Blizzard Will No Longer Report World of Warcraft Subscriber Numbers

"There are other metrics that are better indicators of the overall Blizzard business performance."

201 Comments

Blizzard Entertainment typically announces World of Warcraft subscriber numbers every three months in its quarterly earnings report, but that's coming to an end. The company has confirmed that this week's announcement of 5.5 million subscribers is the last time the company plans to divulge those numbers.

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"Note that this is the last quarter that we plan to provide subscriber numbers," the company said. "There are other metrics that are better indicators of the overall Blizzard business performance."

Instead, Activision Blizzard will use other unspecified "engagement" metrics to talk about the health of WoW. These were not detailed during the earnings call where the announcement was made on November 3.

WoW's 5.5 million subscribers as of September 30 represents a loss of 100,000 subscribers over the past three months. The game's subscriber figures now stand at a nine-year low.

Looking ahead, WoW's next expansion is called Legion and will be on display later this week at BlizzCon. No release date for the expansion has been announced, though a beta will begin later this year.

History shows that WoW subscriber figures increase with the release of a new expansion. So it may not be surprising to learn that Blizzard's new plan for expansions is to release them faster. In order to do this, the game's development team grew in terms of head count, as of October 2014, it's bigger than ever before.

Beyond Legion, Blizzard is already planning multiple more expansions to follow.

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Avatar image for deactivated-57dad3185020b

CHAMPIONS AND IDOLS

TAKE DOWN EVERY RIVAL

FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL

TOO MANY HIT THE cant remember the next lyrics :(

Avatar image for ShuyinVsTidus
ShuyinVsTidus

LMAO! Blizzard is so transparent with this crap! hahaha How do they really think they are fooling?

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Nodashi

No need to be a genius to understand what that means. It's finally dying.

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InMyConTroL

I will never accept the fact that Blizzard has stop providing support to WC3 after WOW's release. Several hackers dominated bnet! This is going to happen in WC4 unless they find a way to keep making money out of the game.

Avatar image for deactivated-57dad3185020b

@inmycontrol: there wiill never be a warcraft 4 stop with this bullshit

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jay30mcr

I tried WoW back in the day and even then it seemed dated and boring. Really prefer TSW as the puzzles require more than 1 active braincell to complete. If you want a 72 hour trial key msg me :)

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lostn

That's because they're bleeding subscribers and want to mask the blood. Similar to how MS is no longer reporting Xbox numbers sold.

Avatar image for NBKNAS
NBKNAS

@lostn: Difference is WoW is one of the greatest success in gaming history :)

Avatar image for lostn
lostn

@NBKNAS: That is true, and it still is. But it's still a far cry from where they were during their peak. And that's got to have something to do with them not reporting numbers anymore. Otherwise, they'd be boasting about the numbers like they did in the early days before the decline.

Avatar image for NBKNAS
NBKNAS

@lostn: Well it's obvious.. but think about it.. the game is over 10 years old.. the PS3 didn't event exist yet.. just imagine the amount of games that have come and gone and this is still the #1 MMO even with the decline. do you still play games from 2004???

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NBKNAS

So at the end of it all.. the only thing that killed WoW is Wow itself. it just going to die of an old age.

GOAT MMO regardless of you liking the game or not.

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DarthStryphe

It's a ten year old game.it's number are going down dramatically. It's an old mmo in a genre of much better MMOs with better combat systems. The only thing that it has going for it is its release of expansions. Which aren't all that great anymore. But that just my opinion.

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rogue81

@DarthStryphe: There may be "better" games, but do any of them have the subscriber base WoW had? Is there any game with the numbers WoW has now? It'll die soon enough, but even when they shut the servers down, it'll still be the game other mmos are measured against.

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HuSSaR83

After movie release they will start to give numbers again lol

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DraconisRex

Way back in the day they reported the Chinese WoW players (non-subscription, time-card players) separately. The reason was that while there were as many of them, they only represented about 4% of the WoW revenues as Blizzard only licensed the game to a Chinese company and, thus, only got a small slice of the revenue. Back then it was about 6+ million in each group.

Then they started combining them. Telling everyone they had 12 million, then 10 million, etc. subscribers. BUT we noticed when they'd release update sales figures, there'd only be about 4 million expansion pack upgrades. So we knew the number of subscribers (to Blizzard) was dropping much faster than the Chinese Game Card accounts sitting out there barely making any money. Now it's bad enough they don't want to have anything to do with releasing the numbers.

And I'm not gloating about WoW's fall-off. I played the game some. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't really for me. I moved on, like my friends, and have never regretted playing it or leaving it. I just hate the deceptive marketing and puffing. Telling everyone you have 10 million subs, because you torture beyond reason what a 'sub' is, when you really have 4 million is not kosher in my book.

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ArkhamCreed78

And in other news; as of the release of the expansion Heart of Thorns Guild Wars 2 is up to seven million concurrent players. World of Warcraft is now officially number two.

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@arkhamcreed78: Guild Wars 2 never had even half million active players and its total copies sold was 3 million , stop these bullshits

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gamingnerd121

@arkhamcreed78: There's no way they have 7 million players, and don't tell me you get this from sold copies.

Avatar image for arkhamcreed78
ArkhamCreed78

@gamingnerd121: And why do you say that? Nobody questioned WoW having that many players and more, but GW2, a newer and better game that offers way more free updates way more often AND caters to the the desires of an under-served subgroup of the MMO community simply can't? Your fanboy bias is showing.

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Oni

@arkhamcreed78: You know the game can be played on Phones and Tablets right? Not really fair comparing considering the numbers Candy Crush pulls in.

Avatar image for arkhamcreed78
ArkhamCreed78

@Oni: Who said anything about Candy Crush? I'm talking about WoW specifically. Yeah we all know Blizzard is doing very well for itself, that isn't going to change. But its clear that WoW's days are numbered. Has been for a while. I'm just hoping now the fanboys will stop attacking every other game in the genre for a bit.

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DraconisRex

@arkhamcreed78: I had a great time in Guild Wars. Had all the expansions. Had a great time in GW2, too. Played it for well over a year. But like all MMOs, I got tired of it.

May come back for Heart of Thorns. May wait some more time. Don't know. Glad to see it's doing well.

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neo-rtsd

How many of these subscribers are active, and also not chinese?

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csward

Clever, sliding this news under the radar on the day that Activision buys Candy Crush developer King. Stock is up 4%+.

Wall Street is not doing their research.

I am not surprised by this news, more so disappointed that Activision has acknowledged this product is in decline and wants to hide the numbers now.

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ConsoleHaven

If only the game was fun... For me, it was such a fetch quest bore fest. Then again, none of my friends play WOW so, maybe it's going in alone that ruined it for me.

Avatar image for 4love10
4love10

5.5 million subscribers the shit load of peoples that pay 15$ a month..Activision Blizzard make shit load of money with that game..but time to upgrade evrything graphic,gameplay mechanic and so one,and final fully voice NPC's

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ccgod

@4love10: sounds about right it takes them 10 years to update graphics on their games lol

Avatar image for DraconisRex
DraconisRex

@4love10: That includes the Chinese Game-Card players. For which Blizzard gets a 4% royalty on about $5 for a month's worth of play. In short, it's about $0.20 a pop for one of them. And they are likely the bulk of the 'subscribers' at this point.

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jdsonic14

lol

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EdwardNygma

Anytime a company doesn't focus on sales/users (cough Microsoft) you know they are not doing well.

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ccgod

@edwardnygma: believe me they're still swimming in the money from the 2nd year of subscriptions and bought candy crush for more then star wars I'm sure they're doing fine

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gamingnerd121

This is pretty much confirmation, that Activision Blizzard knows their game is in a constant, and ever increasing decline. They can't boast about their impressive numbers anymore, because it's getting ever closer to what the rest have.

It's a very dated game by now as well, not to mention they remove the incentives to better yourself, because they're making it simpler and simpler to play.

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ArkhamCreed78

@gamingnerd121: Not close to what other have; below. WoW has fallen into the number two slot now, behind Guild Wars (seven million regular players).

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gamingnerd121

@arkhamcreed78: I wouldn't trust anything coming from Arenanet, because they're not telling anyone how many active players they have. You can't gauge the playerbase by purchased copies alone.

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ArkhamCreed78

@gamingnerd121: Actually, unlike Blizzard, Arena Net DOES go by how many active accounts they have. And even if they didn't then it still means they have AT LEAST that many players because A; the core game just went free to play and thus wouldn't be counted as sold copies for the influx of players, and B; the expansion literally just hit and all the players who bought it are still playing simply due to having not had time to clear its content yet.

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SGTpw

I used to love Blizzard as a company. Played WoW for 8 years and loved Diablo and Warcraft 3.

This is not the same company anymore. The current run of games have no heart and are just imitating other successful franchises sprinkled with a little 'former glory dust'.

Greed destroys everything beautiful. WoW 2 will never be made. Even if they do. Their current money overlords and crooked intentions will prevent it from ever becoming a good game.

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MacrossSpecial

@sgtpw: I feel the same way, Warlords was the laziest expansion since cataclysm.

They can't keep phoning it in if they want to compete with all the other mmo choices people have now.

Avatar image for csward
csward

@sgtpw: True, but it's not like Blizz didn't rip Warcraft and Starcraft from Warhammer or anything. They have a long history of "me too" games honestly, however, they do put a unique spin on games.

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neo-rtsd

@sgtpw: I enjoyed StarCraft 2 when it came out.

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NoobertoSolano

@sgtpw: Hearthstone have Heart.

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gamingnerd121

@sgtpw: Indeed, what Blizzard currently releases has dollar signs in their eyes, instead of actually creating quality games.

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tiny9999000

Honestly can't say I am surprised they lost their devoted player base shortly after the release of Mists of Pandaria, some had even left before that, and some stayed awhile but I think it was after the devoted players saw what Mists of Pandaria was like and said F**k this we can find something better somewhere else... and they just never listen to their player base, at least not the majority of it... They could care less about keeping the players they have and worry more about getting NEW players, as a result they are losing all their players... sad really it was such a fun game, I know it was going to die sooner or later but Blizzard when from milking the cow to selling it and getting glasses of milk delivered to their doorstep...

Avatar image for Zipper761882
Zipper761882

WoW is far from done, I'm going to say that right off the bat. I can log in(on Proudmoore) at any given time of the day and queue for or do any pvp or pve I choose with minimal wait. I don't care what subscriber numbers say. The success in any mmo can be judged by how long it takes a person to find other people to do the things they wish to do. The problem is, right now there isn't a whole lot I (and a lot of others) haven't done, except for Mythic HFC, which I just can't bring myself to do.

That being said, people need to stop measuring Blizzard's success from how WoW is doing. THIS is why Blizzard no longer want's to release their subscriber numbers. Blizzard is so much more than WoW, and anyone who can't see that is absolutely blind. They could completely kill WoW and still have Starcraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, etc. Hell Hearthstone alone is making them more money than most developers could ever fathom.

EDIT: One more thing. Square does not list FFXIV's CURRENT subscribers. They list their all time subscriber total. Don't get me wrong, I love FFXIV, but there is a big difference between active subscribers and registered accounts.

http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiv-has-5-million-registered-accounts/

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ZanderDF

watch this : While there are a few things i disagree with here or there, i think it delivers a really good point. the subscription model can still do very well now and in the future.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9r34qSyYg0