Blizzard Loses 600k World of Warcraft Subscribers in 2 Months

Despite being insanely profitable, World of Warcraft’s subscriber numbers continue to dwindle as time goes on.

Just this past May, the game saw the loss of 1.3 million subscribers, to 8.3 million, down from 9.6 million. Today’s latest figures reveal a further decline for the massively multiplayer online RPG with figures dipping down to 7.7 million. That’s a loss of 600,000 players over a period of 2 months.

It’s not surprising that an MMO this long running has people leaving it, especially in the wake of new games on the market making attempts to claim World of Warcraft’s space in the industry. Not many people are going to play an MMO for 10 years. In spite of the dip in numbers, not many games can claim to have 7.7 million subscribers. It’s doubtful that anyone at Blizzard is sweating over the loss in subscription numbers.

It’ll be interesting to see what Blizzard does in its attempt to retain existing players or build its numbers back up. Perhaps an expansion or two may be in order, especially with Project Titan delayed to at least 2016.

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4 Comments on Blizzard Loses 600k World of Warcraft Subscribers in 2 Months

michael

On July 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Yeah, but they are still making billions.

Fim

On July 29, 2013 at 3:03 am

“Tell me Jeeves, have you noticed the champagne pool having lost a couple of inches?”
“Sir, I believe strictly speaking, your analysts have determined, that it has done so indeed.”
“Oh well, that certainly IS a slight inconvenience.”
“Whatever should we do?”
“Carry on Jeeves, carry on.”

psycros

On July 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Those who think Blizzard isn’t concerned over losing subs at this rate are not thinking clearly. This is the first I’d heard of “Titan” being delayed till 2016. That’s THREE YEARS, people. At the rate WoW players are defecting they’ll down to a handful of servers long before that. Think Diablo 3 or SC II can fill the money gap in the meantime? LOL! Now, as to what Blizzard could do to bring people back..the answer is to make WoW challenging and interesting again. (I haven’t played since they killed the game with Cataclysm so if any of these ideas have been added already, apologies). Rebuild WoW as a party-oriented game that takes even the most hard-core grinder at least a month to hit the level cap with a new character. Bliz also needs to un-stupidify the game, and by that I mean essentially rolling it back to the level of player customization and complexity it had when Burning Crusade first launched. Bring back skill trees, ranged ammo and other staples of the classic game. Increase mob toughness and dmg to the point that soloing a yellow is actually dangerous and an orange requires one or two other players your own level. A red should require 3-4 average characters to defeat. Make the world feel expansive again by prohibiting flying mounts in cities. You’d be kept out of a town’s “bubble” until you agreed to auto-pilot to the flight master and dismount. Players could also have the option to use their own flying mounts for trips between FMs. There could be roaming airborne mobs that attack flyers in most zones unless you’re on auto-pilot. To compensate, limited fighting while mounted should be allowed: I’d say only basic one-handed attacks to maintain balance (suddenly non-spellcasters have a reason to use throwing weapons!). Instead of just jetting across the world you’d need to fight a bit, or at least be slowed down by a train of flying mobs banging on you, heh heh. Finally, give players reasons to revisit zones they’ve out-leveled. Perhaps new end-game level instances could be added to the mid-level areas. There are plenty of ways to breathe life back into Azeroth – these are just a few off the top of my head.

Ron Whitaker

On July 30, 2013 at 6:05 am

@psycros: I don’t think that Blizzard is not concerned, but I don’t think they’re panicking either. World of Warcraft will be with us (and profitable!) for years to come (probably as many as 6-10 more). I didn’t used to think that, but then I spent some time talking to some people who still play Everquest. Not EQ2, but the original Everquest.

In many cases, it isn’t the game itself that holds them there, although for some it is. No, what holds them is the bond they’ve developed with their characters and/or their guild. It’s the time invested into something that they don’t want to walk away from. For a lot of people, WoW was their first MMO, and they want to play it for years to come.

That base can make WoW profitable for a long time, provided that Blizzard scales their operation down as the number of players shrinks. Again, look at Everquest. The released their nineteenth expansion last November, and as long as people keep spending money, you can bet SOE is working on a twentieth. For a game that never cracked 500,000 players, that’s pretty darn impressive.

One final thing to keep in mind: WoW is an aberration in the MMO market. Its rise to dominance was a perfect storm of timing, gameplay, accessibility, and gamer desires. We haven’t seen it duplicated or even approached since then, because a lot of those factors have changed. We may never see another MMO hit 10 million players. If we do, you can bet it’ll hang around for years to come as well.