Jan 25th 2008 3:06PM "So while the initial losses may not be more than the "paltry several thousand", the loss of players will decrease ever so steadily."
Ahem. I meant increase, ever so steadily.
Jan 25th 2008 3:02PM I hear people saying "Oh, World of Warcraft has 10 million players, who cares if we lose one itty bitty million?" The fact of the matter is that more than half of those 10 million players are actually Asian. "As of January 22, 2008, World of Warcraft has surpassed 10 million subscribers worldwide, with more than 2 million subscribers in Europe, more than 2.5 million in North America, and about 5.5 million in Asia." -quote Wikipedia on World of Warcraft.
My point here is that, if one million Europeans or North Americans choose to leave World of Warcraft for any of the challengers, WoW will lose half of its playerbase in the region. Servers will be bled dry. Just keep that in mind when you speak of the paltry thousands of players who might jump ship.
Another significant aspect of several people jumping ship is the collateral damage aspect. If Age of Conan or Warhammer online turns out to be way more attracting to the average player than World of Warcraft, there is good chance that they will quit WoW and try out a new game. Furthermore, they will recommend the new game to others, dragging their friends and guildmates with them. So while the initial losses may not be more than the "paltry several thousand", the loss of players will decrease ever so steadily.
Of course, all of this is a moot point if neither Warhammer nor Age of Conan actually manages to do better than World of Warcraft. Still, every couple of thousand players shrinks the playerbase, however much some people would like to keep it at the aforementioned 10 million.