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7.7 Million WoW Subs

A note in the announcement of Activision Blizzard's stock buyback from Vivendi offers the latest subscriber numbers for World of Warcraft. The last census for the game put the playerbase at 8.3 million, and word is they have lost about 600K of them since then: "Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft® remained the world’s #1 subscription-based MMORPG, ending the quarter with approximately 7.7 million subscribers."

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30. Re: 7.7 Million WoW Subs Jul 26, 2013, 16:07 NewMaxx
Prez wrote on Jul 26, 2013, 10:42:
That's ridiculously high for a game that old. Why anyone in the world would STILL be willing to pay 15 bucks a month to play this is simply beyond my comprehension.

I think the mindset is based around content creation vs. content consumption. The old adage is that you can never create content fast enough to satisfy your entire player-base. It's a matter of time and cost. A fair analogy would be TV shows. How many times have you found a new show and then proceeded to blow through it in its entirety after like one week? It's simply not possible to produce enough episodes to keep up with a focused viewer.

So after many years of game-building, you have this massive world that's doubled, tripled, perhaps quadrupled in size. That's a lot more content for the same general price. No doubt a new player or returning player subs for a month and blows through it quickly, not unlike the TV analogy. That's better value for the money than the person who paid the same for just the vanilla game many years ago. So, it becomes more like an expanding amusement park where ticket prices remain the same.

At the same time, people want different things from their game. Some want to stand out with their costumes, some want bling, some want to power through the game, etc., and you start getting these item shops and real money options. The subscription model feels less and less realistic. Yet there are many niche games that succeed with a subscription and the fact is you can survive with far fewer subscribers if they consume money in the game, as well.

These ideas actually come from mobility, where you have things like in-app purchases. Some of these games are free up-front, some aren't, but mobility is different than the PC platform, especially for old games. WoW has been around long enough that it's in a transition period between the two models and it's trying to maximize both. Will it last? Well, as I said, it's content, and if more and more of the content is nickel and dime customized stuff, the subscription will have to fade away.
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