World of Warcraft Revenues Down 54 Percent

World of Warcraft Revenues Down 54 Percent

World of Warcraft revenue chart

"Market intelligence" firm Superdata says World of Warcraft revenues have dropped an astounding 54 percent over the past seven months.

World of Warcraft is still the big dog, but it's not the beast it once was. Subscription numbers are in a slow but steady decline, and now "digital goods measurement" firm Superdata has released a report claiming that revenues - the part that counts - have tailed off 54 percent over the past seven months. Activision Blizzard is in no danger of going under anytime soon, but if the figures are correct it's still an awfully big pile of money that's dried up and blown away.

"We believe WoW made $93 million in April in total revenues - not a bad sum - but a far cry from the $204 million it made just seven months earlier," the report states. "Activision also announced a loss of about 1.3 million MAUs from the game's Eastern-hemisphere playerbase recently, a move that our numbers showed in real time. That, of course, is an issue for a subscription-based title."

The purpose of the report is to examine the presumed-to-be-looming introduction of in-game microtransactions, which Superdata describes as "a good thing." It also notes that despite the decline in overall revenues, money generated by existing microtransaction options have held steady, indicating "that dedicated WoW players are interested in - and will spend money on - microtransactions."

The report also concludes that while going free-to-play can be very lucrative for MMOs, World of Warcraft is unlikely to take the plunge simply because, even with declining revenues, it would require an unattainably high conversion rate to maintain them.

Source: Superdata

Permalink

I have to wonder if that's because Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn is now a thing...

I loved WoW back in the day, but SquareEnix got its collective shit in gear and made the beast that is FF14: ARR.

[shrugs] 7 months prior to April, they'd just released a new xpac... so revenue from selling a bunch of new games vs not having that revenue?

And whilst ff14 is good... it wouldnt have affected this, the article states revenue for April... ff14 was fun then, but not out then.

No positive news from the old WoW front anymore. But about time I'd say, I can't even imagine people still playing that game.
Personally I couldn't stand that tedious, boring thing after only a week, so I find it hard to believe someone would put several years into it. Not that I complain if you do... but it's about time WoW stepped down from its outdated throne and let other into the spotlight.

and lo, another object lesson in how statistics can be used to push virtually any poV imaginable. Whats that you say? An mmo at the middle/end of an expansion cycle makes significantly less money than the month that said expansion is released? LE GASP!!

Everyone knows wow is declining, but regardless its still the biggest cock on the block and Activision will stop releasing expac for it around the same time they stop making annual Call of Duty cash grabs

Well, the next patch did just release, so people will probably re subscribe to beat that content, but then it'll drop down to the 7 million mark again, maybe less since it'll probably be another year before the next expansion is released, whatever it actually is.

Wait, let me get this straight. There was a drop off from September to April...gee, what happened in September? Oh, that's right, Mists of Pandaria was released. No shit there was a drop off after people got their copy of MoP and, dare I say, probably didn't continue buying the expansion over and over. Why is this news?

I don't think it's in question that WoW is in a decline, but considering Superdata didn't even mention MoP and conveniently didn't show, say, May-August in that graph, I'm going to assume they're either horrible at their jobs or are trying to skew it so they can come out with the shocking headline about WoW dying and get more notoriety for their "amazing" analysis.

So, which is it Superdata, are you stupid or lying?

walrusaurus:
and lo, another object lesson in how statistics can be used to push virtually any poV imaginable. Whats that you say? An mmo at the middle/end of an expansion cycle makes significantly less money than the month that said expansion is released? LE GASP!!

Everyone knows wow is declining, but regardless its still the biggest cock on the block and Activision will stop releasing expac for it around the same time they stop making annual Call of Duty cash grabs

It declining isn't that big of a surprise, and hardly newsworthy. What makes this newsworthy is the size of the decline. I wouldn't have been surprised by even a 15-20% decline, for the reasons you mentioned. But losing more than half of its revenue in seven months? That's a huge decline, even factoring in the expansion pack revenue boost.

CrazyCapnMorgan:
I have to wonder if that's because Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn is now a thing.

I think it's simple entropy more than anything, WoW is pushing a decade old and it's changed a huge amount in that time. Content has come and content has gone, the way the game is played has changed beyond all recognition and people that were into it even three years ago might not be now. A whole slew of dungeons, bosses and events aren't even there anymore, even Blizzard can't expect people to keep paying for things they will never 'legally' be allowed to access again. Even then, nobody plays forever (except Counter Strike players).

FFXIV might be a factor, but so is Guild Wars 2, broader stuff like World of Tanks and Firefall, even The Old Republic and a wider burnout on people's patience with MMO's must factor into it. Eitherway World of Warcraft is going to make ten next year and that's mightily impressive for a MMO still being run in an official capacity. Only FFXI springs to mind as matching that.

It wouldn't surprise me if the same thing happened at this point after every previous expansion too. No doubt when The Deep Below, or whatever the balls the next one's called, is released revenues will shoot up to above what they were in April.

I'm sure that WoW is declining overall, but if the huge revenue drop was unplanned ActiBlizz would have been publicly shitting themselves.

seule:
[shrugs] 7 months prior to April, they'd just released a new xpac... so revenue from selling a bunch of new games vs not having that revenue?

And whilst ff14 is good... it wouldnt have affected this, the article states revenue for April... ff14 was fun then, but not out then.

fix-the-spade:

CrazyCapnMorgan:
I have to wonder if that's because Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn is now a thing.

I think it's simple entropy more than anything, WoW is pushing a decade old and it's changed a huge amount in that time. Content has come and content has gone, the way the game is played has changed beyond all recognition and people that were into it even three years ago might not be now. A whole slew of dungeons, bosses and events aren't even there anymore, even Blizzard can't expect people to keep paying for things they will never 'legally' be allowed to access again. Even then, nobody plays forever (except Counter Strike players).

FFXIV might be a factor, but so is Guild Wars 2, broader stuff like World of Tanks and Firefall, even The Old Republic and a wider burnout on people's patience with MMO's must factor into it. Eitherway World of Warcraft is going to make ten next year and that's mightily impressive for a MMO still being run in an official capacity. Only FFXI springs to mind as matching that.

Very true, both of you. I guess what I'm wondering is how that will further affect WoW. From what we're shown, it seems that it is more entropy than anything else. Still, it's nice to see what spawned to challenge it - a lot of games, both good and bad, were made to in response to it. The gaming community is richer for it, regardless of personal position or opinion.

Since I can guarantee that no player went out and spent $60 on an expansion every month, I can also guarantee that these numbers are undeniably skewed as they do not separate retail purchases from subscriptions. Nothing to see here, move along.

I was a big WoW fan, but stopped playing about a year ago. There is one solution that would make hem happy and bring back players such as myself... Don't go F2P, but lower the subscription price. Cut it in half. $15 for two months instead of just one. I guarantee that would boost numbers. Drop your price wow, because if not, I'm looking into new things like Everquest Next.

All I can think is.

'Eh, WoW could just be coming up on 'its time', it is pretty old now'

walrusaurus:
and lo, another object lesson in how statistics can be used to push virtually any poV imaginable. Whats that you say? An mmo at the middle/end of an expansion cycle makes significantly less money than the month that said expansion is released? LE GASP!!

Full agreement here. This is just statistical manipulation for headlines.

TOTAL REVENUE which would include what? Oh, MoP purchases. That flat $30-60 (or however much it was going for) on top of subscription fees and people coming back to the game to see how MoP pans out.

It has been steadily declining and this month they have made 54% less revenue than the month MoP came out... fucking fancy that.

Eh, the writing's been on the wall for a good long while now: WoW is FINALLY in it's autumn days. I got out right at the end of Burning Crusade and everything I've heard about it since implied that I really didn't miss much since leaving. I would have liked to have seen how Arthas' story as the Lich King ended, but due to various reasons I could no longer justify spending the money on the subscription. Cataclysm just seemed like a major ass-pull to keep the gravy train rolling, and Mists of Pandaria seemed like an even BIGGER ass-pull seeing as how it was based on what was originally an April Fools Joke.

I won't deny I had a great time for the years that I put into it, but it seems clear to me that things have been going downhill for a while now and I'd say that statement is validated judging by the loss of subscriptions/revenue.

thebobmaster:

walrusaurus:
and lo, another object lesson in how statistics can be used to push virtually any poV imaginable. Whats that you say? An mmo at the middle/end of an expansion cycle makes significantly less money than the month that said expansion is released? LE GASP!!

Everyone knows wow is declining, but regardless its still the biggest cock on the block and Activision will stop releasing expac for it around the same time they stop making annual Call of Duty cash grabs

It declining isn't that big of a surprise, and hardly newsworthy. What makes this newsworthy is the size of the decline. I wouldn't have been surprised by even a 15-20% decline, for the reasons you mentioned. But losing more than half of its revenue in seven months? That's a huge decline, even factoring in the expansion pack revenue boost.

Not really. They took their first measurement at a peak point, right as an XPac released. The normal surge from an Xpac only lasts 3-6 months. So it shows one side of a spike and the steady decline afterwards. Notice that they showed a "9 month" sample? When was the last time you ever saw a study of a 9 month period? Don't they most commonly go the full 12 months? And why wouldn't this one? The data was certainly there.

One of the first signs of some sort of manipulation or agenda is unusual data time periods or framing. Studies that start or stop at odd time moments or don't line up to actual accounting calenders.

LetalisK:
I'm going to assume they're either horrible at their jobs or are trying to skew it so they can come out with the shocking headline about WoW dying and get more notoriety for their "amazing" analysis.

Well, you know the first rule of contemporary journalism "When doing a piece, fuck facts and context, go for the traffic for your site".

RJ 17:
Eh, the writing's been on the wall for a good long while now: WoW is FINALLY in it's autumn days. I got out right at the end of Burning Crusade and everything I've heard about it since implied that I really didn't miss much since leaving. I would have liked to have seen how Arthas' story as the Lich King ended, but due to various reasons I could no longer justify spending the money on the subscription. Cataclysm just seemed like a major ass-pull to keep the gravy train rolling, and Mists of Pandaria seemed like an even BIGGER ass-pull seeing as how it was based on what was originally an April Fools Joke.

I won't deny I had a great time for the years that I put into it, but it seems clear to me that things have been going downhill for a while now and I'd say that statement is validated judging by the loss of subscriptions/revenue.

I do gota say you really missed out on Wrath. That was the peak of WoW for me both content and actual play. But yeh after that I felt it just wasn't as good, I played both xpacs after it. Mists was a real let down once the polish is worn off. WoW's more of a grind than its ever been. I'm glad its waning to the end times.

Abomination:
Full agreement here. This is just statistical manipulation for headlines.

How else is a marketing firm reporting trends in the digital sales realm (where much of the data is sealed off like it's radioactive) going to justify its existence? Facts?

Ha! I say ha!

Quaxar:
No positive news from the old WoW front anymore. But about time I'd say, I can't even imagine people still playing that game.
Personally I couldn't stand that tedious, boring thing after only a week, so I find it hard to believe someone would put several years into it. Not that I complain if you do... but it's about time WoW stepped down from its outdated throne and let other into the spotlight.

No positive news??? The new patch was released yesterday, the servers were crowded once again.

Zachary Amaranth:

Abomination:
Full agreement here. This is just statistical manipulation for headlines.

How else is a marketing firm reporting trends in the digital sales realm (where much of the data is sealed off like it's radioactive) going to justify its existence? Facts?

Ha! I say ha!

The problem is these are facts BUT in context the picture they're attempting to draw isn't as extreme as what is actually going on.

Siege is good fun and this is probally been planned for by those big dogs of gaming. New Expansion will probally be anouced soon anyhow.

Abomination:

Zachary Amaranth:

Abomination:
Full agreement here. This is just statistical manipulation for headlines.

How else is a marketing firm reporting trends in the digital sales realm (where much of the data is sealed off like it's radioactive) going to justify its existence? Facts?

Ha! I say ha!

The problem is these are facts BUT in context the picture they're attempting to draw isn't as extreme as what is actually going on.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Even though Blizzard's cocaine train is eventually going to run dry, it isn't going to do so quite as quickly as the OP would suggest.

Also "over the past seven months" isn't toootally true. The most recent data is from April, which was another five months ago.
Which the second reply helpfully pointed out.

Edit: For those keeping score, the Mists of Pandaria release date was 25 Sept. 2012.

Further edit:

Even though the graph shows really not very much, dicking about in MS paint seems to give:
Roughly a 25% decline in TR from Sept to Oct.
Around 21% decline from Oct to Nov
7% decline from Nov to Dec
12% decline from Dec to Jan
And then roughly constant from there.

Multiplying those changes gives a ~52% decline from Sept. to Jan.

Abomination:
The problem is these are facts BUT in context the picture they're attempting to draw isn't as extreme as what is actually going on.

They're facts insomuch as a company with limited information guesses something and portrays it as belief can be considered "fact."

People should be less certain about them, since they're not exactly ripe with certainty themselves.

King Kazma:

RJ 17:
Eh, the writing's been on the wall for a good long while now: WoW is FINALLY in it's autumn days. I got out right at the end of Burning Crusade and everything I've heard about it since implied that I really didn't miss much since leaving. I would have liked to have seen how Arthas' story as the Lich King ended, but due to various reasons I could no longer justify spending the money on the subscription. Cataclysm just seemed like a major ass-pull to keep the gravy train rolling, and Mists of Pandaria seemed like an even BIGGER ass-pull seeing as how it was based on what was originally an April Fools Joke.

I won't deny I had a great time for the years that I put into it, but it seems clear to me that things have been going downhill for a while now and I'd say that statement is validated judging by the loss of subscriptions/revenue.

I do gota say you really missed out on Wrath. That was the peak of WoW for me both content and actual play. But yeh after that I felt it just wasn't as good, I played both xpacs after it. Mists was a real let down once the polish is worn off. WoW's more of a grind than its ever been. I'm glad its waning to the end times.

Yeah I also enjoyed the Wrath era the most. I wish blizzard would implement servers that allowed you to play the latest versions of vanilla wow, burning crusade, wrath and cataclysm, each with maximum level characters and some decent gear. Would just be cool to be able to revisit some of that content.

thebobmaster:

walrusaurus:
and lo, another object lesson in how statistics can be used to push virtually any poV imaginable. Whats that you say? An mmo at the middle/end of an expansion cycle makes significantly less money than the month that said expansion is released? LE GASP!!

Everyone knows wow is declining, but regardless its still the biggest cock on the block and Activision will stop releasing expac for it around the same time they stop making annual Call of Duty cash grabs

It declining isn't that big of a surprise, and hardly newsworthy. What makes this newsworthy is the size of the decline. I wouldn't have been surprised by even a 15-20% decline, for the reasons you mentioned. But losing more than half of its revenue in seven months? That's a huge decline, even factoring in the expansion pack revenue boost.

Except that the 60% decline is comparing it to a month in which there was a boxed product (ie the expansion) being sold for 40 box per sub. So in the month its using as a baseline a large portion of the subscriber base was paying 3.5x what they would in a normal month. A more realistic representation of wows fortunes is their subscriber numbers, which -while down- not anywhere near 60 percent. Even if you measure it over the last 4 years from its peak its only down 30%

Quaxar:
No positive news from the old WoW front anymore. But about time I'd say, I can't even imagine people still playing that game.
Personally I couldn't stand that tedious, boring thing after only a week, so I find it hard to believe someone would put several years into it. Not that I complain if you do... but it's about time WoW stepped down from its outdated throne and let other into the spotlight.

But why would it, if it's still holding the throne? Would anyone honestly do the same in their position? I mean, I think they're really milking the game for every last drop, but in a business view, it makes sense and it would be a really bad move to just move over and let others claim the throne.

There's just something especially awful about a market setting wherein subscription fees aren't enough, and unscrupulous publishers/developers will further exploit and fleece even their most loyal fans, though at least the latter makes sense since the most loyal are the most likely to allow themselves to be hosed.Xbox Live got has mastered this, selling things that are absolutely useless for the "bargain price" of $5 or more in some cases. Kickstarter, people throwing money away for vaporware or worse.

I just can't make sense of any of it. It's an individual's money to spend as they see fit, but spending it with such careless frivolity only hurts the rest of us, because as long as there are people willing to be fleeced fleecing will continue to be acceptable, leaving principle out in the cold and the mentality that it's okay to be squeezed for every cent, that we should thank the developers, and wanting not to be hung by our heels and shaken free of our cash to access gated content equate entitlement. Damned if I'm ever paying a cent for DLC cheat codes or reskins when those things were standard in SNES era games.

As for WoW, I'm just glad I got out when I did. Wasn't all bad, but it was not worth the invested time and effort.

[/soapbox]

If it goes free to play, I certainly will get back into it. If nothing else than just to do some good old pvp.

But, I'm poor and 15$ a month is far beyond what I would like to pay. Shame too! Considering how much Pandaria is .

I'm kinda glad WoW is losing its popularity and allows other games to expand. If this continues we may revert back to pre-WoW years where we had several big games for different audiences instead of one behemoth that dominates the market. Don't get me wrong WoW is a good game but it ruined the market for a decade.

Quaxar:
No positive news from the old WoW front anymore. But about time I'd say, I can't even imagine people still playing that game.
Personally I couldn't stand that tedious, boring thing after only a week, so I find it hard to believe someone would put several years into it. Not that I complain if you do... but it's about time WoW stepped down from its outdated throne and let other into the spotlight.

Putting my hope in Elder Scrolls Online. I will admit that the latest patch notes did make me briefly tempted to boot it up again, then I read up on the raiding changes and just went "Meh."

For me and some of the more... hardcore crowd? part of the appeal was getting shit that is incredibly hard to get. Getting together with a large group of dudes at 7pm and raiding until 1, getting some shiny loot and going "Yeah, I got the glowing thingy with the big numbers, what you got?"

Its... Well, I could go into the sociology of why people like it so much. And the psychology. But honestly, I am just waiting to turn those thoughts into my thesis, or one of them (Double major, gotta write two of the bastards.).

WoW is a strange beast. The thought of it dying does sorta make me happy, maybe someone new will be able to conquer the MMO king throne, but it also worries me. Because if nothing new manages to dominate the market like WoW did we will end up with no game large enough to have a community of that scale. Stuff like Eve does have a community but it is a very niche community.

I guess I am saying I would be happy to see WoW killed but less happy to see it die. If ESO comes out and annihilates it, I will be a very happy person.

Gives me and my bro more people to toy with as Khajit. Everyone knows cats like playing with their food.

It takes a "Market Intelligence" firm to point out that 12 million customers dropping to 7 million is going to halve your revenue?

I thought this news was obvious; I didn't think anyone needed any kind of commerce degree to deduce this.

I personally find it kind of amusing how the article mentions Activision Blizzard is in no danger of dying anytime soon. They've been running WoW for a decade now making money hand over fist, but I'm sure they are aware it won't last forever and have plans for the future, I don't think WoW is going to shut down one day and Blizzard with it.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here