World of Warcraft earns about four times as much as nearest rival MMO

superdata_subscriptions

By on July 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm

World of Warcraft brings in about $1.04 billion annually worldwide, according to a report from digital games analyst firm Superdata, which draws on information collected by developers, publishers and payment portals.

That’s about four times as much as its closest rivals, Lineage ($253 million) and TERA ($236 million). The next two titles on the list are Star Wars: The Old Republic ($165 million) and Lord of the Rings Online ($104 million), followed by EVE Online ($93 million), Aion ($88 million), Blade and Souls ($65 million), Lineage 2 ($45 million) and RIFT ($36 million).

These figures aren’t from subscriptions alone; in addition to revenue from expansions and DLC, many titles offer a hybrid business model catering to free-to-play players, or sell vanity items, boosts and other microtransaction items.

Superdata found that overall, subscription numbers have dropped from 30.6 million in 2010 to 23.4 million subscribers this year.

Source: GI.biz

22 comments (Leave your own)

I wonder where ESO would sit on this list?

 
Anon. E. Moose

dylz52,

Nowhere, considering it’s referring to 2013 revenue and TESO only came out three months ago.

 

That’s crazy. With NCsoft owning 4 of the 10 games on that list their combined income of 451 still isn’t half of what Blizzard makes that’s ridiculous. On the other hand I’m glad Rift is on the list even if it is at number 10 because Rift is probably my favourite MMO out there.

 

This is last years figures..

Wonder how GW2′s model is going for them.. (also NCSoft)

 

Subscription based, first in (market share), Nintendo like feel to it, palatable to a wide demographic, Blizzard… not sure what else it has going for it.

Yeah wouldnt mind seeing further down that list I mean 36mill is still a fair amount of profit and at only 1% market share.

 

WoW is dead and they totally need to go free to play to survive right guys ?

I don’t think we’re going to see F2P for awhile yet if they’re still pulling in numbers like this.

 

spooler: WoW is dead and they totally need to go free to play to survive right guys ?

I don’t think we’re going to see F2P for awhile yet if they’re still pulling in numbers like this.

Everyone always says “numbers are declining” and neglects to mention that it’s at the end of an expansions life… numbers go right back up when one comes out.

I doubt GW2 is going so well, there’s not much of a market share for dress up barbie aimed at adults.

 

nekosan,

While you are correct in saying that active subscriptions decline towards the end of an expansion and rise when new ones are released, the fact is that WoW hasn’t come near its peak since the start of Cataclysm. If the graph below is accurate, MoP peaked at ~10 million active subscriptions during it’s release (~2million less than WoW’s peak/start of Cataclysm), and only grew the current active subscriptions by ~900k.

These are still good numbers, and as the article highlights, are very profitable, but by definition, it is declining, and at quite a rapid rate. Warlords of Draenor may bring a similar number of players back that MoP did, but I’d be highly surprised if it exceeded 9million, much less the approximately 12million peak over it’s life time.

 

nekosan,

I dunno I think they’re going to have a serious problem next Xpack because there’s just nothing that’s going to appeal to people … other than maybe nostalgia for outland.

 

spooler:

I dunno I think they’re going to have a serious problem next Xpack because there’s just nothing that’s going to appeal to people … other than maybe nostalgia for outland.

I can remember when they made a blue announcement during WOTLK saying that the next exp (i think they were talking emerald dream at the time) would be the final one. I guess the restart on Titan fooked over their plans/timeline because since then they’ve just been making the game worse and worse… the things that made me love it are mostly gone now. Took one look at Cata and /noped the hell right out of there.

I think the decline is also part of a trend for the whole genre, the MMO is not what it used to be. Changing the target audience chasing money (who can blame them) has left the whole genre pretty well screwed, they aren’t nailing the game design down correctly any more because they’re chasing too many revenue streams.

It’s also partly to do with gamers perceptions changing, we’re so screwed for choice now that there’s just too many other games we could be sampling. I know I used to spent 5-11/12 every night raiding/questing etc and these days I just can’t be bothered. Spending 5+ hours a night in one game, even if the alternative is just watching shows and browsing the net, is just too much for me and spending only an hour or so in an MMO just has no appeal.

I really do wonder if there will be any such thing in 10 years time. They removed the social aspect from pretty much every MMO so what’s the motivation to play them rather than something else?

 

nekosan: I think the decline is also part of a trend for the whole genre, the MMO is not what it used to be. Changing the target audience chasing money (who can blame them) has left the whole genre pretty well screwed, they aren’t nailing the game design down correctly any more because they’re chasing too many revenue streams.

The game was gaining subs when it was flawed with cookie cutter specs and raiding had very specific class makeup requirements. The moment they tried to cater for every one with different skill levels you saw it plateau then decline.

Sure there were other factors for the decline but for me they removed the biggest reward the game offered, new content. How good was it when you finally killed that boss you have been working on for the last 4 weeks and got to see a new one (kael -> black temple was pretty epic for myself).

The moment they introduced normal/heroic raids in wrath the game died for me – it became a grind for loot and nothing more, you got to see\experience the content, albeit with different numbers and slight mechanic changes, very easily and quickly – it felt empty. That lead to me cancelling my sub.

 

There should always have been one raid out of your reach and when the new one came out the old one became in your reach and then make the final one easier near the end of an expansion.

This is what happend in The Burning Crusade where you got to experience the almost latest stuff and had something to keep going for and you finnally saw it all in the end.

 

nekosan: I can remember when they made a blue announcement during WOTLK saying that the next exp (i think they were talking emerald dream at the time) would be the final one

I think you’re mis-remembering. Because at the time Emerald Dream was being developed we were in vanilla and way back in vanilla they were planning on having expansions up to level 100.

I don’t care about people seeing raids, I hate the fact that server communities are pretty much dead, back in the day I’d get online and would have people that I could talk to and have fun doing random shit with. Now that community just isn’t there, I don’t meet new people when I’m pugging for dungeons I join a Q and never see them again.

 

spooler,

This is the biggest issue with modern day MMOs, and I think it hurts the genre far more than making content more accessible does. I don’t think there will be another MMO the likes of which we know where players will be able to immerse themselves enough that they are willing to give up the convenience of dungeon finders and 100% soloable open world PvE content.

There are two ways I can see getting the social back into the MMO genre. Firstly, systems like Star Wars Galaxies and Vanguard where you could literally skip the combat role altogether if you wanted to, and you still had a meaningful experience. In modern MMOs, everything is sourced from dungeons/raid or non-player gold sink services. You aren’t building emotional connections to NPC XYZ that repairs your gear, but I’m sure you would with a player while you are negotiating prices and deals, especially if their services were in limited supply (because the role is actually meaningful and can’t be maxed in a day/week/month because you bought gold).

Next, VR MMOs (Yeah, I recently finished watching Sword Art Online :P). If you’ve seen the anime or read the manga, you know what I mean. We’re probably a long way off from that level, but nothing is more immersive than actually experiencing things ‘first hand’ (at least mentally you would). This would probably lead to players exhibiting more ‘normal’, face to face/social behaviours like in the real world because they actually have a connection to their character.

In summary, a more player driven game where everything isn’t provided or sourced from AI, with more than one meaningful role , and the implementation of ‘futuristic’ tech for VR MMOs that would enable maximum immersion/emulation of the self, which would, theoretically, lead to an incredibly strong emotional connection not only to your avatar, but the other players in the game world.

 

jjager,

Haven’t played WoW for many years but yeah I kind of agree with your thoughts on the MMO Genre. The problem with big companies is they want to mcdonaldsify games instead of turning them into amazing experiences.

It was only a few years ago I picked up single player games again, which were the mass effect games, then I went into skyrim…and then back to oblivion.

These just offer so much more for me now than multiplayer because of the supposed necessity to dumb down and turn every game mechanic into a different flavoured big mac.

Hopefully, better tech in the future might server as a “reset” or a big rethink of how these games are designed and therefore played.

 

jjager:
spooler,

There are two ways I can see getting the social back into the MMO genre. Firstly, systems like Star Wars Galaxies and Vanguard where you could literally skip the combat role altogether if you wanted to, and you still had a meaningful experience. In modern MMOs, everything is sourced from dungeons/raid or non-player gold sink services. You aren’t building emotional connections to NPC XYZ that repairs your gear, but I’m sure you would with a player while you are negotiating prices and deals, especially if their services were in limited supply (because the role is actually meaningful and can’t be maxed in a day/week/month because you bought gold).

I realise many may not count it, but that pretty much describes how EVE Online operates. Almost *everything* is done by players, and combat is completely optional. Many people devote 100% of their play time manufacturing, exploring, mining or even just transporting.

Haven’t seen a subscription graph for EVE for a while, but it’s kicking along steadily last time I saw. Average numbers logged in seem a bit down at the moment, though. The interesting crunch for CCP will be when Elite Dangerous hits (Star Citizen, perhaps not so much) since a lot of the PvE and non-combat players will likely be attracted to that.

 

mrinku,

It definitely counts, and is no doubt one of the core reasons why it is still going. The only argument I’d make against EVE is that the setting is rather niche (although 24mil in crowd funding for SC may suggest otherwise). If CCP didn’t bungle World of Darkness, and had a similar experience with vampires, werewolves and everything else from that universe, I’d personally be all over it (someone else make this happen!).

To clarify, I am still okay with the PvE and PvP elements of MMOs, even to the point where they are the ‘main’ focus of the world, but for just about every one I can recall, it is the sole focus. Occasionally you will have more advanced trade skill systems, but they generally aren’t that meaningful. They either can be achieved by just about everyone in a relatively short time, provide poor alternatives to PvE/AI drops and services, or have little impact on the game at all.

Final Fantasy XIV allowed you to repair gear through trade skills, but the reagents cost more than repairing through a vendor. FF14 also had HQ greens that required a focus on crafting to achieve, that were better than dungeon/vendor greens/blues, but quickly became obsolete once you started getting raid gear.

What I’d personally love to see, aside from fleshed out and meaningful trade skill systems, is something akin to Sulfuras from vanilla WoW, but on a larger scale. Rare (or guaranteed) material drops from strong/raid bosses that can be crafted into items that rival those provided by the PvE system.

While Sword Art Online is just an anime, manga, and work of fiction (for now), even after you ignore the VR system, it really highlights what an MMO can be, and what they are at the moment. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll see anything like this from Western developers any time soon.

 

As a former wow player with my main with over 1 year of game time I gave it up early Cata. There were a few reasons for this.
Money: I fell on a lean patch for money and those subs were just too much to keep going. I am not sure I can understand why they were and are so high but I guess it is as always has been about money.

Lack of community: after playing for so long I had made friend with many on the server I was playing but by the time I had stopped there were only a few of my real friends left. Most had just stopped playing but others moved onto other servers to guilds who were going for first or very early kills in raids. The ability to PUG most content lost the reason to organize in guilds.

Loss / changes of old content: The removal and or changing of old content while I can understand was needed especially to push the story on it mean much of the history was gone.

Dumbing of content: Progress was made too “easy”. While noone really likes grinding all that much it did at least give you a sense of achievement.

Ruining of PVP: I was a huge PVP BG player with much of my leveling actually happening in battlegrounds than in questing. My main must have gotten at least 30 levels in vanilla just grinding in the battlegrounds. I think the best time for PVP was in vanilla too as all battles were confined to just your server so you got to know your opponent (not directly due to the inability to communicate but by how they played). I got to respect the skills of many of my Hord opponents back then and I would like to think they had some respect for me too. My most favorite thing was the mega AV battles that were actual battles. I remember one day I played on and off for 18 hours and that had already been going some 12+ before hand before we finally managed to win. It meant you actually had to use tack-ticks and smart play to get anywhere which was lost to make things easier and quicker.

Time: This is the major thing for me. I just got to a stage where I had less free time than i did before and my work and social life meant I had less chances to raid.

I have been tempted to go back as see what it is like a few times but never given in yet. I have mostly moved on to playing some FTP MMOs on a very casual basis doing my own thing. Or mostly single player games of which I have many unplayed (thanks steam sales/ humble bundles) and am more interested in doing them for now. I have been really enjoing playing some RPG’s again as they in a way feel like much of what I enjoyed about playing Wow with less of the downsides.

Personally what would get me playing an MMO again on a regular basis again? It would be to give the experience of vanilla wow with all of its challenges and grinding to achieve as well as a large local active community to grow with. I think probably with subs (under $10AU/month) too over FTP as everyone is equal and can’t buy their way to the top. Will thins happen I am not sure but I am sure that is what is needed.

 

brainbeat: Ruining of PVP: I was a huge PVP BG player with much of my leveling actually happening in battlegrounds than in questing. My main must have gotten at least 30 levels in vanilla just grinding in the battlegrounds.

Battlegrounds didn’t use to give us XP :P
But I used to love them Arenas and resilience ruined PvP for me made it feel like a horrific grind IMO.

For me Wrath was perfect pre ICC anyway, you had to group up with people on your server and actually interact with other players to get anywhere. The content was accessible so you didn’t have to grind out fscking attunements if you want to play an alt, but didn’t go so far as to make it so that within 30 minutes you were geared for raiding.

 

spooler,

Yep! They should of just given PvE gear for PvP’ers with slightly different stats (expertise over hit, for example). Now it is two completely different fields and makes it hard to enjoy a quick BG before a raid, simply because you get 2 shot without a comeback because you don’t have PvP Power / resilience.

 
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