Blizzard has acknowledged that it is exploring the possibility of introducing microtransactions to World of Warcraft
. According to digital goods analytics firm Superdata
, that might be just what the company needs to keep the game going.
As reported in its most recent earnings call, WoW
has been losing subscribers at a rate of about 200,000 a month, with roughly equal attrition rates in both Eastern and Western markets. As of June, subscriptions stood at 7.7 million worldwide
-- and according to Superdata, it gets worse from there.
"We believe WoW
made $93 million in April  in total revenues -- not a bad sum -- but a far cry from the $204 million it made just seven months earlier," says Superdata, noting this represents a whopping 54 percent drop in revenue. "Activision also announced a loss of about 1.3 million monthly active users from the game's Eastern-hemisphere playerbase recently."
Thus, while in previous years World of Warcraft
might have needed to draw more than half the available market to sustain itself on a free-to-play model, in 2013 Superdata suggests the factors to prompt such a switch are "starting to stack up."
"In a market where players are increasingly used to -- and spending money on -- in-game items, the lack of microtransactions [in WoW
] beyond pets and mounts looks like it's starting to hurt," says Superdata. The report continues:
"Despite major declines in total revenues between September 2012 and April 2013, the game has seen an increasing conversion rate for the its current, add-on, extra-game store, and its microtransaction revenues have held pat overall. What it tells us is that dedicated WoW players are interested in -- and will spend money on -- microtransactions."
You can read the entire writeup from Superdata here