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Blizzard: Drop in  WoW  subs 'attributable' to  Star Wars: The Old Republic
Blizzard: Drop in WoW subs 'attributable' to Star Wars: The Old Republic
March 20, 2012 | By Mike Rose

March 20, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

World of Warcraft developer Blizzard has admitted that the behemoth MMO's recent drop in monthly player subscriptions is, in part, down to the launch of rival MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic late last year.

Electronic Arts launched The Old Republic in December last year, and the game quickly brought in 1 million players within three days. EA said last month that the game now has over 1.7 million subscribers, and has sold more than 2 million units worldwide.

Meanwhile, Blizzard's World of Warcraft has been losing subscribers steadily -- at last count in November, the game had 10.3 million players, down from 11.1 million just three months prior to that.

In an interview with Eurogamer, senior World of Warcraft producer John Lagrave said that the game's recent drop in subscriber numbers "has to at least be attributable" to the release of The Old Republic, although he did not divulge updated subscriber numbers.

"We certainly do look at [where WoW players go], and we have a very smart bunch of guys who do our analytics for us," he explained.

"Of course people are trying Star Wars -- our development team are trying Star Wars! I'm one of the few people who's still playing it actually, but yeah we've seen a dip in subs."

He continued, "It certainly has to at least be attributable to The Old Republic," but added that "it's also attributable to people who want to wait and get Mists of Pandaria [WoW expansion pack due for release later this year], so it's not surprising."

Gamasutra has contacted Blizzard to clarify whether World of Warcraft subscription numbers have dropped since the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

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Michael Nieves
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Although blaming a competing MMO seems reasonable, the drop off in WoW subscribers has been going on for a while, and is probably more attributable to changes made to WoW since the Linch King expansion. I wonder what the analytics say?

Christian Calderon
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From what I've heard, SWTOR has lost subs from its 1.7M peak as well.

Nick DeCastro
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I now play RIFT.

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Michael Wenk
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So, ~20 days of SWTOR dropped WoW subs? I'm sure SWTOR contributed a bit, but not that much, I think its more likely the fact that Blizzard is alienating its aging player base that is increasingly losing time to spend in its games.

Given that I honestly would figure games like Farmville, Sims Social, and iPhone games are probably taking way more subs from WoW than SWTOR is...

Ron Dippold
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WoW fatigue. SWtOR is just the latest distraction.

Just wait till Diablo III hits.

Philip Daay
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I'm sure there exists a perfectly logical reason for the WoW subscription drop-off, but I think its more fun to believe the new pandas are responsible.

Harry Fields
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After expac #1, they promised further expacs would be more frequent. That hasn't been the case. Only the hardcore really enjoy seeing the same content a bajillion times. If they had the pipeline to put out a high quality expac once a year, I think things would be a little different.

George Katsaros
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lots of speculation. the facts won't really every be known unless you knew everyone's intention when they left.

Dan Jones
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When you cancel your WoW subscription, they do ask why you're leaving. While I'm sure not everyone takes the time to give a straight answer, I'm sure they do get enough participation to see the trends and make assumptions about the population as a whole.

Matt Cratty
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At least some part of the beginning of the end is attributable of overdoing the accessibility (Cataclysm/dungeon finder).

That's not my view, but I hear it over and over amongst those that used to play and I am actually weary of hearing it on just about every forum I visit.

"They killed the community" is the constant refrain.

The reality? Who knows, but I'd be interested to see an actually thorough study just for my own amusement.