WoW has lost another 800,000 subscribers.
Before you go all doom and gloom on me and start screaming because I said that losing subscribers is good news you have to take a look at the bigger picture.
WoW still has 10.3M subscribers which is still quite a bit, so they are not exactly to the point where they are hanging on by a thread.
The loss however does show them that they are doing something wrong. Something dreadfully wrong by the name of Cataclysm. It is nice and easy for a company to fix what is wrong when they know what it wrong and for them their wrong came nicely packaged with its name written on it last December so it will not be hard to fix.
The reason the loss of 800,000 subscribers is such a great thing is the fact that this loss proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is the content they are releasing that is the problem. Many people like to bring up other reasons for the losses but that is them just rationalizing, they are trying to make themselves feel as if it is not blizzards fault, so they make some other excuse for the losses. Do not fool yourselves. Blizzard did this to themselves. It is not anything else.
Some common thoughts on why WoW is losing so many subscribers.
It is and old game:
- So are 100s of other games in various other forms and they are still doing just fine. If this was still WoW vanilla and losing customers then the "it is an old game" argument is fine. People would be bored of doing the same content after 7 years so of course they would be losing people.
While the base of areas and how the game is played stay somewhat the same, the content in the game is always changing, at least twice a year with updates. If the game is losing people because of content you can not use the "it is an old game" argument for losses, it is because the content is not good that they lost people. The content is new, not old. New content does not lose people because it is new content to an old game, it loses people because the new content sucks.
They are losing to games with better graphics:
- Thank you for letting us know you have a great computer. Now let me introduce you to the real world where everyone is not you. In fact, most people are not you.
There are some people in my guild that can not run any of the current raids because their computer can not handle the content. Most people I know play with settings at low, or lowest, because anything higher lags them so bad it makes playing impossible.
For people like that, a very large portion of the player base, the graphics in WoW are fantastic. At least they can still play it on their computer. A few people I know went to give rift a try when it was released and even at the lowest possible setting it was impossible for them to play so they came back to WoW and came back with a much greater appreciation for how well designed WoWs graphics really are.
Laugh as you will about the graphics in game but over all they are pretty damn good for both appearance and computer requirements when it comes to rendering them. It makes the game much more accessible to many people, many people that will never be able to play other games because of their high graphical requirements.
I have a good computer, I can run WoW on max setting, I can run WoW while running rift, and LotRo all at the same time and guess what. I still think WoW has the best graphics of the three. I don't go running around saying so and so is better because it has better graphics just because my computer can handle it. I judge the game on how it plays and not what it looks like.
Graphics are not the deciding factor for people that enjoy game play. Never has been, never will be. It might be nice to see better graphics but it is not required to make a game great. Look at games like Civilization, sure they might have decent graphics and all, but people play that because of the game play, not the graphics and Civ is all about game play and it is a success story in gaming. Good games are played because they are good, not because they look pretty.
There is a recession:
- Most people that use this as a reasoning usually fall into one of two categories. They are either someone that has never been so broke that they had to eat ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day because that was the only thing they could afford. Or they are someone that doesn't have any understanding of the human mind.
If you have ever been so broke or have any understanding of the human mind you will know that the less people have the more they seek out things that make them forget. In low income areas the rate of people that drink, smoke and do drugs is always higher. Same goes for other activities such as gaming.
People that have so little and/or have problems usually will find something else to take their mind off of things. Getting lost in the world of Azeroth is a fantastic option for a place to forget about your problems if you are not an alcholoic or a drug addict.
Just like it is true that some people might have left because the game feels old and some people might have left because they are looking for something with better graphics, some people might be put into the position where they need to limit their expenses and choose to get lost in watching TV instead of playing WoW as well.
So yes, people were lost for all of the above reasons, people in the amounts we are talking about is not just those people. Those people are smaller in numbers, much smaller.
To lose as many people as WoW has lost since Cataclysm was launched you have to point your finger at the one thing that changed the most. The game. People did not like cataclysm. They spoke by ending their subscription.
This is why the losses are such fantastic news. It makes it easy for them to put their finger on the problem. There were games with better graphics when wrath was out and they did not lose customers, the economy was crappy when wrath was out and they did not lose customers, the game was out for a long time when wrath was out and they did not lose customers. So all those arguments are baseless.
The only thing that changed when Cataclysm came out was that we where now playing Cataclysm.
The numbers prove that people do not like Cataclysm.
They continue to prove that people do not like Cataclysm.
The continued losses have become something they can not ignore and this is good news for all of us. They will never make another Cataclysm.
So do not fear for your game, it is in fine shape. 10.3M people is still more then enough to keep it going for many years to come. Be happy with the losses, they will listen to the losses and the game will get better because of it. The losses are a reason for celebration.
Each time someone unsubs to the game I wish I could send them a personal thank you letter for standing up and saying something that I have been unwilling to say myself in terms of subscription. Each person that has unsubed should be given a pat on the back for doing a good job.
Thing are going to change for the better in the game and there is only one group of people that can take credit for making that change happen. The ex-WoW players.
Thank you for quitting and making the game better for me.
Feel free to come back for MoP. Sure, they might have pandas which does seem lame, but it will (hopefully) be a fun game again. Worse case is, at least it won't be cataclysm any more. And if that is the worst thing we can say about it, that is a really good thing.
This is indeed good news everyone.