MMO-Champion - WoW Down to 8.3 Million Subscribers
WoW Down to 8.3 Million Subscribers
Activision Blizzard's press release states that World of Warcraft is down to 8.3 million subscribers. This is a loss of 1.3 million, down from 9.6 million last quarter. Most of the loss came from the East once again.

  • Blizzard expects to have less subscribers at the end of the year than they do today.
  • Most of the decline in subscribers came from China.
  • There has been less engagement by casual players.
  • Blizzard is going to work on improving the experience for returning players.
  • Blizzard All Stars and Titan will not be released in 2013 according to the slide below.
  • Heart of the Swarm was the #1 PC game of the quarter, selling 1.1 million copies in two days.
  • There has been increased competition with F2P games in Asia.
  • Players consume content faster and subscribe and unsubscribe as new content is added.

This article was originally published in forum thread: WoW Down to 8.3 Million Subscribers started by chaud View original post
Comments 913 Comments
  1. Floross's Avatar
    That last hearthstone game the devs shoulda lost.
  1. Onzay's Avatar
    Why do they say "Most of the decline in subscribers came from China." They make it seem like their Chinese fans don't even matter.
  1. Siddown's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Onzay View Post
    Why do they say "Most of the decline in subscribers came from China." They make it seem like their Chinese fans don't even matter.
    That, or it is simply stating a fact.
  1. Vulcanasm's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cybran View Post
    The game was successful when it didn't cater to casuals.
    It's funny how insistently you double down on demonstrably wrong explanations. This game peaked in subscriptions during WOTLK -- the most "casual"-friendly expansion, when 25% of guilds killed normal-mode Lich King. It saw the most rapid expansion during Burning Crusade -- when the game was retooled every patch to be successively friendlier to "casual" gamers.

    Like I said, "casual" is a term bandied about by basement-dwelling neckbeards, and it always means the same thing: "anyone who plays less than *me*".

    Any time you mention "casual" like it's a dirty word, you lose all credibility.
  1. morfraen's Avatar
    WoW is getting old. Subs will keep spiking with each new xpac and falling after no matter how much blizzard tried to redesign things. 8.3m is still larger than anything else out there.
  1. Taurrus's Avatar
    What do you guys think it would work to increase that subscribing amount, lowering the monthly fee to $10?
  1. thorkin69's Avatar
    then may I ask Just how stupid are you for playing with crap??? you said it , not me. does your Mom know you are playing with" crap "? or is it that you don't play anymore but have no other life than to come on a WoW based subject forum and throw " Crap " opinions that those of us that do still like the game?
  1. warcraftmew's Avatar
    Blizzard is going to work on improving the experience for returning players.

    how about improving the experience for EXISTING players its why you lost subs in the first place
  1. Siddown's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Taurrus View Post
    What do you guys think it would work to increase that subscribing amount, lowering the monthly fee to $10?
    That doesn't make much sense to be honest. Blizzard's goal is not to maximize subscriptions, it's to maximize profits. Lowering sub fees by 20% to get some player bases back is a net loss for them unless they would be confident that it'd give them a bigger rate of return, which I'd wager they have no idea about.

    8.3 million is still dominant in the MMO market.
  1. Virtua's Avatar
    I actually think WoW is pretty fun right now. I mean, I don't play it, but I subbed for a month to see all of Throne of Thunder then unsubbed as soon as I was done with it.

    The problem is the theme of the expansion. It just doesn't appeal to the MMO/Fantasy nerd demographic. I used to work retail and every time I tried to suggestive sell a MoP pre-order, I was dismissed with a statement along the lines of, "not interested in Pandaren/pandas/kungfu pandas." It really does make that much of a difference, IMO. If WoW wants to attract customers, the next expansion needs to appeal to the general RPG fanbase. Demons, monsters, terrifying villains, etc.. Better yet, make it appeal to Warcraft fans and utilize characters fans are familiar with.
  1. ringpriest's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Vulcanasm View Post
    [*] MoP is two clumsily cobbled, disparate games: a pleasant, casual-friendly leveling game, and Raid or Die! The Sequel. The middle ground where they meet is a graveyard of short-sighted, bad decisions.
    I agree with most of your points (although I don't think the 8 years and graphics are quite as important as you rank them) but I don't think you went far enough with your logic above. MoP is more than two games. Besides The Leveling Game and Raid or Die II - Electric Boogaloo, it's also: World of Farmcraft, PokeWoW, Battle Arena Warcraft and the barely connected World of Battlegroundcraft, a collection of Explore Pandaland! minigames, the arcade-esque Super Scenario Craft, the mostly-forgotten/abandoned 5-mans, World of Dailycraft, and the dull retread World of Professioncraft (that gives you minor buffs in the other mini-games).

    WoW really is becoming a lobby game. Some of its parts are still pretty damn fun. But huge parts of the game are increasingly disconnected from each other, tons of things are accessed via menu, PvE and PvP more farther apart every patch. It's not a world you adventure in anymore. It's a collection of numbers, modes, and menus. Look at the difference between Ulduar hard modes (in-game changes activated by in-game actions) and MoP difficulty levels (pick a selection from a menu).
  1. Crookids's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Koeevu View Post
    Maybe for people living in their mom's basement, but I quit when I realized that I couldn't run LFR every week and stay a reasonable distance behind no lifers. Mostly due to the rep grind and rep requirements for gear. Between sports, work, real life and wanting to play at least a few other game I can't commit the minimum time required to see the content.
    And these are the morons that are flooding this thread disallowing informative, knowledgable posts to get buried. You quit because you realized you couldn't keep up with raiders without raiding? LFR is a way to see content without having to be in a raiding guild and be casual. IT IS NOT so you can "catch up" or be closely geared to people actually PLAYING THE FUCKING GAME. You mouth breathing moron.

    And stfu about people having no life because they are further than you. You're a disgrace and should start looking within instead of pointing a finger. I had a wonderful life, party every weekend, work hard and still have time to be 8/13 heroic.

    Get better or get lost bottom feeder.

    Infracted
  1. Binki's Avatar
    That's expected. Game is focused on single player experience these days with hand holding everywhere.

    It used to be social game, it used to be about having fun with 24+ other players (and pugging 10 man content on extra days).

    Now its all about numbers: ilevels, speed runs. New content in next patch will also be about speed runs. Latest content is done in small strike teams instead of large epic raids. Guilds are just means to get guild perks. "Group" content other than heroic raids requires no brain activity and is done via LFD/LFR with other players that could as well be replaced by NPCs, effectively turning game into a single player game. Leveling poses less challenge than it ever did before.
  1. palladiamors's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by warcraftmew View Post
    Blizzard is going to work on improving the experience for returning players.

    how about improving the experience for EXISTING players its why you lost subs in the first place
    No actually, the existing players are still playing so they haven't lost those subs. They need to focus on what they did WRONG and work on fixing it, both to bring back former players and make existing ones happy. If Pandaria is any indication after Cata they won't do that though, they'll change things in an even more radical direction then wonder why they are bleeding like a stuck pig.

    People bandying about "They still have 8.3 million players!" really need to stop acting like losing 1.3 million subs isn't a big deal. That is a MASSIVE number of people to stop playing a game in a four month time span, and outstrips all of Pandarias gains in a single quarter. That is terrible, and if that rate of loss continues for ANY length of time then the game'd be dead in under two years. It won't, mind you, you have a core of WoW players who'll play until the lights go out, but the losses from Cataclysm coupled with the losses and lack of overall gains from Pandaria are staggering. Yes, 8.3 still puts them comfortably on top of the pile, but that pile is currently sinking into a pool of lava.
  1. Zokten's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Crookids View Post
    Jesus, why don't you read some of the other posts. What you are saying makes absolutely no sense. The game is not dying and WoW dying has been "predicted" almost as much as the end of the real world these past years. And guess what, we are still here. Just because a game is not at it's peak sub base does not mean it is dying. And lets not forget how the game went from this sub amount and spiked back to 10m at MOP launch. Subs always drop towards the middle and the end of the XP.
    WoW is dying.

    Just at a slow pace.
  1. Taurrus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zokten View Post
    WoW is dying.

    Just at a slow pace.
    Aren't we all?
  1. Awe's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Metacrias View Post
    I rarely comment on articles here but I felt compelled to do so to this article, but the very first comment I saw (the one quoted!) said pretty much exactly what I was going to say. Basically, China is the source of most lost subscriptions and for a variety of reasons, primarily those mentioned by ADman but also things like the rapid development process, changing legal systems regarding internet usage, new policies on trade resulting partly from the very, very recent transition in power from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping (if you don't know the name, learn it - he's the second most powerful person on Earth and will be for the next 10 years...), etc. all have worked to make the Chinese market for most things, including WoW, highly volatile. Plus, the way they pay for the game also matters - they can lock up a subscription and start it back up much more easily than we can in the West.
    So you really think that if subs in US and/or EU were stable/increasing, Blizzard would not mention that in their report? All they mention is that "majority of loss comes from Asia". Majority might be as well 55%. There is as much sugercoating in all those reports as one can squeeze in. If they didnt, it means subs in US/EU are far from stable.
  1. Redgoon23's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Taurrus View Post
    What do you guys think it would work to increase that subscribing amount, lowering the monthly fee to $10?

    That wouldn't do it for me. I may come back and play if they allowed free server transfers. Most of my friends transferred off the server and I refuse to pay upwards of $100 to transfer my characters over. $25 per character transfer is ridiculous.
  1. Tomana's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zokten View Post
    WoW is dying.

    Just at a slow pace.
    Any product is dead in the long run
  1. Vulcanasm's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ringpriest View Post
    I agree with most of your points (although I don't think the 8 years and graphics are quite as important as you rank them) but I don't think you went far enough with your logic above. MoP is more than two games. Besides The Leveling Game and Raid or Die II - Electric Boogaloo, it's also: World of Farmcraft, PokeWoW, Battle Arena Warcraft and the barely connected World of Battlegroundcraft, a collection of Explore Pandaland! minigames, the arcade-esque Super Scenario Craft, the mostly-forgotten/abandoned 5-mans, World of Dailycraft, and the dull retread World of Professioncraft (that gives you minor buffs in the other mini-games).

    WoW really is becoming a lobby game. Some of its parts are still pretty damn fun. But huge parts of the game are increasingly disconnected from each other, tons of things are accessed via menu, PvE and PvP more farther apart every patch. It's not a world you adventure in anymore. It's a collection of numbers, modes, and menus. Look at the difference between Ulduar hard modes (in-game changes activated by in-game actions) and MoP difficulty levels (pick a selection from a menu).
    I agree with you on all counts, but I think you've pointed out something I missed, rather than something I mis-stated. The two statements, yours and mine, are independent ideas. Fundamentally, I think the distilled essence of your "cobbling and fracturing" argument boils down to one sentence: They clumsily tried to bring back social interaction by compartmentalizing everything. I think that's a brilliant observation.

    Now, I suspect it was done with good intentions. I'd guess someone finally pointed out that WoW's subscribers are (were? too soon?) overwhelmingly social gamers -- not divisible into "casual" vs. "hardcore", but people who play for social interaction, mainly. Compartamentalization was, I think, a well-intended-but-derp-filled means of forcing social interaction; the thought process being roughly "well, if we divide the player base up based on similar activities, they'll interact again!". To say the least, I think they're doin' it wrong.

    Incidentally, I'm just as much a social gamer as everyone else. I subscribe because my guild subscribes. We've been friends for years -- we've barbecued together, gone drinking together, got Light of Dawn and Herald of the Titans together back when those both mattered. If they left, I'd unsubscribe that day, because there's no other social interaction left.

    PS Believe me, I think they never should've abandoned "in game" hard mode triggers. I firmly believe that Ulduar's triggering system was the single cleverest thing the developers ever did -- and they've done some impressively clever things, over the past decade.

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