As I’ve recently been chastising the subscription model for its desire to make more money than it actually earns, I came to wondering how many people actually play subscription based games. It’s notoriously difficult to work out, when you think about it.
World of Warcraft currently sits at around 10 million subscriptions, while Star Wars: The Old Republic is sat at approximately 1.7 million. These numbers are typically meaningful to those constructing arguments around them (subjective use of the numbers, of course), but it doesn’t say how many people are actually playing the game.
Recently, Chaud’s been posting numerical analyses on the front page of the site and one number recently quoted was 5.8 million level 85 characters. Now that’s characters we’re talking about, not accounts – even more, it’s not ACTIVE characters, but merely toons that have dinged the level cap at some point during Cataclysm.
Of course, we also don’t know how accurate the number is or even where it’s drawn from. It’s almost meaningless, really.
But this is an online discussion forum! The home of subjective opinion passed as fact! I think we can make the number meaningful, so long as we forget logic for a bit.
I reckon World of Warcraft has no more than 3 million active players.
My belief is based on the 5.8 million toons at level 85, checked against those who play with multiple level-cap toons on their account (or multiple accounts), and also accounting for those who dinged their toons to 85 shortly after Cataclysm and have since quit. In fact, I think 3 million is optimistic. Obviously, I’m not taking Asia into account because I don’t know how that was factored into Chaud’s number.
Applying similar theories to Star Wars, I guess there are no more than a million active players right now but without the number of level 50 toons, that’s a pure guess. At least my Azerothian number is based on something.
So how about you? How many people do you think are actively playing WoW or SW:TOR?