SuperData says WoW’s player count is already ‘back to normal levels’ post-Shadowlands

Since November, WoW's 'revenue fell by 61% and user numbers declined by 41%' - not counting China

    
37

How fast did the gaming world get over Cyberpunk 2077? One month, according to SuperData’s latest revenue rankings. While CDPR’s sprawling RPG dominated the PC revenue charts in December, it’s literally nowhere to be found in January, having once again been supplanted by the likes of Dungeon Fighter Online and League of Legends.

Of note to MMO players, World of Warcraft has slipped from third to fifth place in the rankings as several other games have leapfrogged it. SuperData directly contradicts Blizzard’s investor call claims about maintaining high engagement well past the usual expansion hype, suggesting that in fact the Shadowlands bubble is already over.

“World of Warcraft player numbers fell back to normal levels as the excitement around November’s Shadowlands expansion subsided. From November to January, revenue fell by 61% and user numbers declined by 41% (these figures do not include China). This roughly matches the pattern seen for the past several expansions, though Shadowlands had a bigger launch. Blizzard does appear to have found a way to increase how often expansions are able to boost earnings. The publisher recently announced that it will be adding the 2007 Burning Crusade expansion into World of Warcraft: Classic this year. Alternating between releasing all-new and classic expansions could cause WoW revenue to spike annually for the near future, instead of every two years (the typical development time for the title’s expansions).” [Emphasis ours.]

The biggest surprise in the PC list this round might just be Valorant, which has apparently “rebounded […] thanks to the launch of a new character and fresh season of content,” with earning up 39% and player numbers – largely returning players – up 29%.

Source: SuperData
Advertisement

No posts to display

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
J

Not surprised. It was fun to crawl the new zones, but the endgame is ultimately lacking again. I don’t care for systems with heavy gating and WOW has become a terrible offender in this regard.

I might get interested again when Lich King Classic eventually rolls around. As I considered that to be the height of the game for me.

Reader
CFhina

WoW was hijacked by Ion Hazzikostas and his fellow “elitist jerks” (actually the name of the website he ran) years ago. It will never get better under them. They replaced a game most people liked, that many different kinds of players could succeed at through crafting, casual pvp and accessible raids, with a game no one would make but people as delusional as them (cept Wild Star which was also a huge failure because they listened to these idiots). This also ruined the playerbase by attracting the worst of the worst people. Angry, mentally ill people, who failed at esports people actually watch, and who came to WoW so they could be the big fish in the pond.

The reason Blizzard doesn’t care about subs leaving in droves is that the failed esports drive revenue through balance issues (and if you think this isn’t done on purpose to drive revenue when you have idiocy like convoke the spirits in the game, you are naive) on racials, factions and FOTM class boosts.

Blizzard now only cares about two groups of players. The “whales” who pay thousands of dollars for PvP and Mythic boosts via tokens and the “pro WoW gamer” that lives with his parents and who breaks the TOS selling gold so that he can afford to play a game 24/7 and Mythic raid. There is a reason every big Arena player and competitive raid player/esports org has sold carries or gold for RL money. It’s the only way you can compete in the most toxic MMO ever created, because there is ZERO market for the failed esports. The esport athletes make less than minimum wage employees. You could have more viewers than an Arena or MDI tourney having a relay race around Stormwind/Azeroth and they wouldn’t be viewbots by orgs depserately trying to stay relevant or cut their losses…

What Blizzard and Ion has essentially created is a slave labor force of “pros” who live in poverty, but who create hundreds of millions in revenue selling boosts for pvp and mythic raiding, mount achievements. Go on a server like Tichondrious and you will see carry messages flooding general chat non stop. This is all the game has left. Mentally ill people who live with a caregiver most of the time whose life has been fleeced and ruined (the pro’s) and a revolving door of people who spend thousands of dollars on the game before they quit or go broke.

It will never change until the whales dry up. When you have a single person spend THOUSANDS in a game compared to a person spending 120 a year with game time in a bulkrate, you can have MUCH less subs. Expect WoW to ride these people for every cent they have and ruin many lives in the process. The sellers and the buyers.

Reader
Munchmeat2

You nailed it my friend! Great post and this is spot on. I’ve been a WoW player since 2004 and I just don’t feel like the game wants me to play anymore. I hate e-sports and I loath the systems (M+) that were brought into the game to facilitate this nonsense. WoW is a mess right now and I hope that the success of TBC will put Ion and his horrible version of WoW to shame.

Reader
CFhina

Yeah another pro just got banned (Zeepeye) because he had to sell arena coaching to even afford to play arena and compete. The only reason he was banned is he did it for straight up money and didn’t do the gold work around. The whole thing is just silly and it isn’t good for anyone. The pro’s should be playing real esport titles like Overwatch and Blizzard shouldn’t be designing MMO’s around esports. When they make the PVP gear required to raid and vice versa with Mythic raid gear, you only make the problem worse. Mythic + should be challenge runs and for transmog like it was in MOP. There is nothing wrong with super hard content, but it should never be the base design of the game or required. Mage Tower was something else that was fine. Something you can work toward ONCE and not a job that you do over and over again.

The point of WoW used to be to have fun. Now it’s a job. At the the very most WoW should have a Uldular like Raid encounter design. “Hard Modes” you can work to with limited better loot, but that people are not forced to do to engage in things they like. Who the heck wants to watch a hour long video on an enounter or raid before you go in the raid? Who wants to be forced to play with people they would never hang out with just to progress, when in old WoW they could play with their friends. How is any of this fun outside a small, insular, bubble of a community that Ion and his friends are in? MMO’s were not made to segregate people into little communities that all hate eachother, but that’s what we have now. I have to play with crazy people (RBG’s are even worse than arena btw) just to be able to do some BG’s with friends or raid without a bunch of sweaty dudes all yelling at eachother or mad at me cus I don’t have 3 raid ready alts to progress? No thanks.

I’m not quitting my job and shunning my family to excel at esports no one even cares about, outside a delusional community. In old WoW I raided once a week had awesome gear and could do things I LIKED, which involved HELPING people because I had free time in the game. Whether that was farming, crafting gear that didn’t suck like modern WoW, running them through dungeons or attunements or backing them in wpvp. This is what made the MMO a MMO. The people, the world and being out in the world. Not stupid systems, upon systems and failed esports that take me away from my friends. Modern WoW I log in do tons of chores. segregate myself with the pvp crowd to progress there, the mythic + community (my god is this community horrible) to progress there. Can’t bring rl friends to either cus they are the wrong comp in arena or because mythic + gives people anxiety at this point.

The perfect MMO is so obvious at this point. You take Classic world design and SPACE to breathe and to interact with the world, combine it with TBC crafting and dungeon and raid progression and design raids about WOTLK Uldular raid design and Arena. Arena was in no way required but it was good to have just to stop the sweaty premades from rolling pugs. The problem with that design is it doesn’t sell tokens for carries. GREED is stopping us from having a good WoW again and sadly Bobby Kotick isn’t going anywhere and neither is Ion.

Reader
Utakata

Being 5th is better than being last, I guess.

Reader
Songs for Children

I quit retail about 4 months into Legion…I can say that Classic kept my attention longer than any expansion after WotLK did.

Reader
Hurbster

I got one character to 60, looked at the grind and sheer busy work and noped out of there.

Reader
Brian Barrett

Well I guess it’s time to play fantasy westward journey :/

Reader
Sarah Cushaway

Because SL is another garbage expansion.

Reader
Songs for Children

What makes it garbage in your opinion? I haven’t played it.

Reader
Utakata

It’s not really. But I can understand why some don’t appreciate it for good or bad. It’s a little different; as in, there’s a lot more synergy to the faction you choose to rep up with…I can least tell you that.

Reader
J

I can’t speak for all, but I really hate time gated mechanics. WOW is full of them these days. “You did as much as we are going to let you do. Come back tomorrow.” We didn’t have these kind of gates in Classic, BC or WOTLK. Now they are part of the standard formula. It makes me feel like I am playing a mobile game.

Reader
styopa

Of course it did.
I played for what, maybe 2 weeks? I hit the cap on ONE character and started another and quit because I was bored out of my MIND.
Grind for weeks and weeks to unlock microscopic crap that’s going to not only be trivialized with the next expansion but completely USELESS?

Don’t get me wrong: I loved WoW. It was a significant fraction of my waking hours from month 3 up to Cataclysm.

Now?
Screw Blizzard and their borrowed power. Every expansion they deprecate everything you created before, and make you start over.
Screw Blizzard and their disregard for crafting.
Screw Blizzard and their “the only stuff worth having comes from mythics/raids”.
Screw Blizzard and their banal faceroll worlds.
Screw Blizzard and their litter of discarded ideas.
Screw Blizzard for not even being able to steal ideas successfully anymore (FFXIV did the Deep Dungeon 100x better).
Screw Blizzard for wrecking WoW.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

I regret that I only have one upvote to give.

Reader
Mallus

This ^

Reader
Ozzie

And above all, screw them for getting rid of Archeology!

Reader
styopa

Wait what?
That was always my go to ‘last thing to level up’ – are you saying it’s really just been abandoned? In this case, I got sick of their shit and abandoned SL before I got to the drudgery point (TBH Archaeology was drudgery but at least it had some redeeming rewards sprinkled in there…you know back from the halcyon days when you were actually rewarded stuff for your whole account?)

You’re right.
https://www.icy-veins.com/forums/topic/51603-no-archaeology-in-shadowlands/

Reader
Ozzie

Yep! At least not in SL but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Arch was always my go-to while waiting in queues.

Reader
Zandohaha .

The “bOrRoWeD pOwEr” whine is the most ridiculous complaint I’ve ever heard in a game. It really is.

You instantly spit your dummy out the second something you obtain in a game doesn’t go to your grave with you?

Journey. Not destination. You are just sabotaging your enjoyment of the hobby if you are looking so hard for things to complain about that you end up hating a game because of such insignificant things.

Seems very much to me that you and your mentality is the problem here. You were never going to enjoy the game from the very start when your approach is to actively look for critical problems so hard that I don’t really understand why you bothered wasting your money in the first place. You hating the game was a foregone conclusion.

Reader
styopa

Ad hominem, much?
What you seem to miss in your personal attacks is that MOST games are exactly what you describe: a person plays it, enjoys it, then puts it away in a box. If I wanted that experience, I could play thousands of other games from any single player game ever, to league of legends.

Mmos – wow for example – were built on roots of durability and character development extremely different from that model. Wow clearly was. It persisted for a decade or more, before taking a hard turn into a borrowed power model (likely because the design team was running out of imagination on how to balance accumulated abilities of 7 previous expansions).

The fact that I bought played enjoyed wow for a decade would hardly suggest that my hating it was hardly a foregone conclusion…you know, unless they largely abandoned the game structure that got them to this point?

So maybe instead of working so hard to be a venomous iconoclast, think for a second on what’s actually being discussed?

Reader
MaynardKeenanX

I directly unsubbed because of the awful Thorghast unfun dailies and The Maw.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Isn’t this like, Blizzard’s staple? They get a surge of players each xpac start, then it settles to normal levels while the xpac progresses, and then the content drought makes people leave until the next one.

Reader
Sarah Cushaway

Yes, this has been the pattern since Cata-MOP, and especially during MOP because of that year + content drought.

The issue is, however, each time Blizzard drops further and further after an expansion, and usually more quickly. Fewer people come back and for less time.

It’s an old game and that’s part of it, but a bigger part of it is the fact it’s been trash for a decade now, with only a few bright points here and there (Legion was generally well-received).

Reader
Bruno Brito

Not like i’m gonna defend Blizzard here, but they’re still a force to be reckoned with in the MMO industry. I think we just need to make peace with WoW being what it is, and our hopes lying with it not being the trendsetter anymore.

Reader
Sarah Cushaway

I personally made my peace around Cata (which was garbage), skipped MOP and WOD, came back for a bit in Legion because at least that theme felt like “WoW” as I liked it, but BFA and SL, plus some of the crap Blizzard has pulled in the “crappy evil corporation” sense– I’m not going back at this point. So I accept WoW is just a crappy, linear game that feels like a mobile grinder rather than an MMORPG as I recall them in their “golden” era.

It doesn’t mean I’m going to like it, or think Blizzard took the game in anything resembling the right direction.

Reader
Bruno Brito

When i finally accepted that was what WoW became, MOP was a great xpac.

Reader
Zandohaha .

I think it’s the staple of 99.9% of video games that have ever existed, but for whatever reason people love to look deeper into it with WoW because of the ridiculous growth it had constantly for the first 6 years.