During it?s prime, World of Warcraft had 12 million subscribers during 2010.
Since 2010, data that has been reported to show us the number of subscribers has decreased down to 1.7 million subscribers (as of October 2018). What has caused Blizzard?s numbers to drop so low?
One article on VentureBeat claims that games such as the card game Hearthstone and multi-player shooter Overwatch (also Blizzard games) have been very popular since their releases.
Other sources lead us to assume that expansion packs are the reason to blame. With each expansion pack, Blizzard would release new content with the pack to keep faithful subscribers entertained. Many of the first expansion packs were well-received. The sixth installment, Warlords of Draenor (2014), received criticism for not having enough new content. Past expansions would release three or four content patches, including new dungeons, raids, zones or even races or classes. Warlords of Draenor only had two new content patches, leaving committed players displeased.
Player reviews and blogs online hit the Warlords of Draenor expansion pretty hard with criticism. One article from an Editor-in-chief at AIPT! explains his reasons why he isn?t an avid World of Warcraft player since the expansion.
?Competitive PVP officially doesn?t exist anymore in this expansion.? The author explains that during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, he played PVP in WoW all the time. In the Warlords of Draenor expansion pack, Blizzard did not create any new PVP or Battlegrounds arenas for PVP players to challenge each other in. If we know anything about video games, we know that we need new content to keep us playing in this day and age.
With the sixth expansion, Blizzard raised the price for the new expansion, $39.99 to $49.99, when this expansion included the least amount of content than past expansions.
So the question is, was the poor content structure of expansion packs to blame?
Below is a graph showing the number of subscribers based on which expansion pack was the newest at the time. We see the Wrath of the Lich King having 12 million subscribers. Many people who were committed to WoW (or still are) say they spent many hours playing the games during this expansion or the Burning Crusade. When Warlords of Draenor was released, we see the number of subscribers drop to 5.5 million, and they stay around the 5.5 million mark since the 2014 release of Warlords.
We see a rise of subscribers each time a new expansion is released, but how many of these people stay with the game?
The seventh installment, Legion, sold 3.3 million copies on the first day. The newest expansion pack, Battle for Azeroth, sold 3.4 million copies on the first day. Still good numbers, but what we’re focused on here is how many people actually stay as faithful players to the game. The latest data reported on October 15th, 2018, says that World of Warcraft only has 1.7 million subscribers to date. This is a big drop from 12 million in 2010.
World of Warcraft is one of the biggest and best-selling MMORPG?s on the market. I remember many of my friends throughout middle school and high school committed a lot of their free time to this game. The question is though, what made that change?