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Posts with tag subscriptions

World of Warcraft earns over $1 billion a year

According to statistics from SuperData Research, World of Warcraft still dominates the MMO market with 36% market share. The game raked in just over a billion dollars in revenue in 2013, putting it well ahead of its nearest competition -- $253 million for NCSoft's 1998 title Lineage. The ranking of top subscription titles suggests that MMOs need staying power -- WoW is nearly 10 years old and Lineage is 16 -- and a strong Asian presence -- the top 3 are all big titles in Asia -- to sustain them over the long haul.

However, even though WoW continues to pull in strong subscription numbers, the industry has seen the subscription model declining sharply while microtransaction revenue has been on an upswing. With both a healthy subscriber base and its own microtransaction strategy, WoW seems prepared to succeed no matter which direction the industry goes. However, the overall subscription trend begs the question: will we ever see a free-to-play version of WoW? Blizzard has said no, and with subscription stats like this we can see why.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Activision earnings call offers more insight on WoW subscriber losses

In addition to the news that Titan may not be subscription-based, today's Activision investor call also shed some light on WoW's most recent round of subscriber losses. Blizzard says that the subscriber loss was more or less evenly split between Eastern and Western markets, which is to say that they've lost subscribers in North America, Europe, and Asia. However, patch 5.2 and 5.3 both had a positive impact on subscriber numbers and Blizzard is working on making returning to the game easier for players who have left.

While there's been a lot of panic over the subscriber losses, Blizzard isn't throwing in the towel yet: in this call they assured everyone that they're committed to the World of Warcraft playerbase (that's us!) in spite of the subscriber downturn and other projects like Titan on the horizon.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Breakfast Topic: Sorting out multiple-account and -character finances

Let's face it, the way we pay for WoW affects the way we play the game. So for us WoW-playing families, altaholics, and multiboxers, how about brainstorming some ways to nudge Blizzard into offering solid multiple-account discounts? Every single member of my family has played WoW at some point, and we might reactivate some of those accounts if there were a discount designed to keep family groups on the active rosters together.

Of course, any discount system would need a way to prevent farmers and groups of players from trying to co-op their way to cheaper subscriptions. I believe there's currently a limit on how many accounts can be paid by a single credit card. What other checks and balances could you put on a discount system to keep it fair? Can we think of ways to set reasonable limits without requiring onerous levels of identification and verification?

And what about the economics of server transfers? It seems logical that there be a financially reasonable alternative for moving an entire realm's worth of characters from one realm to another -- or at least some discount for multiple characters. I know so many players who categorically rule out transfers that would improve their quality of life (scheduling, realm population, raiding groups, friendships...) because they can't afford to move all the characters they've grown to love. Give us your ideas! Because when it comes to our characters in WoW, it unfortunately takes more than love to keep us together.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

World of Warcraft profits on the rise in China

Sister site Massively reported earlier today that World of Warcraft isn't just doing fine in China, it's doing extremely well. According to Gamasutra, the Chinese WoW operator NetEase just posted its Q3 revenue for the year, and the profits are doing nothing but rising. This is a little surprising given the information from the Activision Blizzard investor call earlier this month, which reported a loss of subscribers, mainly in the east.

Regardless, NetEase posted revenues of 2.0 billion Chinese yuan, up 39.8% -- a substantial number. In China, it seems that World of Warcraft is still a force to be reckoned with, dropping subscriber numbers or not.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

PAX East 2010: Turbine on renting vs. owning in the MMO market

Blizzard's presence at PAX East 2010 was even smaller than I was expecting, with two or so Community reps there to oversee the StarCraft II tournaments going on. Boston-based Lord of the Rings Online developer Turbine, though, had a very large demo area which saw a lot of traffic over the course of the three-day event. Con-goers could stop by and demo LotRO, as well as Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, and hobnob with the Community reps and developers present.

With the WoW-specific news at the event registering somewhere between "literally nothing" and "nearly nothing" on the newsy scale, I decided to stop by Turbine and ask them a few questions about their MMOs. I ended up speaking with their Design Director, Ian Currie.

"I'm from WoW.com," I said, "so obviously I don't normally do a lot of reporting on your games. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever even played DDO, and I've only played a little bit of LotRO."

Currie smiled and said "You really don't know what you're missing, then, do you!"

"Apparently not," I acquiesced, "but maybe you can help fill in the blanks."

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Filed under: Events, Interviews

China's GAPP halts WoW review, calls collecting subscriptions "illegal behavior"

Just when NetEase was finally getting back to business in China (they were even planning for a Wrath release next month), they hit a huge snag: China's General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) office has apparently halted their review of the game and told the company to stop collecting subscriptions and signing up new subscribers. They've also passed on the company's application to go into business, and have called the new subscription signups "illegal behavior," threatening even suspension of the company's Internet service.

We're not sure what happens from here -- an official from the country's Ministry of Culture has also said that the suspension of the review is "not appropriate," especially since the content under review had already been approved while the game was being run by The9, which may mean that it will be overturned just as quickly as it went down (and the game will be back in business before long). On the other hand, Netease may have jumped the gun -- they've been collecting subscriptions for a while, which they apparently weren't supposed to do without official GAPP approval (and we've heard before that GAPP might just want to delay the release of foreign games as long as possible). We'll keep an eye on the issue -- most analysts are saying that despite the threats, this is just another roadbump for NetEase, and they should still be back to collecting payments for the game soon.

Update: Stranger and stranger -- NetEase has released a statement saying they've gotten no official word from GAPP outside of the official press release. When you consider that along with the Ministry of Culture's comments, it seems that the government isn't quite sure whether they're approving the content or not.

Filed under: Realm News, Patches, News items, Expansions, The Burning Crusade

WoW Insider Show Episode 85: Appeasing the Ret Monkey

A good time was had as always on last weekend's WoW Insider Show -- Adam Holisky kindly stepped into the broadcasting booth with Turpster and I, and we answered some emails (including whether it's OK to give cloth drops to leather wearers, as long as it's an upgrade, and more on which tanking class is the best to take with you), and talked turkey on the biggest stories in the World of Warcraft. We chatted about what might be in store for the next content patch and expansion, what's up with WoW's numbers still going up, and what's new with Wintergrasp in 3.1. We also had a straight-from-the-scene report about the PETA event -- stay tuned for more about that later today.

And we got some interesting Ret Monkey pictures -- the one to the right is by Hydralol of EU Magtheridon, and the other one in the gallery below is by Abbort from Hellscream. Both of these, and any other pictures that you can come up with of the Ret Monkey or any of us who work on the show can be eligible for our Fan Art contest, so enter that if you'd like.

Finally, we have rounded 6,000 followers on our Twitter account, and we're headed to 9,000 -- as we say on the show, it would be great if we could hit that by our 100th show, and combine everything into one big party-down spectacular. So tell your twitterfriends, especially those interested in WoW, to give us a follow. They (and you) won't regret it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasts, Podcasting, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Fan art, WoW Insider Show

How to avoid automatic subscription renewal


As most of us know, WoW credit card subscription plans in the US and Europe are auto-renewing. If I sign up for one month at $14.99, as soon as that month is up, Blizzard immediately re-bills my credit card and signs me up for another month. This is problematic for some people, who may want to switch to a game card at the end of the month, or who simply might not want their cards to be automatically billed.

Fortunately, there's an easy solution: cancel your account. Yep, just push that big red button (well, actually, it's a smallish grey button, but you get the idea). You'll still get to play until the time you've paid for runs out. And since Blizzard retains your character and account info indefinitely, you don't have to worry about your characters getting deleted. At the end of the time you've paid for, when you try to log in, you'll get a notice that your pre-paid time has been used up, at which point you can go on the web site and add whatever payment method you like.

I've used this method many times myself. It's only a few extra clicks, and if you want to have more control over how you get billed, it's definitely worth considering, even if it does make the peons cry.

Filed under: Tricks, Blizzard

Breakfast topic: Account count

I'm not sure how many World of Warcraft subscriptions are currently active. The popularity of the game skyrocketed and then seems to have leveled off. Player numbers have certainly been bolstered by the Recruit-a-Friend promotion. I'm not convinced that it has actually brought any new players into the game. I know several people who begun additional accounts under this new scheme, and a handful of players that have returned to the game. I'm sure there are some new rookies, but they're a fraction of the new accounts.

I'm working on my third account. My friend with recruitment benefits and I have been soaring through the levels. I was planning on starting a third account come Wrath anyway, but now seems like as good of a time as any.

How many accounts do you have?
None, I read WoW Insider for the articles332 (2.8%)
One is enough for me8566 (71.9%)
Two, but I had both before Recruit-a-Friend1518 (12.7%)
Two, triple XP is too hard to resist751 (6.3%)
Three or Four457 (3.8%)
Five, I like to round out my own party104 (0.9%)
More than five, don't be jealous179 (1.5%)

Filed under: Polls, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Leveling, Alts

Vivendi earning statement hints WotLK to be released in second half of 2008

Vivendi earning statements announced today hint that Wrath of the Lich King is expected to be released the second half of 2008. This would also fit into dates that we've seen on sites like Amazon and Gamestop.

This is also significant in that it's the first time an official confirmation of a release time frame has come out. And being that this is the data sent to Vivendi investors, it comes with a good bit of clout.

Additionally, the statement tells us that World of Warcraft now has 10.7 million subscribers, up from 10 million at the end of 2007.

The exact paragraph in the statement is after the break. And of course, stay tuned to WoW Insider for all the latest Wrath of the Lich King news.

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Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

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