Reuters predicted that World of Warcraft could see a 25% drop in subscribers with the launch of Guild Wars 2, launching August 28 (and August 25 for pre-purchasers). It’s unlikely a single game will dethrone World of Warcraft, but as more MMOGs chips away market share will fall.
World of Wacraft isn’t going anywhere, but Guild Wars 2 could be the first sizeable challenge to the dominant MMORPG
If I went into World of Warcraft and said Guild Wars 2 is better, I’d have abuse thrown at me within seconds. Granted I’m talking to players ingrained into the MMORPG, but why the defensive reactions? Perhaps its because the player base finally feels threatened.
That’s what Forbes would have you believe. A report, written by two analysts, said strong competition and a decrease in World of Warcraft’s market share could to Vivendi – the majority shareholder of Activision Blizzard – to sell. The majority of revenue, 60%, comes from World of Warcraft.
2010’s subscriber revenue reached $1.36 billion, Forbes reported, with a $241 million spent in the same year. Huge profits. However, reduced market share and subscribers numbers in Activision Blizzard’s flagship MMOG (it’s only MMORPG, actually) could spell trouble for the company.
Reuters thinks the lack of a monthly subscription is an innate advantage for Guild Wars 2 – World of Warcraft requires a subscription, and a copy of the game to be bought. Players in limbo from failures including RIFT and Star Wars: The Old Republic could flock to Guild Wars 2, especially if they’re not joining World of Warcraft soon.
Activision said, without referring to Guild Wars 2, competitors are emerging which pose a threat to World of Warcraft. Reuters added a 25% drop in subscribers, described as conservative in the report, is based on BioWare’s The Old Republic taking the same amount of market share during its first six months on sale.
There a point I’d like to raise here. The rapid decline of The Old Republic demonstrates how hype can quickly degenerate if the high-end content isn’t satisfying. We’ve played time-limited beta weekends, so while the starting areas of Guild Wars 2 are solid – and even level 20 content for eager players – we don’t know what levels 40, 50, 60 and more hold.