Blizzard still succeeding despite World of Warcraft slide

    
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There’s no doubt that Blizzard took a mighty hit this past quarter as it lost three million World of Warcraft subscribers in the post-expansion, post-holiday period. And while that definitely impacted the company’s bank account, the good news is that success in other areas is softening the blow.

Picking up the slack for the sub loss are Blizzard’s other titles, most notably Hearthstone and Diablo III. Hearthstone recently crossed the 30 million player threshold, while Diablo III recently began its Chinese beta and has already netted over a million in sales from that market.

By diversifying, Blizzard is pulling away from relying as strongly on World of Warcraft as its primary money-maker. Non-World of Warcraft titles accounted for 40% of the studio’s revenue in 2014, a number that is expected to rise to 50% for this year.

[Source: Eurogamer]
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voyddd
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voyddd

SixSixTrample Peregrine_Falcon DrowNoble

Nucleon
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Nucleon

blaaznar Nyres It’s one thing to have ads in the sidebars. It’s another to have an ad, which results in income for Massively, in the body of an article. It gets really close to the advertorial type of content that destroys credibility.

Nucleon
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Nucleon

ArchDevi And of course you’ve spent $0 of your hard earned money on their products then right?

carson63000
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carson63000

DrowNoble carson63000 F2P has been shown to bring in more revenue for a time when a sub game is failing. We’ve never seen a sub game that wasn’t failing (and by “failing”, I mean REALLY failing, not just dropping from being staggeringly enormous to just really huge) attempt a conversion. 

Also WoW never made $2 billion yearly and never had even remotely close to 12 million people paying Western sub fees; that’s why I baked a “half Western, half Asian” guess into my numbers. I think we can assume that revenue is currently a little over half of its peak, as the numbers are.

DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

carson63000 DrowNoble Yes I would.

The reason being is that at its peak of 12 Million subs it was taking in (assuming $15/month subs) over $2 BILLION yearly.  Now at “only” $700 million that means it’s at about 34% of its previous peak.  That’s a huge loss of revenue.  Plus, the longer someone stays away from an mmo, the harder it will be to get them back.  Typically they’ve moved on to other things (or another mmo) and don’t want to play catch up again.

F2P has consistently shown to bring in more revenue than sub-only games.  We even saw Zenimax come to that realization with ESO as they couldn’t keep trying to telling themselves that subscriptions were justified any more.

DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

Rumm Polyanna I think tokens are a precursor to WoW going F2P.  I’m sure Blizzard is checking to see if it slowed (or stopped) the player decline.  If it does, I’m sure some Activision exec will be telling them to get the game ready for a F2P conversion.

As far as Overwatch, it’s basically going to cater to a specific crowd so it won’t put up numbers like WoW.  It’ll be a hit though at launch I’m sure, but it will depend on the after launch support to see if it stays successful.

carson63000
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carson63000

Rumm Polyanna I think HotS is the game which has the toughest road to success. MOBAs are an enormous business, but they kind of feel like a genre where the players aren’t exactly clamouring to play something different. Trying to pull some of the millions of players away from LoL almost feels like.. trying to pull some of the millions of players away from WoW and onto your new MMO. :-)

carson63000
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carson63000

Sorenthaz In the case of D3, the initial purchases are an ongoing revenue stream.. it was still one of the top 10 selling PC games of 2014, even though it was two years after launch. Won’t last forever, but Diablo games have always been very long tail sellers.

carson63000
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carson63000

DrowNoble Well, with 7.1 million players, if it’s still a ratio like half Western subs, half cheap Asian pay-by-the-hour, that’s ballpark $700 million per year.

Would YOU gamble a $700 million business on “hey, if we start giving this product away instead of selling it, maybe we’ll make more money via a cash shop!”

SwobyJ
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SwobyJ

Cosmic Cleric SwobyJ NebHatesYou Ok, yeah, true! Their focus is now clearly shifting, and I’m okay with that in itself. Though I’m less interested in their current projects (2015-2020?) as I am with their hypothetical direction as we get into the 2020s.