View Poll Results: How many subs for WoW to remain viable?

Voters
242. You may not vote on this poll
  • 0 - 500k

    36 14.88%
  • 500k - 1M

    57 23.55%
  • 1M - 1.5M

    51 21.07%
  • 1.5M - 2M

    33 13.64%
  • 2M - 2.5M

    12 4.96%
  • 2.5M - 3M

    9 3.72%
  • 3M - 3.5M

    9 3.72%
  • 3.5M - 4M

    5 2.07%
  • 4M - 4.5M

    4 1.65%
  • 4.5M - 5M

    5 2.07%
  • 5M - 7.5M

    12 4.96%
  • 7.5M+

    9 3.72%
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  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Anarch the Conqueror View Post
    Pretty certain that currently, everytime they lose a few hundred thousand subscribers they already feel things getting tight.
    Hahahahaha. Oh wait, you were being serious?

    They have 7m subscribers. Some of those are paying $15 a month, some are eastern subs. Let us assume that the average amount a WoW "subscriber" pays is $10 a month. With 7m of them, they are getting $70m a month in income. So every two months they are getting roughly the same amount of money that it cost to create the entire SWtoR MMO (which I believe was quoted at $150m).

    That isn't taking into account the ludicrously overpriced in-game services (server transfers etc) which are basically 99.9% pure profit. Or the fact that they sell overpriced extras in the in-game shop. Or the fact that they charge for expansions.

    The simple fact is, there are a ton of MMOs out there that can function perfectly well on 500k playerbases. So why exactly would WoW be unable to do that? Is it the sheer volume of content they pump out? Hmm, I can't quite see that. Did MoP really provide THAT much over the 2 year life cycle? It could be that they have a bloated support structure of course, but even that is unlikely considering that they made a large number of people redundant a while back.

    Nope, the truth is they could function on 500k if they had to, but instead of making enough money to hire gold plated prostitutes for their xmas party, they would have to go back to the regular kind. They wouldn't be able to buy a caribbean island every month from the money they make, or swallow the cost of creating (then apparently junking) Titan.

    You know any other software company that could work on a massive project like that for so many years, then flush the work they have done and it not even cause a blip on their share price? Do you believe that could happen if WoW was just managing to survive on the subscribers they have?

    They could have 500k subs, provide the same level of content and still make a profit. But they don't want to reach that stage, because then they would have to start behaving like a normal company, instead of being the MMO version of Microsoft. Don't believe me? With 500k subscribers, every 2 years they would be getting $140m in income from subscriptions and $40 expansion. Even ignoring their other methods of gathering funds, that is enough to support an MMO and push out decent levels of content.

    Which must be true, otherwise why are there so many MMOs happily trundling along with that many players?
    When challenging a Kzin, a simple scream of rage is sufficient. You scream and you leap.

    The volume of new game features and content in MoP is a direct consequence of people cancelling subscriptions during Cataclysm. You're welcome.

  2. #62
    This is not easy to answer..... the infrastructure changes with the number of players.
    Now we have quite a lot "dead" servers.... these servers have the same maintenance costs as a full server, just less people paying for it.
    This server will need the same infrastructure as a full server, just less people paying for it.

    Getting to an answer for how many subs are required to be viable, triggers a lot of other questions about viability.

    What we do know is that there are a lot of people who will be paid by Blizzard:
    - developers. Here there is a bare minimum of developers needed. Nobody can expect Blizzard to release a new xpac every 10 years, cause the number of subs cannot provide more than 5 developers. The costs for the content-developers (quests, dungeons, raids, encounters, art etc) have to be paid out of the subfee.
    - CS. Well once you have paying customers you need some kind of service. The amount here is related to the number of subs.
    - CM. This also needs paid people.
    - Infrastructure. This doesn't include the servers themselves but everything else. There will be networkcomponents, security etc. This will be dependant on the number of servers/players present.
    - game servers. Each server does have a price which will include software, security, hardware, maintenance etc.

    And we can add more things to this list if we take some time to think about it.
    What this means is that the costs and with this viability is directly related to a number of subs.

    If you want to know if 500K subs will be viable, then we need to know how many servers we're talking about and what the release-cycle for new content will be (to determine the number of developers). What will be the quality of cs and will there be a forum or not with blues posting on them.

    Blizzard has enough servers and an infra now to support 12.000.000 players, that much we can think of.
    There are 7.6 million subs..... and this number is still decreasing. When a breakeven point will be met, is something we can't say really.

    Even comparing with other mmo's is impossible as the infra and number of servers are different and will result in different hights of costs.
    I don't think WE, as players, can really say how many subs Blizzard needs to keep wow viable.

  3. #63
    Banned True Anarch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huehuecoyotl View Post
    Hahahahaha. Oh wait, you were being serious?

    They have 7m subscribers. Some of those are paying $15 a month, some are eastern subs. Let us assume that the average amount a WoW "subscriber" pays is $10 a month. With 7m of them, they are getting $70m a month in income. So every two months they are getting roughly the same amount of money that it cost to create the entire SWtoR MMO (which I believe was quoted at $150m).

    That isn't taking into account the ludicrously overpriced in-game services (server transfers etc) which are basically 99.9% pure profit. Or the fact that they sell overpriced extras in the in-game shop. Or the fact that they charge for expansions.
    Too much conjecture.

    We know from the quarterly reports that they earn about $200 million every 3 months, including all the micro-transactions and server transfer fees, box and digital sales and the fee they get from NetEase Asia.

    At the same time we also know from the ATVI quarterly repots that some of their boardmembers get paid up several millions a month, not counting the bonuses. Then add all the expenses and I think you'll start to understand why Blizzard has been cranking up the micro-transactions and felt the need to come out with Hearthstone.

    When a company starts growing big, it starts getting lots of people on it's payroll and lots of expenses. They need to keep earning their huge profits monthly or the company will collapse.

    Economists will be able to confirm to you that there is such a thing as growing too big. Once a company becomes big, it's very hard to shrink again...

    So yes. It does hurt them everytime they lose subscribers.

  4. #64
    The Insane det's Avatar
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    SW seemed comfortable with 1.7 mill subs, under 500k they went F2P. Blizzard originally hoped for 800 000 subs in Classic.

    Soooo....I guess between 500 000 and 1 million. Then again...Blizzard has grown to 4000 employees. If WoW ever dropped under 1 million they either need to have another profitable franchise up (like Titan) or lay of people massively.
    Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
    One cause is a cognitive bias called projection bias. Essentially living inside your own head your entire life makes it exceedingly difficult to understand how others do not also live your same life, think your same thoughts, and hold your same beliefs. In many cases it's quite frustrating to try to empathize and understand why you yourself may not be the center of the universe, which generally results in one 'acting out' in various ways.
    So, in short: the internet.

  5. #65
    They developed WoW with an expectation of 400,000 subs total in a best case scenario, it went just a little better than planned.

    Now, that would not support the current infrastructure, however, with sub closes, they downsize on infrastructure, so the cost goes down as revenue goes down.

    I'd say 300k to 1 Mill is needed to keep content updated at a decent speed, but that would bring a hell of a lot of server closes, staff lay offs and much longer and less customer support etc.

    Tbh, they could make it work with 100,000k with a skeleton staff and basically no updates, but that wouldn't sustain players interests for long.

  6. #66
    This game won't ever dip below ~3mil subscribers, not while it's the cash money generating machine that it is. If upkeep starts taking a toll there's plenty of fat that can be trimmed off and plenty of gimmicks Blizzard can do to keep player baser steady; merge servers, get the barren Ally heavy server merged with the Horde ghost town servers. Legacy servers that feature only up to a certain expansion, or Progression Servers that unlock expansions as players beat raids, etc. Not to mention the vanity pets/mounts/outfits that take less than a week to produce but garner millions of dollars in buys.

    Game isn't going anywhere and will stay valid until the next monolithic MMO comes out. EQNext (super EQ fan here) will forge the baby steps that the next blockbuster will be based off of, meaning the next WoW won't be around for at least another 3-5 years, if that.

  7. #67
    They could do with 1k subs if they wanted to, the only question is how much would the content suffer and which way would the game go. As long as the game loses a couple of 100k subs over a couple of quarters I don't think they really care. But if the game suddenly went from 7million to like 500k then they would start to shut the whole thing down.

    Expansions still bring in a lot of people, old and new so it's just a question of Blizzard's bussiness model which none of us have acces to sadly.

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