World of Warcraft has been more successful than any other MMO in existence. Ever since WoW was first released way back in 2004 (I can’t believe that was nearly ten years ago!), it has won the hearts and minds of gamers all over the world. At its peak in 2010, World of Warcraft was home to about 12 million players – which is more than many countries on our planet.
Unfortunately, since the release of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria last fall, WoW’s membership numbers have been falling – hard. Blizzard recently announced that the game had lost 600,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2013 alone, which means the game is down to ‘only’ 7.7 million players.
Mists of Pandaria briefly revitalized a WoW population that was already starting to fall, although the (relatively) small expansion pack didn’t hold users’ interest for very long. Despite all the scrolls of resurrection promotions Blizzard handed out – which allowed old and new players to jump back into the game for free and enjoy a high-level character – it looks like numbers have continued to drop over 2013.
7.7 million paid subscribers is still miles beyond any other paid MMO available today – although some free MMOs likely have that number beat. In any case, it’s amazing that a nine year old game has consistently remained so popular. When World of Warcraft was first released, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were just being announced and most PC video cards had 512MB of memory – if you were rich.
Is it time for Blizzard to work on a sequel for World of Warcraft? Or are you still playing WoW every day? Personally, I would get very excited for whatever MMO Blizzard can come up with next – they’re clearly the kings of the MMORPG industry.