Released in 2004, the very popular MMO RPG, World of Warcraft, has been concerned for some time declining player numbers. Activision Blizzard; however, has reported a decline of 14 percent in just three months.
Blame for the deteriorating subscriber numbers of MMO RPGs, according to Activision Blizzard, falls on strong competition from free-to-play titles. Many of these offerings currently enjoy rapidly growing player numbers.
In addition to the increasing lack of subscribers in one of the top Blizzard titles, the company faces a bevy of new challenges, according to Blizzard Chief Executive Bobby Kotick, including new consoles from Microsoft and Sony by the end of the year, as well as the currently less successful Wii U. Following the announcement of the falling numbers of players in WoW, the company’s share price already dropped on Thursday by about five percent.
Whether Blizzard aims to shift towards a free-to-play model for WoW, currently remains open. WoW has always been based on a monthly subscription fee, with which you could buy the bonus items in most free-to-play titles.
In addition, the requirements for MMOs have changed in recent years, according to Blizzard. Thus, the competition between the players stands as the focus of developers. At its peak, WoW was recorded having at least 12 million subscribers. In October 2012, there were still around 10 million active players worldwide, right after the release of the last expansion: “Mists of Pandaria”, of which Blizzard sold at least 2.7 million copies worldwide. Overall, however, the publication was only enough for a short-term increase in player numbers. Since then, every month, fewer users are logging in, and the reign of World of Warcraft is declining.