Are we really going to go through this again?

Francis sits down and opens his browser to the homepage to catch up on the latest news from MMO Champion.

“Oh my God, WoW lost 1.3 million subscribers since last quarter! I knew it, I knew it! I’m bored, Bob’s bored, this dude I hang with in guild is bored, so WoW MUST be dying, it’s all over, this is the death spiral down the toilet bowl, I bet Blizzard won’t ever even put out a new expansion, because WoW is so dead! I knew it, I’ve been saying it since Pandaland released, this game sucks, man.”

Joey wanders into the room, holding a Red Bull. He’s been Francis’ roommate going on four years now, and he’s used to hearing shouting coming from the game room. Joey sees Francis has MMO Champ up on the screen. Again.

“Hey Joey, are you going to go to Blizzcon this year?”

Francis spins his chair around, scraggly facial hair bristling in frustration. “No, the damn tickets were sold out 5 seconds after they went on sale, and I couldnt’ hit refresh fast enough to get in the queue. Totally sucks, man. I so wanted to go and get drunk with the rest of the guild, most of them are going to be there.”

“Whoa dude, the rest of your guild got tickets?”

“Naw, but a bunch of them are going anyway, there’s gonna be a lot of parties and stuff with people that play. All sorts of parties away from the con. I ought to go anyway, man, like, I might be able to meet Anne Stickney and get an autograph!”

Ahem.

Let’s get down to the core fundamentals, here.

“WoW is dead”, and “Blizzcon tickets sell out in 5 seconds” are not necessarily mutually exclusive headlines.

Still.

A reasonable person might want to take a deep breath, and try not to read too much into the subscription figures. Just maybe kinda possibly.

When something like subscription figures are released, you have a fine example of news that can be used by anyone to trot out their own personal opinion and spin some kind of bullshit about the numbers proving whatever they happen to believe in.

Before you get too caught up in the whole thing, here’s what I think we could all stand to do.

Stop, take a nice cleansing breath, and ask yourself this simple question.

“Am I having fun playing WoW?”

If the answer is yes, then congratulations. The numbers don’t mean shit to you. You can go. Toddle off, have fun, see you in game.

If the answer is no, and you want to blame something outside of yourself for the lack of fun, then congratulations are also in order. Now you’ve got some numbers to ‘prove’ that however you feel about the game, there are 1.3 million other people out there who share your feelings, and that’s why they quit.

Oh yeah. World of Warcraft is dead. Stick a fork in it.

And while we’re at it, for those of you going, have fun at Blizzcon, I wish I was able to join you! I’ll be watching from the streaming online video feed, so wear a bear tank shirt for me!

14 Responses to “WoW Is Dying? What, Again?”
  1. Edohiguma says:

    WoW still has what? 10 million subs? Heck, even if it was 5 million, they’d still be the #1 MMORPG on the planet. Only Blizzard will kill WoW.

    I want to go to Blizzcon one day. Maybe. Once I’m done with college, probably after the doctorate. Until then Blizzcon is out of question. It’s always at the time of the year when I’m busy.

  2. DeGei says:

    I hate how EVERY time the subscription numbers drop we get the “WoW is dying” thing. It mostly Asia that the numbers drop in the lulls between content. America and Europe are fairly stable.

    You know how I feel, you listen to Group Quest after all.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      “do you have any thoughts on this, DeGei?”

      Never, ever heard said on Group Quest. Like, ever.

  3. Neil says:

    I work in the gaming industry (software engineer for a major gaming company), and I would love to know what planet these people live on where a game with 8.3 million paying subscribers is considered “dead.”

    For perspective, we consider a million-dollar-day for a game to be very successful. Assuming 8.3 million players at $10/month (to factor in lower costs in Asia), that’s $2.75M/day. That is a whole freaking lotof money for a game to make.

  4. dimli says:

    Not I think WoW is dying or I disagree in anyway, but there is a lot more at BlizzCon than just WoW. Blizzard recently announced a whole new SC2 tournament structure this year with the Grand Finals held at BlizzCon this year. The new Diablo Expansion will for sure be discussed/demoed (not that too many people care too much about Diablo anymore.)

    And there are still rumors that Titan will be at least reviled what it is going to be, maybe a trailer, maybe game footage, maybe nothing?

    WoW is still the primary game at BlizzCon but even if it was truly dead, they would sell out BlizzCon (maybe not in 5 mins though)

  5. Orv says:

    The only thing that worries me is what Vivendi will do in response to the news. Activision’s annual Risk disclosure includes:

    “If consumer demand for World of Warcraft games continue to decline and we do not introduce new MMORPG products or add other sources of revenue, our financial condition could suffer. Additionally, if new technologies are developed that replace MMORPGs, consumer preferences trend away from MMORPGs or new business models emerge that offer online subscriptions for free or at a substantial discount to current MMORPG subscription fees, our revenue and profitability may decline. Additionally, if general economic conditions decline, consumers may decrease their discretionary spending on entertainment items such as MMORPGs and users may choose not to renew their World of Warcraft subscriptions. ”

    Given that Vivendi is talking about selling their massive 62% controlling share in Activision/Blizzard holdings the news that the profitability of one of Activision’s core properties is down by a substantial percent has the potential to prompt dumb moves on their part.

  6. Neri says:

    I wrote a post earlier in the week talking about the subscriber decline (Who hasn’t written one at this point) and many of the people I spoke to are like me and may not be playing at the moment, but we don’t think WoW is dying. If anything, everyone agreed that WoW is “home”. One commentator even had this great analogy:

    But it really is like how you get tired of your hometown and the same ol’ boring routine and decide to go on vacation… and then two weeks later you just want to get back to your own place, with your own bed, your own bathroom, your own couch, and your own computer because no matter what, home is home. -Khizzara

    That attitude really matches up with where we are in the expansion cycle.

    What I found interesting when reading up on the sub decline was that most of the people screaming “WoW is dead!” were self proclaimed haters. I can’t help but wonder if they too still think of it as home, because why else would people who “haven’t played that game since TBC” still be reading articles about it?

    Great post :)

  7. Dovius says:

    I’ve never found it hard to respond to people who go “Wah! WoW is dying!”, because it can be countered by a single sentence:

    In a market where even a damn Star Wars MMO that let’s you play as a Jedi/Sith went F2P within a year, Blizzard is still pulling in 8.3 million subs, and even the relatively small portion of their playerbase that they lost is more paying players than your average MMO has.

    Hell, most of the losses they had were from Asia, a place with an MMO market so saturated that even the small fragment of releases there that you hear about on a weekly basis outnumber the number of western MMO’s currently in development that I can name if you gave me an hour of research by 3-to-1 odds.

  8. Palladia says:

    I love this attitude, the whole “Let’s stick our head in the sand!” thing. Look, I get it. 8.3 million. But when you start losing over a million subs in a QUARTER OF those number? Then you REALLY need to open your eyes. I don’t subscribe to the “WoW is dying” theory, don’t get me wrong, but you can’t just ignore numbers because you don’t like them. WoW is bleeding like a stuck pig right now and at this rate it won’t steady out for a good while.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      Sure I can ignore numbers, when people use them to prove whatever point they want to make.

      I love this attitude, the whole “The Asian market isn’t playing in as many numbers as before so the game is doomed in the US and EU” thing.

      I can ignore whatever I want when people make bullshit statements and think citing numbers without understanding increases credibility.

  9. Geoff says:

    So I just quit WoW … again.

    Did it in Wrath after I killed the LK, did it in Cata after I killed DW. So this is nothing new, except that this time I quit before the last boss of an expansion was out. I don’t assume that means WoW is dying; I assume, rather, that my tastes are changing, and that I’m more engaged in real life these days. I figure WoW has another expansion left in it, maybe 2, or 3, or who knows, even 4.

    Will I be back when another expansion comes out? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not.

    So I know the feeling of quitting WoW, and coming back to it when something changes; the feeling of putting my 15 bucks a month somewhere else for awhile.

    I’m sure the rumors of WoW’s impending death are Chicken Little squeaks, but … are you saying (Mister Bear Butt) that this isn’t even a flesh wound? Because 1M seems like a serious (non-fatal) gash to me, even if it still leaves 8M playing. I mean … if it were blood, that’s kinda like giving a pint of it.

    Does WoW need some juice and a cookie?

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