I know reading about World of Warcraft subscriptions is more click bait and flame war material, but I can’t help be interested. The stats show a clear downward trend in subscriptions, and I find that obvious.
Without new content the player base leaves, and it has been a long time since new content has been put into the game. Further the community has been told that it will be a while to go before the Warlords updates, which acts as a negative incentive to keep subscribed during the quiet time. Wrath was the game’s peak, but The Burning Crusade added a huge amount of players to the game.
At 6.8 million accounts the game is back to subscriber numbers from the Original release. Warlords will be the 5th expansion for WoW, and any gamer or marketer will know that holding interest over ten years and 4 previous expansions is difficult.
Should you as a current player be worried that subs continue to drop?
Maybe, but probably not. You’ve already played through the steady decline from the Wrath of the Lich King high subscriber numbers, so you’ve experienced what it is like to recruit, replace, transfer, and then repeat each X number of months. If you are playing now then you’ll probably continue to play, and that means it only gets better for you when WoD is released.
Should a retired player be worried?
Not at all. You’ll either see something worth paying for, or you’ve moved on. Such is life, enjoy what you enjoy folks. Nobody should feel obligated to play, and nobody should be derided for playing now. The game will be released again, and people will play. I know I’ll probably subscribe again. The WoD expansion might hold off the decline in subs again for a bit, or it might continue to drop.You can be certain that overtime more folks will probably leave than join. WoW was a strange game in the early days because it added subscribers in such an abnormal way. It now uses the subscriber trends that many other games have; again unsurprising.
Essentially it won’t matter until the numbers are low enough to make Blizzard reconsider the product, and I think we’re many years away from that. Will 6 million be an issue? 3 million? Even a few million accounts is still a very large revenue stream per month.