a lot of spin doctoring going on. The 9.6 million figure definitely accurate but no one knows the breakdown between East and West and no one knows the real sales for MoP except Blizzard.

    Perception is a funning thing. People want to be part of the in crowd. They want the iPhones and Galaxy III's, not the old Blackberry's. Blizzard are doing a very good job of keeping that perception of success going with WOW (and it's real success because without anything tangible, people wouldn't play).

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