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Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs

Activision Blizzard announces second quarter 2014 financial results calling them "better-than-expected" as they raise their financial outlook for the full year. Here are some numbers for your crunching pleasure: "For the quarter ended June 30, 2014, Activision Blizzard’s GAAP net revenues were $970 million, as compared with $1.05 billion for the second quarter of 2013. On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s net revenues were $658 million, as compared with $608 million for the second quarter of 2013. For the second quarter of 2014, GAAP net revenues from digital channels represented 49% of the company’s total revenues. On a non-GAAP basis, net revenues from digital channels represented a record 73% of the company’s total revenues. For the quarters ended June 30, 2014 and 2013, Activision Blizzard’s GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.28. On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s earnings per diluted share were $0.06 for the second quarter of 2014, as compared with $0.08 for the second quarter of 2013." Their accompanying list of highlights says that Diablo III is still the bestselling PC game for some unspecified period, and that subscribership for World of Warcraft is down to 6.8 million (putting its population somewhere between Togo's and Paraguay's). Here's word:

  • As of June 30, 2014, Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III: Reaper of Souls remained the #1 PC game in dollars in both North America and Europe and, including its expansion and digital sales, Diablo III has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide across all platforms since its release in 2012.
  • As of June 30, 2014, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG, with approximately 6.8 million subscribers. There was a decline in subscribers quarter over quarter, which was disproportionately concentrated in the East and was similar to the seasonal decline experienced during the second quarter of 2012, prior to the launch of the most recent expansion later that year.

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44. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 7, 2014, 14:01 Prez
 
Kajetan wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 10:38:
Prez wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 08:10:
The interesting thing to me is that there are STILL that many people playing this game. Isn't it old hat by now?
People still play Chess. A very, VERY old game.

Yeah but Chess is actually a good game!
 
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43. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 7, 2014, 09:11 Slashman
 
WoW has a decent number of players in Asian countries which don't/can't use regular subscription plans AFAIK.  
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42. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 7, 2014, 01:59 Muscular Beaver
 
Ryan Lange wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 17:06:
Muscular Beaver wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 01:46:
You dont hear any news about it, no hype about the new expansion, no nothing. That never was the case before. The only conclusion for me is those numbers are still massively sugarcoated.

Ehh... I think it's more likely that Blizzard accepts that WoW's popularity is diminishing. They'll maintain it, release new expansions, etc., but they're probably not going to try to ram it down everyone's optical nerves anymore. Hell, if you don't even know WoW exists at this point, you probably don't enjoy any type of video game.

They'll let WoW settle at a lower population without too much (or any) resistance and perhaps push their upcoming MMO in order to increase their cash flow.
And you say THAT with a straight face?
6.8 million players is huge. Remember the coverage and hype when WoW had those numbers for the first time and for a long time? It was everywhere. Now you even see more news and hype about MMOs that only have 200k players. So either those 6.8 millions dont live on planet earth or those numbers simply are not true.
 
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41. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 17:19 Ryan Lange
 
UHD wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 10:50:
Retaining 6.8 million subscribers at 10 years of age is phenomenal.

Or, apparently, the mark of a really shitty game.

Pff! Yeah, I don't know how people make comments like that with a straight face. They seem to prefer thinking of the current players as idiots or the like, but refuse to accept that perhaps the game just appeals to a large demographic that they don't belong to. I guess that's just not good for their egos, though...
 
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40. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 17:06 Ryan Lange
 
Muscular Beaver wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 01:46:
You dont hear any news about it, no hype about the new expansion, no nothing. That never was the case before. The only conclusion for me is those numbers are still massively sugarcoated.

Ehh... I think it's more likely that Blizzard accepts that WoW's popularity is diminishing. They'll maintain it, release new expansions, etc., but they're probably not going to try to ram it down everyone's optical nerves anymore. Hell, if you don't even know WoW exists at this point, you probably don't enjoy any type of video game.

They'll let WoW settle at a lower population without too much (or any) resistance and perhaps push their upcoming MMO in order to increase their cash flow.
 
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39. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 16:54 Ryan Lange
 
Endo wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 09:26:
...along with the way they changed the gameworld itself completely killed any chance anyone would ever come back due to nostalgia.

That was a huge draw for me and pulled me back for a while. I absolutely loved the idea that the world itself wasn't necessarily immutable, static, stale. I wanted to see for myself how the cataclysm altered the landscape.
 
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38. Re: WOW's appeal Aug 6, 2014, 14:31 NKD
 
InBlack wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 10:46:

Well said. Im one of the damn masochists. Id love to see a proper Hardcore MMO, in the line of Ultima Online, only with updated graphics...*sigh* its never goona happen though. Might as well wish for the end of Capitalism....

Isn't that Darkfall game or whatever kind of like that? I'm not a huge PvPer these days so I havent looked into it too much.
 
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37. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 13:41 Slashman
 
Jamil20 wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 10:52:
Slashman wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 09:26:
...and I still would have preferred a Warcraft 3.

You mean Warcraft 4.

I didn't play much Warcraft 3 single player. Didn't even finish the frozen throne expansion. The story became way too Disney. The custom maps on the other hand were amazing. This is where DotA got started, and where tower defense became big.

Ooops! typo on my part.

And yeah I wasn't a huge fan of the story but I had a lot of fun playing it at LAN parties with my friends and also the custom maps and games mods people made were really worthwhile.
 
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36. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 10:52 Jamil20
 
Slashman wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 09:26:
...and I still would have preferred a Warcraft 3.

You mean Warcraft 4.

I didn't play much Warcraft 3 single player. Didn't even finish the frozen throne expansion. The story became way too Disney. The custom maps on the other hand were amazing. This is where DotA got started, and where tower defense became big.
 
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35. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 10:50 UHD
 
Kajetan wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 10:38:
Prez wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 08:10:
The interesting thing to me is that there are STILL that many people playing this game. Isn't it old hat by now?
People still play Chess. A very, VERY old game.

A more pertinent example: at 12 years of age, Final Fantasy XI has roughly a quarter million players. Everquest is 15 years old and still receives regular content updates for its ~100,000 players.

Retaining 6.8 million subscribers at 10 years of age is phenomenal.
 
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34. Re: WOW's appeal Aug 6, 2014, 10:46 InBlack
 
atomicfro wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 03:58:
I'm going to try to explain WoWs appeal in the context of gaming at the time.

I started playing MMO's with Everquest around the release of Velious. For those gamers of the master race, that was what PC gaming was all about. Waiting 30 minutes to catch a 30 minute boat ride across an ocean was awe inspiring. Blowing yourself up at the forge trying to make a worthless item was orgasmic. Running around Antonica for better part of half an hour having to use different disguises and spells to run the Stein of Moggok quest was gleeful. This wasn't a game, it was a fantasy simulation. And you got to play with other people who enjoyed this crazy stuff just like you.

Of course one bad decision, a spell ending early, getting in a group with with an average IQ below 70, or just using the forge could very quickly make hours, days, weeks of grinding go down the tubes.
What attracted the master race to this game, also created burn out. But the social aspect of the game was what made it addictive. You suffered through the horror and reveled in the achievements with friends and enemies, making new ones along the way. But only those in the niche of the most masochistic pc gamers.

Steady continuous income from a game was appealing, and a lot of companies thought they could improve on EQs formula to either get a different niche (pvp) or create a better ui to attract a larger chunk of players. I was able to get my girlfriend at the time to play DAOC with me on occasion and enjoy it, and she wasn't a pc gamer in any sense of the word.

Blizzard got the formula right. Some how the mix of cartoony 3d graphics, large open world, instanced dungeons, arena pvp, just enough danger and difficulty to make people feel like they've achieved something, animated emotes, and not to forget the floating (!) all resonated with a huge audience. Not only did gamers want to play, but people who weren't even gamers by any stretch of the word were also subbing in droves.

My girlfriend had seen quite a few of my LAN parties, after this game released she started organizing her own. She used trial accounts to let her friends come over and play the game. I had 3 pcs that could run the game, some brought their own. Here was a bunch of young women who thought video games and Nintendo were synonyms, and who didn't know the difference between a USB or Ethernet jack having LAN parties to play a MMO. And they were subbing and continuing to play on their own!

But, for the masochists, it was watered down tripe. For the not so extreme masochist, it was fun until they got bored or until they personally felt Blizzard jumped the shark. For all the others it was a way to socialize until a change of life event took them out or enough of their friends left that it wasn't fun anymore. I have no idea who the people who play the game now are. My guess mostly new blood who having gotten bored yet.

Well said. Im one of the damn masochists. Id love to see a proper Hardcore MMO, in the line of Ultima Online, only with updated graphics...*sigh* its never goona happen though. Might as well wish for the end of Capitalism....
 
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33. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 10:38 Kajetan
 
Prez wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 08:10:
The interesting thing to me is that there are STILL that many people playing this game. Isn't it old hat by now?
People still play Chess. A very, VERY old game.
 
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32. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 10:32 HorrorScope
 
6.6 million forgot to unsubscribe?  
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31. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 09:26 Endo
 
Muscular Beaver wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 03:49:
PropheT wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 02:49:
Endo wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 01:50:
It'll go up, but not all that much. WoW is on its long slow way out.

The real problem keeping old-school players (like myself) from ever coming back is that they've just changed it too much. All the old WoW we'd want to experience again is long since gone. They'd probably get more re-subscribers if they just re-released vanilla or TBC WoW than with a new expansion.

It's not the game that most old players are missing, it's the people and guilds and everything that made the game what they thought it was back then. The game itself is better now than it was during vanilla or BC... people pining for the old days need to realize that their nostalgia for that period wasn't the game itself but the experiences they had during it, and those aren't just going to re-materialize if that game came back.

Speak for yourself. I and all of the people I know who stopped playing dont like the new mechanics since Cata, how classes got changed, lost many abilities that were there for a long time and dont want something like that happen again. Quests have become boring, because they are all in one place, etc.
When looking at the game after Cataclysm, it felt like a completely new development team got assigned to it (and that basically was indeed the case). That wasnt WoW anymore, it felt like a clone all of the sudden.

The game has been dumbed down a lot, so I dont know how you can say its better now than ever before.

Did you ever take a look at the private servers that try to recreate WoW only up to WotLK and how many players they have?

Precisely. Those things along with the way they changed the gameworld itself completely killed any chance anyone would ever come back due to nostalgia.

I myself played through vanilla, TBC, Wrath, and started Cata. For me, vanilla was good, TBC was the high point, and it was just downhill from there. Wrath was just too much catering to casual players, while Cata was just one giant ball of fuck-up. And since Cata completely wiped away the old WoW I originally came to love, I never had any reason to go back. The WoW I miss no longer exists.

I think the real beginning of the end for me was when they put in LFG queues for dungeons, effectively killing off whatever community the game still had. Virtually overnight, world zones emptied out as players started just sitting in town waiting on queues, and instead of running dungeons with players on your server that you might know by reputation, you started running them with random players you'd never seen or heard of before and never would again.
 
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30. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 09:26 Slashman
 
NKD wrote on Aug 5, 2014, 22:23:
Slashman wrote on Aug 5, 2014, 21:17:
Well I'm sure you can outline a bunch of things that it has which no other MMO has or point out what, exactly, makes it so wonderful. Because none of the people I know who play it could do that apart from : 'It's what everyone else is playing.'

And we all know there are no games in the history of gaming that are fluff or mediocre that have sold well.

I don't really know of many mediocre games have maintained a massive base of paying subscribers for 10 years. Yes, a publisher can easily bamboozle some people with a hype train and get a mediocre game to sell a few million copies. But 3 months later no one is playing, let alone 10 years later.

Obviously Blizzard is doing something right, whether you enjoy the game or not. Your assertion that it is all apparently smoke and mirrors and everyone is just fooling themselves just doesn't hold up to the facts. Some people, apparently a fair number, enjoy this type of game.

I am puzzled as to why people enjoy MOBAs, and I won't be caught dead playing one, but I'm not going to demean them for their taste in games just because I don't understand it.

Other people said it better than I could here already. The social aspects of the game are what kept people. Not that the game was amazing. Not that it required decent skill, not that it did anything innovative. It's Blizzard's weakest game in my mind and I still would have preferred a Warcraft 4.

Blizzard polishes everything to a fault. The way they go about that makes the game seem a lot more interesting than it is.

You jumped on the word 'mediocre' but ignored the word 'fluff'. And that is pretty much what I consider WoW to be. Exceptionally polished and shiny fluff. And as such, it is able to attract young and old alike. And I am willing to bet a significant amount that if any other game company at the time had made WoW, that it would not have had near the level of success it has had.

This isn't dislike of a genre. I played my share of MMOs. Though not so much now. This is dislike of Blizzard's weakest game and wasted opportunity to really do something interesting in the MMO space because they had the support and popularity at the time to make a huge difference.

This comment was edited on Aug 6, 2014, 13:39.
 
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29. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 09:21 wtf_man
 
I never cared for it. Was bored to death by level 10... trudged through level 40 something hoping it would get better, quit and never looked back.

That said... I'm still having a blast in ESO. I guess I'm a "niche" MMO player instead of a "for the masses" one.
 
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28. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 08:56 Verno
 
PropheT wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 02:49:
It's not the game that most old players are missing, it's the people and guilds and everything that made the game what they thought it was back then. The game itself is better now than it was during vanilla or BC... people pining for the old days need to realize that their nostalgia for that period wasn't the game itself but the experiences they had during it, and those aren't just going to re-materialize if that game came back.

That and I think many people simply do not have the time to play WoW that they used to. With a family, a new set of hobbies and other games to play I just don't have time for WoW, at least not enough to get the same satisfaction out of it that I used to.
 
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27. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 08:28 NKD
 
Prez wrote on Aug 6, 2014, 08:10:
The interesting thing to me is that there are STILL that many people playing this game. Isn't it old hat by now? I suppose at least some of them are the ones who started in the last year or so but still, that number is just crazy high. Are people just forgetting to cancel their subs when they quit or what?

WoW has huge subscriber churn. Not only new people joining when old people leave, but old people returning as newer players take a break. There's no penalty for letting your subscription lapse when you aren't going to be playing.

So at any given time you have a ton of people who have only been back in the game for a few months, and are still discovering content that is new to them, or working on long term goals like achievements or whatever.
 
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26. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 08:10 Prez
 
The interesting thing to me is that there are STILL that many people playing this game. Isn't it old hat by now? I suppose at least some of them are the ones who started in the last year or so but still, that number is just crazy high. Are people just forgetting to cancel their subs when they quit or what?  
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25. Re: Blizzard Financials; WoW Down to 6.8M Subs Aug 6, 2014, 07:08 Ghola
 
I have been playing since 2006. I played with various groups of friends that have come and gone throughout and I remain constant. I still find the game fun though I do miss the original talent system.  
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