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World of Warcraft revenue drops 54% in seven month stretch – report

Thursday, 12th September 2013 11:15 GMT By Dave Cook

World of Warcraft’s revenue dropped 54% over a seven month period ended April 2013, according to an analyst group. The report suggests that Blizzard needs to now consider new micro-payment strategies.

In a report by Super Data Research entitled, “World of Warcraft is thinking of microtransactions, and that’s a good thing”, the firm stated that the MMO’s revenue was $93 million in April, a decrease from the $204 million figure recorded seventh months earlier.

The report muses the possibility of WoW going fully free-to-play and introducing microtransactions beyond pets, cosmetic items and other content. It explains, “What we generally see after a switch to free-to-play is an influx of new players and a spike in revenues, which, if the cards are played right, can be sustained. But to switch entirely to F2P is currently too much of a jolt for WoW, and doesn’t make sense with the current metrics.

“For example, in order to have sustained the US revenues the game saw in 2011, it would have had to convert 53% of the total free-to-play audience in the US at the time. However, there are now more F2P gamers in the country—and worldwide—so it’s becoming easier to capture this audience. But there’s also more competition.”

The firm has checked the numbers, and apparently the game’s store data shows that active players are willing to shell out on microtransactions, but to reel back core elements and retro-fit them into a micro-payment model, Blizzard would need to converge several mechanics and ideals into a new format. It could prove both disruptive and may serve to alienate the fan base.

What do you think needs to be done for WoW to sustain? Let us know below.

Via MCV.

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31 Comments

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  1. noamlol2

    and no one cares…

    #1 7 months ago
  2. Erthazus

    “What do you think needs to be done for WoW to sustain?”

    New Expansion pack that will be good for the WoW lore. In my opinion WoW subs suffered because Mists Of Pandaria was not a really good add-on. Sure, it was beautiful but it was not really in “That setting”.

    + EVERQUEST NEXT IS COMING. NOTHING CAN STOP THAT! :D Until Blizzard shows it’s next MMO (that they killed )

    #2 7 months ago
  3. AngryConsumer

    its about time, and hopeful it will lead to wow ending up on the digital graveyard. where it should have been 5 years ago.

    #3 7 months ago
  4. _LarZen_

    “What do you think needs to be done for WoW to sustain?”

    I don’t think even going F2P will save WoW now. People are feed up with the universe and Blizzard need to revamp the entire game.

    I think Blizzard need to do move along to World of Warcraft 2. New game engine and a new world to explore. And the time where one have 25 abilities on the screen is over. Make smarter enemies that requires more from the players and their abilities.

    Better quests that have full voice overs, let us start caring about what is happening instead of just getting a wall of text that 99% skip.

    And WOW2 should come to next gen consoles and it should be cross play between all platforms.

    I cant see WOW as it is today viable for much longer. Even the hardcore players are losing interest.

    #4 7 months ago
  5. dizzygear

    They can start by making the expansion packs free. If i were to jump back into the game i would have to shell out money for cataclysm (which is obsolete now), the panda expansion (which is close to being obsolete) AND the subscription fee.

    Thanks but no thanks.

    #5 7 months ago
  6. silkvg247

    I think they need to put up vanilla servers for pvp to ever get me back.

    #6 7 months ago
  7. lookingglass

    It doesn’t matter. Blizzard knows subs are the best option and they are banking on it hard by increasing the dev team by 40% now and another full 40% soon.

    They’ll push out monthly patches and yearly expansions. To top it off, Tom Chilton wants the expansions to be like Call of Duty. So if you haven’t played any WoW before, you can buy an expansion and get right into the action.

    WoW will be fine. 100 million per month?! That’s kills anything else on the market and is in another universe entirely than all F2P releases combined.

    This always happens too. Expansion releases double sub numbers and they slowly dwindle to half. The next xpac will pump it to double. Maybe more since WoW now has something to prove.

    #7 7 months ago
  8. Pentecost

    Oh no, the cash cow is dying. Boo-fucking-hoo.

    #8 7 months ago
  9. TMRNetShark

    I think a lot of people stopped playing after WotLK. The system works, just make a new MMO already.

    Specifically one based on Starcraft lore.. pretty please?

    #9 7 months ago
  10. TheWulf

    And so the beast slowly dies. I can’t help but wonder if the popularity of subscriptionless games like Guild Wars 2, Marvel Heroes, and so on have had anything to do with it? And perhaps some of the once-subscription MMOs that have gone down a similar buy-to-play route without having predatory microtransactions, like The Secret World. There are certainly a lot more options out there, now, and more reasonably priced ones to boot. Games with lots of nifty content without the monthly charge.

    Well, after having watched a second friend lose his job to WoW (yes, really), I’m more glad than ever to see it go. I knew he’d been playing for quite some time, he’s been playing it for well over a year. I just didn’t think he’d fallen that far, but with WoW I guess it’s inevitable.

    #10 7 months ago
  11. TheWulf

    @7

    Guild Wars 2 is pushing out fortnightly content without the subscription. So, I’m not sure what good monthly content is going to do versus that.

    And to be honest, with the amount of money that Activision-Blizzard has, and the amount of money the players are putting into it, they’ve deserved weekly updates for the longest time, now. The only reason that Blizzard is bothering to get their butt in gear is because they now have very valid competition, hence their more expedient fall from fame.

    #11 7 months ago
  12. TheWulf

    @3

    Hello backup. :P Took me a little bit to be sure, but hi.

    #12 7 months ago
  13. TheWulf

    @3

    Hello [old anti-PC troll whom we all knew and hated, whose name is now forsaken to say]. :P Took me a little bit to be sure, but hi.

    #13 7 months ago
  14. Vice

    Music to my ears. Hope this shit game goes to f2p hell and loses 95% of it’s former playerbase very very soon.

    What needs to be done to WoW? HAH!
    Remove pandas as playable race to begin with. Bring old world back. Stop developer’s open horde fanboyism. Redo wotlk from scratch, forget cata/mop even happened, as a nightmare. Don’t kill Arthas this time. Updgarde graphics significantly. Start focusing on classic Alliance lore once more. That’d do for starters…

    #14 7 months ago
  15. deansmooth1

    I’m a previous wow addict for 7 years, constantly playing 10 to 12 Hours a day lost my friends, lost my Job, I don’t think people understand, but now it’s gotten old very old for The MMORPG world.

    I loved the old WoW vanilla Days and Burning crusade was fantastic but after that it become a Jobless players paradise many people got glued to wow and treated it like a crack addiction but now it’s dying because people want something new

    people want something new WoW has become very repetitive and Generic over the years, you’ll be sucked in doing the same things that you did before Nothing else just expansions and Huge updates.

    #15 7 months ago
  16. DSB

    So every chain gets judged by it’s weakest link now? That’s reasonable.

    I played for something like 3-4 years, and a little over two of those were spent building a top tier raiding guild with a close knit group, and I didn’t see anyone with problems who weren’t already off balance. It was mostly alcoholism or drug abuse.

    I did see a lot of people who supported eachother, had fun with eachother, and forged long standing friendships, even travelling across Europe to visit eachother. That’s obviously terrible, and no one should ever do it.

    I’ve never seen anything like that bond in any other game, but I’m pretty sure you can find people with serious problems playing absolutely any game you can think of.

    #16 7 months ago
  17. Ireland Michael

    @15 That’s an interesting observation, considering that Vanilla and TBC required far bigger time investment in order to progress than Wrath or any other expansion after did.

    People are leaving because they can clear the content almost as soon as its released, and higher difficulties level and ilevels aren’t enough incentive to bother. They’re bored.

    The only thing they need to do to build up subscriptions again is to return the challenge to the game. None of this easy-mode crap. One difficulty, one tier set. If you’re good enough, you get the gear. If you’re not, you don’t.

    #17 7 months ago
  18. DarkElfa

    They’re making 93 million and they’re fucking complaining?!

    I hope an ASSteroid lands on them.

    ^Not a typo…

    #18 7 months ago
  19. drw85

    @17 I personally stopped because everything is just about points and currencies and unnecessary lore and atmosphere breaking bullshit like that. Collect this and collect that weird currency, but don’t collect more than this arbitrary number per week… Makes the world and everything very organic and believable.

    #19 7 months ago
  20. Ireland Michael

    @19 When they made the end game content so much easier to clear, they had to put some sort of bottleneck in place to stop people from completely steamrolling it too quickly. Hence, loads of tedious gating.

    The removal of vertical progression from WoW ruined the design of the game for the most part.

    The game as it stands right now has about a half dozen different variations on difficulty and gear, and it keeps getting worse – 10 mans, 25 mans, normal mode, heroic mode, flex raiding, LFR, gear upgrades, thunderforged items. It’s a bloody mess. The answer to the problem is practically slapping them in the face, but instead of fixing it they just keep adding more layers of gear divergence to mask the problem.

    LFR ruined a lot of guilds. People don’t care about the higher ilevels since they can just steamroll the raids with strangers now. It reduces guild involvement, guild support, and the necessity of communication. Without communication and friendship building gameplay, people have no desire to stick around. Hence, everyone is leaving.

    Bring back the challenge, and stop spoon feeding players, and people will come back in droves.

    #20 7 months ago
  21. drw85

    @20 That might fix a majority of issues, but not the complete and utter destruction of immersion and storyline.

    #21 7 months ago
  22. Ireland Michael

    @21 The vast majority of the playerbase doesn’t give a flying monkey’s about the storyline and “immersion”.

    Personally speaking, I’ve found Pandaria to be some of the best and most consistent storytelling they’ve done since the franchise’s inception. It’s fresh, with tonnes of new lore and characters, and they’ve been moving the story and characters along as a great pace.

    I skipped out on most of Cataclysm because it was so utterly lazy. I can’t fault this expansion for that. Pandaria is an insanely rich location immersion wise.

    I was lucky enough to find a wonderfully friendly group of down to earth and decent people in a solid, dramaless guild, but even that couldn’t keep me playing. They’ve made the entire game so easy and trivial that almost nobody bothers to interact with anyone anymore.

    Because they no longer have to.

    You might as well be playing a single player RPG.

    #22 7 months ago
  23. DSB

    @20 Damn, that paints a really grim picture.

    Sounds like they’ve kept going in the direction they started with Lich King. That’s when I left. It’s as if WoW went from showing everybody the way, to desperately scrambling for the casuals like everybody else.

    I really, really hope that Wildstar will have a more uncompromising vision. It would be nice with just one MMO that didn’t strive to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. The mediocrity is deafening out there.

    #23 7 months ago
  24. Ireland Michael

    @23 The sad thing is that the quality of the actual content itself is the best it’s ever been.

    Just check this out, for instance: http://youtu.be/slzQOyS5TqQ (major spoilers)

    But the design of the game is shooting itself in the foot.

    I know I would rather challenge a boss 10 times with friends than waltz through a nerfed raid once. It’s become difficult just to find guilds that can even be bothered with progression anymore, thanks to the ease of LFR. Its hard to feel invested when everyone is a stranger.

    #24 7 months ago
  25. antraxsuicide

    @22 Your last sentence still highlights a problem with WoW for me. If you have to have people to make the game interesting, then it’s not interesting. I get that it’s an MMO, but if the game can’t give you something to bond over, then it’s failing.

    I feel like WoW just needs to die. No expansion can change that it’s a game from 2004. Band-aids just won’t help anymore.

    #25 7 months ago
  26. Ireland Michael

    @25 The whole purpose of an MMO is in the grouped gameplay. Creating challenges that can *only* be overcome with the help of other people. It’s not that having people is what makes the game fun. It’s that feeling of completing a fantastic adventure together, epic fantasy stories and challenges that you get to conquer as a team. The solo content is filler at best.

    That’s what WoW did so well, that captured the interest of so many people in the first place

    If you don’t like that sort of gameplay, MMOs will never be the thing for you.

    That’s why games like Monster Hunter have such a strong cult following. They took that game design from MMOs, and applied it at a smaller more Intimate scale. I’m not a fan of MH myself, but I can completely understand what the appeal for a lot of people is.

    I completely agree with the band-aid comment though. That’s all these recent changes are. They’re protecting the wound, but they’re not solving the problem.

    #26 7 months ago
  27. DSB

    @24 Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. There’s nothing that can really replace the rush of a first kill. That’s what you play for.

    That’s why I was so disillusioned when they started doing vanilla/heroic difficulty, and achievement whoring. First you have to steamroll a bunch of dummy bosses, and then it starts for real – Except the bosses don’t really feel new, they’re just tweaked.

    #27 7 months ago
  28. GwynbleiddiuM

    Can’t argue with anything said here. That’s why I decided not to comment. I do love WoW, but it’s hard to see that the game would change course and go back to its roots, I really can’t see that.

    #28 7 months ago
  29. antraxsuicide

    @Michael
    I agree. But to me, WoW has lost that group dynamic because you no longer ever need other people. There’s nothing to bond over as a group, so it’s a single player game without a compelling reason to play. I’m not saying that it should find a compelling SP motivation; I’m saying it should go back to forcing group work.

    My bad for saying it poorly :P

    #29 7 months ago
  30. Ireland Michael

    @29 Well then, we pretty much agree. Hahaha.

    #30 7 months ago
  31. noaxispoint

    I am not too concerned with this. Seven months prior to April would of been September which was the Mists of Pandaria release. This article doesn’t show the spike that naturally happened that month. I just don’t buy that the game needs to go all micro-transaction based on this article given. People come and go, especially at the beginning of an expansion. It is a very cyclical business model now and the ones with the newest content usually wins in growth percentage.

    #31 6 months ago