World of Warcraft subscription numbers drop another 8%

In revealing the repurchase of its shares from Vivendi last night, publisher Activision announced that subscription numbers for World of Warcraft continued to decline, dropping from 8.3 million in Q1 to 7.7 million in Q2.

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In revealing the repurchase of its shares from Vivendi last night, publisher Activision announced that subscription numbers for World of Warcraft continued to decline, dropping from 8.3 million in Q1 to 7.7 million in Q2.

The numbers represent almost a two million decline in users since the end of last fiscal year. To counteract the decline, Blizzard's CEO Mike Morhaime had said the company would be pushing out more frequent content updates to keep users engaged, but the effort appears to falling short.

Activision should address the decline as part of its regular earnings call next week.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 26, 2013 9:30 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, World of Warcraft subscription numbers drop another 8%.

    In revealing the repurchase of its shares from Vivendi last night, publisher Activision announced that subscription numbers for World of Warcraft continued to decline, dropping from 8.3 million in Q1 to 7.7 million in Q2.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 9:36 AM

      This shouldn't be surprising to anyone. The game is nearly 10 years old now, and hasn't even hit its minimum sustainable player base yet. I'd be shocked if the franchise can do anything to restore it to its previous peak subscriptions.

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        July 26, 2013 9:37 AM

        I wonder what the highest playtimes are out there

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        July 26, 2013 9:38 AM

        I think the peak is long gone, but we will surely see decent spikes at every expansion for a while. I still plan on coming back for the next one for two months or so.

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          July 26, 2013 10:01 AM

          Yep, but they had to know years ago that this was going to eventually happen.

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        July 26, 2013 9:52 AM

        I'm amazed it's this old and is still at 7.7m users.

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        July 26, 2013 11:42 AM

        The only way to reclaim the momentum is to release a sequel. It will decline to the point where only the most dedicated players will remain like most MMOs on the market.

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      July 26, 2013 9:41 AM

      I've read that the majority of the recent sub losses have been concentrated in Asia, where the draw of free MMOs is particularly enticing. Blizzard is ultimately going to be less concerned with losses from that market simply because the per-player profit margin is so much lower.

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      July 26, 2013 9:45 AM

      Finally. However, even wow starts to really falter, I don't think we'll ever see an MMO as pervasive as WoW again.

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        July 26, 2013 9:47 AM

        I am not sure WoW ended up helping the genre. Sure it brought a ton of players in, but they were WoW players and not MMO players. Meanwhile most developers tried to make WoW clones instead of trying something unique.

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          July 26, 2013 10:25 AM

          I wouldn't say that. I've tried plenty of other MMOs, none are as polished or long lasting.

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            July 26, 2013 4:47 PM

            WoW wasn't that polished or stable at release either.

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              July 26, 2013 8:23 PM

              But they had the ability and know-how to appeal to the masses.

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        July 26, 2013 9:52 AM

        Something else will come along. It always does.

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      July 26, 2013 9:49 AM

      Poor WoW, they'll have to close up shop soon.

    • DM7 legacy 10 years
      reply
      July 26, 2013 10:03 AM

      It had a good run, and 7.7mil is still not bad numbers. :)

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        July 26, 2013 10:32 AM

        Still at about 3x what any other MMO ever managed to reach. I think there's two or three other MMOs that managed to break above 3 million subscribers for the launch period but quickly fell below.

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      July 26, 2013 10:15 AM

      They'll be making money on this game for another 10 years. If there are 1 million subscribers, they'll be making money.

      Something tells me that Blizzard will likely go for another MMO based on a different property, though.

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        July 26, 2013 10:34 AM

        Isn't Titan already known to be another MMO in a new IP?

        Well, before the refresh that is.

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          July 26, 2013 11:13 AM

          Forgot about this. 2016 sounds about right to have the WoW population migrate over.

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            July 26, 2013 1:58 PM

            You mean 2026? I don't think Blizzard has ever launched a game on time, and there's no way they're churning out an MMO that is being redesigned and hasn't even been announced 3 years from now.

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      July 26, 2013 10:16 AM

      I don't know why these stories are such big deals every quarter

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      July 26, 2013 10:22 AM

      i wonder how a WoW 2 would be received

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        July 26, 2013 10:34 AM

        Wildstar is basically wow 2.

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          July 26, 2013 10:35 AM

          Rift is basically wow 2

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            July 26, 2013 10:42 AM

            not even close to how close wildstar is.

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              July 26, 2013 10:53 AM

              Ha, I was just being contrary. If you want to see the biggest ever wow ripoff, check out Order and Chaos. I would believe it if someone told me they used the same assets from vanilla wow.

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        July 26, 2013 10:35 AM

        See: Everquest 2

        All of the hardcore fans think they want something new, try it and decide it sucks because it's too different. Just like every other MMO release.

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        July 26, 2013 11:05 AM

        The Cataclysm expansion was basically WoW 2.

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        July 26, 2013 11:45 AM

        I think Elder Scrolls Online has the potential to beat World of Warcraft. You already have a popular RPG franchise with an established base so its not much of leap.

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          July 26, 2013 11:46 AM

          I am sure that is what Bioware and EA thought too.

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          July 26, 2013 11:46 AM

          Hahaha.

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          July 26, 2013 11:48 AM

          how much would you like to wager on this prediction

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            July 26, 2013 11:51 AM

            I said potential to be, I know perfectly well it could fall flat on its face like all the others. TOR failed for a number of reasons. Alot of what I am seeing of ESO has the TES feel to it. I guess we will see in a year. ESO is releasing on three platforms as well so if gets 1 or 2 million on each platform that will be enough to get to the current WOW figures.

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              July 26, 2013 11:55 AM

              "potential" in the way you've used it means nothing. in that sense, anything that is unreleased has "potential".

              elder scrolls online will crash and burn. it will be star trek online, swtor, and age of conan. this is pretty much a rock solid guarantee. you're completely fooling yourself if you think they'll get millions of users per platform. i bet it doesn't hit one million TOTAL users

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                July 26, 2013 12:04 PM

                I can see them hitting those numbers, I don't see it retaining those numbers past the first month though.

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                  July 26, 2013 12:11 PM

                  swtor tapped out at just over a million and it had way more promise than eso. eso isn't going to come anywhere close, even in the first month. in order to match wow, three out of four people who bought skyrim would have to buy eso. and given how anti-multiplayer that community is, i don't see it. swtor had a much better chance and it didn't happen

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                    July 26, 2013 12:28 PM

                    Yeah I misread TheEmissary's post, I was saying it could hit 1-2 million maybe in the first month. I would be extremely surprised if it came close to WoW numbers.

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          July 26, 2013 11:51 AM

          The most single-player focused fan base there is though. People get worked up even at the thought of throwing co-op into ES.

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          July 26, 2013 11:53 AM

          Unlike Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Warhammer Online?

          I've said it before and I'll say it again. Unless they do something that is radically different from WoW they just can't catch up now. WoW had 12 years (or more) of development to come where they are now, you can't catch up all that in 3-4 years. So you have to do something that's different enough that it doesn't matter (such like what Eve Online got going). And even then it will be hard to beat WoW simply because people are so invested there.

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            July 27, 2013 10:57 AM

            The next big "MMO" will probably be more like Second Life than WoW.

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          July 26, 2013 11:55 AM

          You have to realize that WoW became the monster that it is by reaching beyond the niche RPG fan base. Just because X franchise you like seems really popular amongst the people who already like that sort of thing doesn't mean it can and will branch out. People thought the same thing about Warhammer Online because of all the Warhammer fans, but obviously that didn't work out. WoW got huge by appealing to people that had never played games before, or at least MMOs before. That's a hard trick to pull off, and even then I'm betting that Blizzard can't tell you exactly how that happened. The likelihood that another game will repeat that seems very slim to me.

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            July 26, 2013 1:54 PM

            I honestly wonder if WoW succeeded to the extent that it did only because it was released by Blizzard.

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              July 26, 2013 2:20 PM

              There's probably a confluence of factors that made it the beast it is, the Blizzard name certainly being one of them. But I think the relative ease of play combined with its rather large initial fan base meant a lot of people were going up to their co-workers, or their sisters, or their significant others, or their uncles, or anyone and everyone who had never played a video game (or a video game like this) and telling them "You should try this Warcraft game", and then it spread from there. And of course that only made the Chinese farming market more profitable so those licenses boomed as well.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 12:02 PM

          Laughing really hard at this post.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 12:39 PM

          I wish you could see how many lols you're gonna get on this post.

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      July 26, 2013 11:51 AM

      Can't wait for WOW to go to FTP so I can come back.

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        July 26, 2013 6:32 PM

        Me too. Plummet away, subscriber pool.

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        July 26, 2013 8:15 PM

        Yea then I can upload some html to it

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      July 26, 2013 11:55 AM

      I know nothing about MMORPGs, but curious to know where are the players migrating to?

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        July 26, 2013 11:56 AM

        jobs and family

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        July 26, 2013 11:57 AM

        I'd guess most of the decline is from people who stop playing MMOs.

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        July 26, 2013 11:57 AM

        other types of games

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          July 26, 2013 1:56 PM

          Probably LoL?

          I know a lot of people who played or play WoW off and on and moved to LoL.

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            July 26, 2013 2:02 PM

            This is actually true, a lot of people are messing around w/LoL while waiting for FF14:ARR, Wildstar and/or EQ Next.

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        July 26, 2013 12:00 PM

        probably opening a window a crack and hissing at the sun

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          July 26, 2013 12:36 PM

          You should of put "and hissing into the sun" onto a new line of the shack chrome extension.

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        July 26, 2013 12:01 PM

        ^^^ All of the above.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 12:08 PM

        Mom didn't bring bathroom in time. RIP.

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        July 26, 2013 12:09 PM

        diabetes

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        July 26, 2013 12:22 PM

        My dad switched to building a model train.

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        July 26, 2013 3:34 PM

        Euro Truck Simulator 2

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        July 26, 2013 3:36 PM

        Plenty of them move back to playing non mmo games. WoW captured a lot of new mmo players and style of them don't want to play a wow clone. That said I know LoL and free to play games are hurting blizzard in China.

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      July 26, 2013 12:23 PM

      it's still the best mmorpg.

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      July 26, 2013 2:27 PM

      I just re-subbed about a week ago or so.. :(

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      July 26, 2013 2:32 PM

      5.2/Throne of Thunder basically killed my casual raiding guild. And these were people who stuck around til the bitter end of Cataclysm. I blame Blizzard's obsession with dailies and the overtuning of Normal mode raids.

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        July 26, 2013 2:39 PM

        People poopsock shit to get it done asap, and then complain on the forums about not having anything to do at endgame. Blizzard responds by creating a giant pile of borderline insurmountable and completely mundane shit so people have stuff to do.

        The poopsockers poopsock it then go back to complaining about not having anything to do, while the people who weren't complaining look at it, say "fuck this" and then find something else.

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          July 26, 2013 2:54 PM

          Pretty much. They've added a ton of useless, boring, grindy stuff with every major patch. I don't want to do it anymore. None of my friends want to do it anymore. My guild is tired of 30+ bosses that aren't worth the time to push through.

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        July 26, 2013 4:40 PM

        That's basically what did it for me. I just couldn't stand doing the same quests over and over again.

        Also, it didn't help that they ruined the community aspect of the game with the dungeon and raid finders. Sure its quicker and easier to get a dungeon group, but you'll never see those people again.

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          July 26, 2013 4:58 PM

          Honestly, I couldn't care less about making e-friends on a WoW server. The old days of spamming trade chat to get groups going was pure hell.

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        July 27, 2013 10:54 AM

        The increase in difficulty between boss #1 and boss #2 was ridiculous. Also, forcing linear progression on us is a big problem. Hard to farm mid tier bosses and still try and progress to the end unless you're raiding many many hours a week.

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      July 26, 2013 4:48 PM

      I wonder what the total lifetime revenue of WoW is

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        July 26, 2013 4:50 PM

        Only if displayed relative to world country's GDP.

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        July 26, 2013 4:54 PM

        I wonder if i've given more money to chinese farmers or Blizzard themselves.

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          July 26, 2013 7:57 PM

          I'd be interested to see not only Blizzard's revenue, but the total spin off revenue from all the businesses built up around the game.

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      July 26, 2013 8:20 PM

      Miss those vanilla years, but they've milked it for all it's worth.

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        July 26, 2013 9:44 PM

        it has 7 times the playersof the nearest MMORPG. I think it has a lot left

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      July 27, 2013 10:56 AM

      In related news, McDonalds only sold 21.7 billion hamburgers this year, down from last year's total of 23.4 billion.

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      July 30, 2013 1:04 PM

      Our guild lasted for several years. With every expansion we lost some and won some new members, but over time the balance was negative as less and less players that fit into our guild were still active. We have seen lots of guilds disband, people never return to the game and sometimes people coming back after several months only to power through content and quit again.

      Blizzard has truly done some amazing things with WoW but also repeatedly stepped into their former mistakes again and again. WotLK probably was the best expansion, all expansions after this never gained as much popularity and were imho inconsistent. It is like they had a roadmap but constantly switched to other roadmaps inbetween, disgruntling large amounts of players and backtracking without ever really getting back on their original roadmap.

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