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  1. #1

    At what point do subscriber losses hurt Blizzard or the game?

    Just a very generic question and something to think about:

    "At what point do the subscriber losses start hurting Blizzard or the game?"

    Losing 7 to 10% of your subscribers and direct revenue per quarter obviously can't be healthy for a company. It's not as if they can 'miss' the money, they'll keep on having costs and wages to pay. So do you believe that these quarterly losses cause harm to Blizzard forcing them to reorganize and shrink their company structure regularly, or are you of the opinion instead that their company structure is already downsized to the minimum and that the game development and company structure is the same as that of a company with only 500k or 1m subscribers?
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  2. #2
    The Insane Slowpoke is a Gamer's Avatar
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    I continue to say the cut where we'll see them depart from the sub model will be 2 million.
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    I'm expecting 7.0 revealed at Blizzcon. They want yearly expansions after all. If they don't reveal it, I'll be happy as it means Quality is still before Quantity in Irving.

  3. #3
    Scarab Lord Gimlix's Avatar
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    losing even 00,01% of the subscribers is hurting for blizzard and the game, because that shows they aren't growing anymore. (that quarter)
    But funny thing is, Blizzard seems very calm and relaxed about it. They aren't on panic mode.

    They are still doing the best to please the players, and of course that is hard with 7.7M people (currently)
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  4. #4
    Scarab Lord Grubjuice's Avatar
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    sub losses are more like aging than a wound.


    aging doesn't 'hurt' i mean it doesn't cause a sudden sharp pain, it just causes you to slow down, to ache in the knees and back, you don't recover as fast from sickness, you need to see the doctor more, and take more medication. Slowly inexorably WoW is pushing past middle age into old age. That does not mean its in pain.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Darsithis's Avatar
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    I could swear that their profit is still high despite the loss in subs. So at the moment...not at all.



  6. #6
    The Patient
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gimlix View Post
    losing even 00,01% of the subscribers is hurting for blizzard and the game, because that shows they aren't growing anymore. (that quarter)
    But funny thing is, Blizzard seems very calm and relaxed about it. They aren't on panic mode.

    They are still doing the best to please the players, and of course that is hard with 7.7M people (currently)
    Wrong. Seem to forget that blizzard has 3 games and other sources of vast profit. WoW could only have 200k Subscribers and they would still profit. Blizzards income is 1 net amount. Not X amount for each game. By the time you look at WoW Expansion's purchases, Game time cards and subs then look at Diablo purchases and RHAM tax they make then finally add StarCraft purchases to mix. You begin to realize Blizzard will never be in danger when it comes to cash.

    For people thinking " Dude its not all profit man they have bill too " I would say this ; In the end, Even tho they are passionate about the games they makes. It's still a business. They have to act like its a business. No profit? No point. If they didn't make a vast off of what they are doing you can be sure they wouldn't be doing it at all.
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  7. #7
    As soon as they stoop to selling in game items for cash.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Gimlix View Post
    But funny thing is, Blizzard seems very calm and relaxed about it. They aren't on panic mode.
    not publicly. I'm pretty sure that, under the sheet, there's someone extremely worried about this whole situation, since the subs started dropping and haven't seen a growth for quite a while
    WoW is an extremely costly game to run, but I can see it working without issues for a long while, unless there's an extremely high number of subscription drops before, or shortly after the new expansion, depending on what it is and what it means to the game
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  9. #9
    Elemental Lord Teriz's Avatar
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    People are forgetting that Blizzard still makes a boatload of WoW revenue from people purchasing mounts and other crap from their stores. Someone buying a Bat mount is like 1.5 months worth of subscription dollars.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Teriz View Post
    People are forgetting that Blizzard still makes a boatload of WoW revenue from people purchasing mounts and other crap from their stores.
    nothing even remotely close to subscriptions. the highest selling mount/pet from Blizz store so far is the celestial steed, which sold enough to generate about a million bucks, iirc. That's less than what 100k subs pay a MONTH, and considering blizzard lost 600k subs the last quarter, I'd say that every mount and pet sold so far on the blizzard store can't come even close to the monthly revenue those 600k subs gave
    Dear developers,

    please nerf Rock, it's too overpowered. Paper is fine, however.
    Signed, Scissors.

  11. #11
    Every lost sub hurts Blizzard. It when the losses pile up that it really hurts. By the looks of it, subs dropped from 12 mil in wotlk to 8 mil in mop, so 25% of subs have been lost from its peak. I don't think a loss of a quarter is going to hurt Blizzard. Sure it's less money but not enough to make them bleed.

  12. #12
    Probably hurts Activision more when it comes to who cares more about subs. I see them having blizzard push out more online store crap while still maintaining a subscription model. They wont go f2p if ppl are willing to pay a sub and still buy overpriced mounts off the store.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noggis View Post
    Every lost sub hurts Blizzard. It when the losses pile up that it really hurts. By the looks of it, subs dropped from 12 mil in wotlk to 8 mil in mop, so 25% of subs have been lost from its peak. I don't think a loss of a quarter is going to hurt Blizzard. Sure it's less money but not enough to make them bleed.
    thats around $720m loss a year since wotlk... damn that's gotta hurt.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeBogina View Post
    thats around $720m loss a year since wotlk... damn that's gotta hurt.
    Well. I mean, ofcourse it's gonna hurt to have a bit less money. But at some point that lack of money is going to -cut into- the company structure, because costs can't be covered anymore.

    The question really is at what number this limit lies. I'm imagining that the Blizzard company structure is setup in such a manner that it would be able to handle itself even with only 2m subscribers. Which basically means that every subscribed above that doesn't "add" anything to the game, but is more like excess profit that doesn't go back into development or to cover any costs.
    ♦ Scepticist ♦ Critic ♦ INTJ ♦ "It is easy to take insolence from those who are below you." ♦

  14. #14
    Depends on your definition of "hurt". Of course companies want as much money as the can. But since WoW isn't a product like Coca Cola, it's not reasonable to simply compare the current state to the one in the past and draw conclusions from that. The question is, would there have been a business strategy that would have led to more money? Did they do the best they can? Those are the questions you would actually have to ask, and they are pretty much impossible to answer with any certainty at all. In other words, your talk about "missing" money doesn't make any sense.

    If you desperately want to compare frame to frame: At the end of Vanilla/start of TBC, when they had a similar sub count as they have now, were they "hurting"? I don't think so.

    The threshhold where it won't be profitable to run WoW anymore (after their infrastructure has been downsized) is probably somewhere between 50k and 200k subscribers.

    The game itself (separate from the company) hurts as long as they are losing more subscribers than they gain. Because then the community is full of crybabies who don't even seem interested in actually playing (since Wrath).

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Anarchor View Post
    Just a very generic question and something to think about:

    "At what point do the subscriber losses start hurting Blizzard or the game?"

    Losing 7 to 10% of your subscribers and direct revenue per quarter obviously can't be healthy for a company. It's not as if they can 'miss' the money, they'll keep on having costs and wages to pay. So do you believe that these quarterly losses cause harm to Blizzard forcing them to reorganize and shrink their company structure regularly, or are you of the opinion instead that their company structure is already downsized to the minimum and that the game development and company structure is the same as that of a company with only 500k or 1m subscribers?
    Considering the fact that after hosting Blizzcon for a few years, giving away 1 million copies of D3 for free, planning to release Hearthstone F2P, they are sitting on nearly 4 billion dollars in revenue DESPITE all their development costs, I'd say they have to lose a lot more than 7-10% of their subs in order to really suffer.
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  16. #16
    Moderator MoanaLisa's Avatar
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    No one here has any idea at all on how to answer that question in a factual way and no one should even pretend to know.
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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Anarchor View Post
    Well. I mean, ofcourse it's gonna hurt to have a bit less money. But at some point that lack of money is going to -cut into- the company structure, because costs can't be covered anymore.

    The question really is at what number this limit lies. I'm imagining that the Blizzard company structure is setup in such a manner that it would be able to handle itself even with only 2m subscribers. Which basically means that every subscribed above that doesn't "add" anything to the game, but is more like excess profit that doesn't go back into development or to cover any costs.
    WoW itself doesnt need over a million subs, but they are currently using it to fund so much more(mostly pockets). Blizzard/activision has always believed they earn more than they deserve as evident of those mounts on the store all being 25$. They are even moving in the direction of f2p online store like rifts, but still charging a monthly fee... which is ridiculous. I dont see them waiting till 2million subs to change their model, cause it never was about making enough to them, it was always about making the most for the littlest of effort.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Eroginous View Post
    Considering the fact that after hosting Blizzcon for a few years, giving away 1 million copies of D3 for free, planning to release Hearthstone F2P, they are sitting on nearly 4 billion dollars in revenue DESPITE all their development costs, I'd say they have to lose a lot more than 7-10% of their subs in order to really suffer.
    They've lost more like 35% and are losing about 5+% of that total(12m) each quarter.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Gimlix View Post
    losing even 00,01% of the subscribers is hurting for blizzard and the game, because that shows they aren't growing anymore. (that quarter)
    But funny thing is, Blizzard seems very calm and relaxed about it. They aren't on panic mode.

    They are still doing the best to please the players, and of course that is hard with 7.7M people (currently)
    I've seen some of your other posts and I have to tell you. You worry too much. Look at SWTOR. It has around a million subs. It released it's expansion 3-4 months ago and they are already on 2.2. They are pumping content quite fast.
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Xilurm View Post
    I've seen some of your other posts and I have to tell you. You worry too much. Look at SWTOR. It has around a million subs. It released it's expansion 3-4 months ago and they are already on 2.2. They are pumping content quite fast.
    WoW has been around so long, there's no way it can consistently keep "growing" at the rate it had been or everyone and their grandma would be playing it.

    At this point you have to look at it like fashion -- it's cyclical. It may seem like it's fading, but there's a good chance it could make a comeback.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Xilurm View Post
    I've seen some of your other posts and I have to tell you. You worry too much. Look at SWTOR. It has around a million subs. It released it's expansion 3-4 months ago and they are already on 2.2. They are pumping content quite fast.
    I highly, highly, highly doubt that SWTOR (especially at this point) employs the same number of artists, developers, writers, designers or support roles (human resources, management, etc), nor do they have anywhere near the same amount of overhead or operating costs.

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