World of Warcraft’s subscribers have been on a downturn over the past few years, and Blizzard no longer expects that to change, apparently.
WoW hit its peak in 2010, with 12 million subscribers. Although it didn’t hold to this dizzying tally for long, it’s still by far and away the most popular and successful subscription MMORPG of all time, and was awarded a Guinness World Record when it hit 10 million subscribers.
But despite its 100 million registered accounts, World of Warcraft’s subscribers are gradually dropping over time, with fewer sticking with the game between content drops.
Before it peaked at 10 million, Blizzard could expect subscribers to increase significantly whenever a new expansion released, as returning players came out of the woodwork, and more importantly as brand new players flocked to join in.
Now, one Blizzard staffer says the developer isn’t really expecting World of Warcraft to grow again, even with the imminent launch of Warlords of Draenor.
“We really don’t know if it will grow again. It is possible, but I wouldn’t say it’s something that we expect,” lead game designer Tom Chilton said.
Chilton said that releasing expansions can actually scare off new players.
“By building expansions, you are effectively building up barriers to people coming back,” he said.
“But by including the level 90 character with this expansion, it gives people the opportunity to jump right into the new content.”
Lets hope so! Activision Blizzard’s investors get mighty shirty about World of Warcraft’s subscriber numbers, even though it turns a profit.