World of Warcraft: Revenues Drop 54% In 6 Months

I’m pretty surprised at the massive drop in revenue over the past six months.

Over the past nine months, WOW has faced stiff competition from newcomers Neverwinter (reached over 2 million players) and Guild Wars 2 (closing in on 4 million copies sold). Plus, several of the top P2P MMORPGs swapped to a F2P model, drastically increasing their respective player bases (RIFT, SWTOR, TSW, etc.) Even Final Fantasy XIV’s hectic launch will be taking its fair share of customers as hundreds of thousands play concurrently now (so expect 1.5-2 million copies sold).

While I hardly think this is “the end” for WOW, it does feel like the past few years have had less and less interest overall in the franchise. Pandas may not have paid off.

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World of Warcraft

SuperData Research predicts that World of Warcraft is on course toward a microtransactions future.

In April, the subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game made $93 million in revenues, a huge loss from $204 million seven months ago. Blizzard also lost about 1.3 million monthly active users from its Eastern player base.

While introducing microtransactions beyond pets and mounts would help, a total switch to free-to-play would be “too much of a jolt for WoW,” reads a post on SuperData’s blog.

Players are responding to the microtransactions that are available, however, which is a positive sign for Blizzard.

“Despite major declines in total revenues between September 2012 and April 2013, the game has seen an increasing conversion rate for [its] current, add-on, extra-game store, and its microtransaction revenues have held pat overall,” says SuperData. “What it tells us is that dedicated WoW players are interested in — and will spend money on — microtransactions. By bringing this system into the game and allowing for power-ups and performance-based microtransactions, WoW hopes to further entice players to spend.”

Just don’t expect a free-to-play WoW anytime soon.

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