It seems that every new MMORPG wants to bill itself as a "WoW
killer." From Lord of the Rings Online
to Age of Conan
to (most recently) RIFT
, everyone wants a piece of the most popular subscription-based MMORPG of all time.
To date, World of Warcraft
has weathered the competition. Its subscriber numbers have reached an all-time high (now over 12 million
), with its latest Cataclysm
expansion selling nearly 5 million copies
in the first month alone. The game should remain popular and successful for years to come. Still, even Blizzard admits: It can't stay on top forever.
So what happens when the game starts losing a significant amount of its subscriber base? If what happened to Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online
and Dungeons and Dragons Online
is any clue, World of Warcraft
might move to a free-to-play model. Since switching to free-to-play, both of Turbine's games added subscribers and increased revenues
This past weekend, I sat in on the free-to-play MMO panel held at the PAX East 2011 conference in Boston. Afterward, I caught up with Robert Ferrari, VP of Publishing and Business Development for Sanrio Digital (Hello Kitty Online
), to discuss WoW
. We discussed the free-to-play industry and whether or not World of Warcraft
could eventually find a place in it.
to be looking at a free-to-play model currently," Ferrari theorized.
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Filed under: News items, Rumors