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. Designed's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by cattywhompas View Post
    YOU ARE INCORRECT GOOD SIR!!!!

    EQ never wanted to take over the world. WoW will never have the chance to turn the profit EQ did because when it's making 10x as much they'll shut it down. MMORPG today are big business and if they're not, it's not worth it. Accountants run the genre, that's why it's suffered so much in the past 10 years.

    PLEASE DO NOT POST LIES, IT GOES AGAINST MY BELIEFS!!!
    Accountants? Really? The book-keepers at Activision Blizzard are running the MMO genre? Really? You're clearly trying to say that the genre is run by money (which is retarded on it's own) but the fact that you refer to accountants and not the finance divisions/top-level executives just shows that you have no clue what you're talking about.

    The level of stupidity never ceases to amaze me of some people on this website.
  1. Ecwfrk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cybran View Post
    They have been focusing on casuals ever since they launched the super easy Wrath dungeons and the super easy Naxx. The game has been in decline since.
    They have been focusing on "casuals" since the game was first designed. WoW was designed as a more casual alternative to Everquest. And obviously, they knew their demographic because WoW eclipsed EQ the moment beta signups opened and still has more than 10x as many subs as EQ did at it's peak.

    EQ did finally go free to play, but pretty sure they've been chugging along for years at 1 million or less
    EQ didn't have anywhere near 1 million at it's peak. EQ peaked at 550k subs. When it went free to play, it was at around 100k.

    The only MMORPGs to break 1 million subs are Runescape (2008 peak: ~1.2M, 2012: ~800k), SWTOR (Peak: 1.75M, 2012: 1.4M), Lineage 1 (2003-04 peak: 3.3M, 2009 under 1M), Lineage 2 (Peak 2.1M, 2009 Under 1M), Aion (2009 peak: 4M, 2012: 2.5M) and WoW which has broke 12 million subs twice, once a few months into WotLK and again just after the release of Cata.

    FFXI and Dofus (and EVE, depending on how "sub" is defined) are the only other MMOs to hold at over 500k paid subs for more than a few months.

    Except WoW won't just fade away. It will stick around for a loooooong time.
    Yup. Back in EQ's heyday, Business magazine did an article on the business side of EQ. They found that beyond the point where the dev team and other fixed expenses were covered it had a gross-profit margin of 40% and was bringing in around $2.6 million in profit for Sony every month with (at the time of the article) 425k subs.
    Levels like that probably wouldn't keep WoW as the king of Activision's gaming portfolio, but it'd almost certainly keep the game running (even if accountants are running the genre as accountants love no risk, steady income generation).
    But they're still a long way from being down at those levels. Unless they decide to do something completely weird, WoW isn't going anywhere for a VERY long time.
  1. Crookids's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mikencarly View Post
    I said it once and im going to say it one more time they made a income increase this year regardless if china players are almost all gone a 100 million income net alot of companys would love to hear that stop looking at the subs and look at the big picture they didn't even pay full price for month fees they was on via cafe shops mostly and timed point is they didn't even make a diff at all 1.3 million gone and still gained a net income vs last year = they have won.This also means Mop was a big succes in the west which all that matters that were almost all there income comes from east didn't even matter on profits if you think mop failed think again why would a china person play a china based expansion pretty much and stay i would have left as well plus like blizzard said there alot of new asia mmos which alot of the china player base moved im sure most will be back when they dont have to log in china from china LMFAO! so funny trolls think they have won not even close sir.
    Punctuation is your friend.

    ---------- Post added 2013-05-10 at 02:54 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Designed View Post
    "If I would've asked people what they wanted, they'd say faster horses" - Henry Ford

    Blizzard has listened too much to what people want, and they've tried to appease everyone. As a result, the game has turned into a messy middle-ground of every user-type's play-style instead of one clear direction, unlike what it was when they were first building WoW. They need to follow their instinct and just keep building amazing stuff.
    You're asking WoW to become a niche product. Niche does not perform well on a massive scale. I think they are doing a great job at becoming a jack of all trades with content for everyone while (now) delving back to their roots of challenging and rewarding content.

    If everyone would just wake up and realize the game is ALWAYS growing and not all things you want wont necessarily work and there are things you thought you might not want, but actually enjoy if you give it a try--there wouldn't be so much hate and pecimism. The problem is everyone wants what they want NOW and then when they get it, complain it was too easy to get stripping the essence of reward and uniqueness. I used to think achievements were a waste of time but now I love them. I find too often people are complaining about things just to do so without having any bases to argue or experience to reference. Such as my earlier post proving there is an immense amount of community content that people simply don't acknowledge.

    Get out there, try new things, compete in difficult content, gauge your performance and compare yourself on the plethora of resources which enable you to test your limits.

    These argument remind me of the days of addon threads and dmg meter arguments. People just want to point a figure and complain instead of focusing on how to enjoy themselves and get better.
  1. Merp's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Crookids View Post
    1.) you are obviously not speechless.

    2.) stop putting words in my mouth to support your lackluster responses.

    3.) name these free games releasing "more" content than WoW more frequently.

    4.) if you actually researched the topic you were trying to discuss, you would understand content flow is not the reason for subscription loss.

    5.) Ill indulge though and further put the nail in the coffin of your post by saying -- Did you know that less than 1% of the population has finished simply the raid tier, even less are BiS geared and that is just the raiding content. So you complaint about the lack of content since last patch is moot.

    6.) The game needs to change to be successful? Sorry to break it to you, but the game IS successful. The most successful in the WORLD... Facts are facts. Also, MOP has been a God send and the best XP yet.

    7.) How are people like me ruining the game? Unless studying the industry, knowing facts and building constructive criticism instead of not knowing my ass from my elbow like you and complaining about things already addressed. Or maybe I should posts how the game needs to be like vanilla while saying it lost subs because I didn't get enough LFR loot......
    If you need to ask me which other online games are offering free, quality content at a faster rate than WoW you just really need to stick your head out of WoW and look around at the current online gaming market. It's pretty obvious.

    If you claim that the flow of content is not part of the WoW problem, you didn't read Blizzard's official document which is the object of this discussion. The irony is that you are posing like the informed and toughtful one. Ironic, really.

    If you don't understand how your attitude is damaging the game, I am afraid there's no alternative to you keep damaging the game.

    That said, I am certainly not going to add anything more, because the rest is basically just a sad list of insults you trow at me, and I am far too old and I care far too little about this stuff to put myself on that embarassing level. This is the reason why I instead wish you a nice day. May you enjoy your game that "will never die". Until it dies, obviously.
  1. Bogrim's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cybran View Post
    They have been focusing on casuals ever since they launched the super easy Wrath dungeons and the super easy Naxx. The game has been in decline since.
    "Casual" doesn't mean "easy". A casual player is a player with limited time span. If a hardcore raider became a father and had to limit his playing time to a few hours a week, would you think trivial content is the target goal to entertain this player?

    A design with casual players in mind has affected and benefited you far more than you realize, so don't cry witch because you look for an easy target to blame. The kind of changes a casual player design brought about was the reduced time it takes to run a dungeon (think about the amount of trash mobs you had to go through in Molten Core vs the amount of trash mobs in an instance like MSV), as well as reduced instance and raid sizes for easier to manage raid events (vanilla: 40 man vanilla raids -> tbc: 25 man raids + a few 10 man raids -> wrath: 25 + 10 man raids but 25 man still better -> cata: all raid sizes equal).

    Cata's initial raid releases was a great example of this design, instead of having one big-ass dungeon that took forever to get through, you had 3 lesser dungeons you could choose to progress through as you pleased---meaning you could actually clear one raid instance in a night, and then clear another on a different night without asking players to spend +4 hours raiding on a work night or having to remake the raid with different members every week. That's a casual design that doesn't revolve around making every boss a loot pinyata.

    It's interesting to notice that WoW reaches its subscription milestone in Wrath, and everything since then has been going downwards---meaning no changes since Wrath has made the WoW player base grow.
  1. kindomroll's Avatar
    jesus!
    i usually stop playing wow due to real life things
    such as exams and work
    i never fully quit tho
  1. Bogrim's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dukenukemx View Post
    Sorry, you're contradicting yourself. If you played for a limited time then the problem is reaching the valor cap [...]
    If you really want to have an intelligent argument try and keep the previous post you replied to in mind before adding another reply. I already stated that the problem with the valor cap works the other way around---it makes players feel as if they have to play a certain amount of time to keep up with the game like a job. The cap is the *only* reason you feel loss for not playing enough. A real RPG (like Skyrim) allows you to play the game whenever you want, make whatever progress you want and quit whenever you like. In trying to make the content last longer for hardcore players, Blizzard has made a design that creates walls for progression---but a wall is more than just a stop, it also marks a continuing linear line on your character progression.

    Blizzard made this design years ago knowing full well what consequence caps would have on their players, but catering towards high level players who spent lots of time playing the game. Now, statistics show most players who play the game has a max level character and therefore the caps affect most players---including the casual players. They've even introduced changes to help ease how much the cap strains player mentality, like introducing the valor increase on other characters when you have capped one character for the week---for a group of game designer to acknowledge this problem and work on such a code is a statement how how widespread they think the problem is.

    Just because you don't personally see the problem with a game that has so many caps built into its design (not just the valor cap bear in mind---I quit when the only thing I really enjoyed was farming older raid instances for transmogrification gear and it felt like I was paying to roll the slot machine once a week) doesn't mean it's not a major reason we're seeing a decline in subscriptions. The game has many problems, but players constantly hitting walls (whether it be gated content, reputation quests, valor caps, weekly lockouts, etc) has become one of the most common reasons players look to games that doesn't focus on *restricting* what they want to do.

    As for the rest of your post, it's still irrelevant and besides the point.
  1. AveQT's Avatar
    To make sure, most of sub cancels are from Asia, so blizzard just lose alot of gold farmers (there were about 400k gold farmer accounts about year ago). And there has came ALOT new good games, so people has move on.

    This ain't end of wow, it's still 8.3 MILLION Subs!

    Lemme shw you, if I have 12million euros, and I spend 3,7million, am I poor with only having 8.3million euros?
  1. mrromo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Gimlix View Post
    SWTOR had over 2M in first 2 months after that it went down 1 Mill subs lol

    and the q1 report that just came in said they have 1.7mil subs, and 3mil f2p accounts... "LOL"


    On another note... I'd return to WOW if 3 things happen:

    1) FIRE GHOSTCRAWLER... The guy is cancer.

    2) Content other than dailys

    3) Return of talent trees
  1. Revak's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mimee View Post
    Of course they are losing subs..

    1 hour long queues for LFR.
    1 hour wasted killing bosses and all you get is bag of gold. *rinse - repeat next week same results*
    Everything having a horrible drop rate... SPecially mounts.

    And to fix the subs.. Maybe create Vanilla/BC servers? That would bring people back.


    Gotta agree with some of this. They push LFR so hard now but 4 separate queues for Throne of Thunder means 4 hours of waiting just to raid (if you are lucky). 2/3 queues for me personally requires me to queue twice for the same place b/c I get put in on the 3rd boss, therefore requiring me to requeue to do bosses 1&2.

    I do okay on loot. Some weeks I get some and some I do not. This entire expansion though has seen my struggling to get the 4th piece of a tier set on any toon.

    I have yet to see a mount drop on any new boss in MoP.


    While I would love vanilla/TBC servers as that was my favorite time playing the game, it's not going to happen. Might be fun though.
  1. Orkwuzhere's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mrromo View Post
    3) Return of talent trees
    What is it with you people and talent trees!? Did you like wasting points on useless talents you never used out of pve or pvp just to reach that one necessary skill (the Hunter trees were loaded with piss awful talents)!? Both systems have cookie-cutter builds, but if you're telling me the old system was great, I guess you forgot the days of, "U BETAR HHEV 0/5/33 OR GTFO MY GAEM U FACKEN FAGIT NUB." I don't miss those days, and I like having more options for my class that aren't useless.

    You know most of those old talent trees were useless even for pve and pvp in older xpacs, right? Do I have to remind anyone how awful MM Huntards, Sublety Rogues, Retardins, Non-Afflic Locks, certain Mage builds, and Laser Chickens were WITH the old system depending on the expansion (some of the branches still have problems)? Yes, the new talent system kinda sucks (there are a lot of useless choices), but you're stupid to think the old system was perfect.
  1. Bogrim's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Avelein View Post
    To make sure, most of sub cancels are from Asia, so blizzard just lose alot of gold farmers (there were about 400k gold farmer accounts about year ago). And there has came ALOT new good games, so people has move on.
    To be honest we don't even know how the subscription numbers are based (how much of a % does Asia account for all WoW subscriptions?) and how large a % of "most subs from Asia" is it from the total? I often think it's just thrown in to soothe the statistic, and it's usually a sign WoW is falling in terms of popularity in some continents.

    Quote Originally Posted by Avelein View Post
    This ain't end of wow, it's still 8.3 MILLION Subs!
    A million subs lost is still a lot of customer support laid off, a ton of income lost and an alarming statistic in the business world. For instance, what else does it say? It says that it's becoming a fact that WoW has reached its peak in subscriptions, that the subscriptions tend to drop faster after every expansion and that Blizzard is gradually beginning to put weight on their newer games.

    I don't think the end of WoW will ever come---at least not in another 10-20 years. There might come a point where the game goes F2P (at least to some degree) instead of releasing expansions on a yearly basis.
  1. Tomana's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mrromo View Post
    and the q1 report that just came in said they have 1.7mil subs, and 3mil f2p accounts... "LOL"
    Source please?

    ---------- Post added 2013-05-10 at 11:50 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Orkwuzhere View Post
    What is it with you people and talent trees!? Did you like wasting points on useless talents you never used out of pve or pvp just to reach that one necessary skill (the Hunter trees were loaded with piss awful talents)!? Both systems have cookie-cutter builds, but if you're telling me the old system was great, I guess you forgot the days of, "U BETAR HHEV 0/5/33 OR GTFO MY GAEM U FACKEN FAGIT NUB." I don't miss those days, and I like having more options for my class that aren't useless.
    Old system was totally cookie-cutter indeed. Except some points, you could figure out without actually playing the game. Garbage.
  1. Dukenukemx's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bogrim View Post
    In trying to make the content last longer for hardcore players, Blizzard has made a design that creates walls for progression---but a wall is more than just a stop, it also marks a continuing linear line on your character progression.
    Again, valor isn't for hardcore players. You buy 1-3 pieces of gear, and forget about it. In 5.3 they'll allow you to upgrade gear again, to make valor valuable for hardcore players. Casuals if smart, will not waste valor on upgrading gear, but buying new gear.

    Just because you don't personally see the problem with a game that has so many caps built into its design (not just the valor cap bear in mind---I quit when the only thing I really enjoyed was farming older raid instances for transmogrification gear and it felt like I was paying to roll the slot machine once a week) doesn't mean it's not a major reason we're seeing a decline in subscriptions. The game has many problems, but players constantly hitting walls (whether it be gated content, reputation quests, valor caps, weekly lockouts, etc) has become one of the most common reasons players look to games that doesn't focus on *restricting* what they want to do.
    When Justice Points were introduced in TBC, no progressing guild liked the idea of casuals farming justice points to gear up, that was relatively equal to raiding gear. Some pieces were best in slot, but otherwise overall bad reaction from raiders.

    Do I agree with the cap? No, because it's to force you to pay subscription. Understand though no raider, or hardcore player, cares about valor. Blizzard noticed, and introduced the upgrade vendor. Upgrade your gear by a measly 8 ilevels. For progression guilds, this is a must. It gets players back into dungeons and scenarios, which btw once you got the gear you need, you'll never want to step foot in there again.

    It is a casual issue, and a minor one at that. I'm surprised nobody is angry about Justice Points, seeing as they're useless. Should just be removed from the game.
  1. Zdrasti's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Hubbl3 View Post
    Yeah, the last content patch for football (soccer) was really great. New maps, new mechanics.

    Maybe you could figure out on your own why your example fails, hard.
    You might have missed the main point. Sports endure without content patches because they are fun. You don't need new content to keep people playing. Starcraft 1 and Diablo 2 didn't have updates for like a decade and were great because they were fun. Now that it's been spelled out for you, maybe you can figure out the point that is being made.

    ---------- Post added 2013-05-10 at 05:30 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Avelein View Post
    To make sure, most of sub cancels are from Asia, so blizzard just lose alot of gold farmers (there were about 400k gold farmer accounts about year ago). And there has came ALOT new good games, so people has move on.

    This ain't end of wow, it's still 8.3 MILLION Subs!

    Lemme shw you, if I have 12million euros, and I spend 3,7million, am I poor with only having 8.3million euros?
    If you've burned through roughly a third of your wealth in 1-2 years, you're definitely headed that way. I think McHammer would have outperformed you =-p
  1. nobodysbaby's Avatar
    I think the neglect regarding some classes and speccs has a lot to do with some quitting the game. Players simply get tired of waiting for attention and fixes that should've been done perhaps years ago. Figured out my specc yet? Hpriest. We've been the same since WotLK pretty much with useless spells, no good utility and not even good output, poor scaling and very low % of healing roles and very much overshadowed by Disc and other healingclasses. I have patients. Lots of it, cause I did stick to the specc, never been interested in Disc, Shadow or changing main. But I feel it's really getting to me after all these years, we pay and play and we are a lot of dedicated, very skilled main Hpriests who pointed out what is wrong and what could be done, but no attention. "Holy Priests are fine", yet most of us were forced to play Disc more than our MS the last years.

    They were talking about removing PoH as a groupbased spells years ago. Lightwell was a pain for years before the redesign. Chakra have made most Holy miserable since it's release in WotLK. I could go on and on.

    I agree Blizzard should reconsider their employed lead designers. I don't buy the "We need more designers/devs/programmers, but don't want to hire just anybody". GC's lack of understanding the classes, yet pretending he knows everything is getting very old by now.

    I think to get players back they need to rly get on their toes balancing each specc/class and make small adjustments much more often. I would also love to see something completly new besides the usual dungeon, raids and quests. Scenarios just fell flat. I think hc scenarios will aswell. Challange mode is nothing exciting. Pet battles... meh. Dailys........puke! VP req reputation, again... more puke.

    We need big and epic. A real adventure. Perhaps longlasting world events involving all players (remember the zombie invasion etc?). Perhaps real guildwars. Guilds gets their own area in the world but can be attacked by other guilds? Now that would make even me interested in PvP..lol.

    Some raids, new quests and dungeons isn't enough to feed the WoW players anymore.
  1. Crookids's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Merp View Post
    If you need to ask me which other online games are offering free, quality content at a faster rate than WoW you just really need to stick your head out of WoW and look around at the current online gaming market. It's pretty obvious.

    If you claim that the flow of content is not part of the WoW problem, you didn't read Blizzard's official document which is the object of this discussion. The irony is that you are posing like the informed and toughtful one. Ironic, really.

    If you don't understand how your attitude is damaging the game, I am afraid there's no alternative to you keep damaging the game.

    That said, I am certainly not going to add anything more, because the rest is basically just a sad list of insults you trow at me, and I am far too old and I care far too little about this stuff to put myself on that embarassing level. This is the reason why I instead wish you a nice day. May you enjoy your game that "will never die". Until it dies, obviously.
    Was expecting someone (you) having a debate would use sources when making claims and stating facts wrong? not sure what's worse, the fact I assumed you would be able to hold an educated discussion or that you could even support your baseless claims.

    No, content flow is not causing loss of subs, more and cheaper forms of competition are. Also, wrong usage of the word irony. There is nothing ironic about you claiming your own opinions as facts and assuming your post is the informative one. Let alone the fact you obviously didn't even read their official response which is a reword of the aforementioned.

    Again, studying the industry and the game followed by intellectual and realistic feedback to developers is damaging the game? Perhaps I should take your "noble" approach of regurgitating madeup statistics and contingencies while taking information out of context to support negative claims and opinions.

    Stop getting offended. Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean you have to get all emotional. If you can't handle a little debating don't post disagreeing. Keep it to yourself. But, honestly I don't think you mean what you say as I do think you are somewhat curious and while I might not know everything, and while you should not get offended at this--if you continue to study the trends and information here I am sure you can learn a lot about what is to come. The game has been cast as dying for YEARS... By sheer chance alone my claim is more probable than yours given the game's history. Do you have any idea how DIFFICULT it would be to have this game completely DIE. Lets say they lost all their subs tomorrow, don't you think they would make it go F2P or develope some other new transaction method to encourage people to play? You are talking about money mogools, multi billion dollar investors and marketing GENIUSES.... seriously think about what you are saying...
  1. IPWNFGZRS's Avatar
    Ding Dong the witch is dead :P
  1. ro9ue's Avatar
    dailies ruined the game for many. worst casual player expansion ever, thats what happens...

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