World of Warcraft subscriber numbers drop to 5.5 million

2 min read


Once upon a time, World of Warcraft was the king amongst MMO’s, with a paying subscriber base that would make its rivals cry. If we’re honest, that’s still the case – but its subscriber numbers are starting to drop at an alarming rate.

At its peak, the mighty MMO boasted nearly 12 and a half million subscribers – but this number’s steadily dropped over the past few years. As you’d expect, with each new expansion, the numbers climb up, plateau and then drop as users run out of things to do. The last expansion, Warlords of Draenor, wasn’t quite as well-received as previous add-ons. As you’d expect the resultant drop has been the sharpest – with the MMO’s users dropping from 10 million subscribers at Draenor’s peak, to its current low of 5.5 million.

In its latest financial report, Activision played off the drop, calling World of Warcraft’s numbers “stable.”

“World of Warcraft® subscriptions remained relatively stable, ending the quarter at 5.5 million subscribers. Players are excited about the upcoming expansion, Legion™, which will feature a new class, customizable Artifact weapons, class order halls, and much more. World of Warcraft remains the No. 1 subscription?based MMORPG in the world.“

While it seems like a terrible decline, I think World of Warcraft’s staying power is incredible. It was originally released in 2005, and now, ten years later, still has its claws in to 5.5 million players. Most publishers would kill to have that many regularly paying customers – especially in this age of free-to-play games.

The next expansion, Legion, will raise the level cap from 100 to 110, and introduce nine new dungeons and two new raids. Like every expansion before it, should bring in hordes of lapsed players. Will it bring back the glory days? Probably not – but it doesn’t have to. It might be getting a little old, but it’s still the king of MMOs. With Hearthstone performing as well as it is, and Overwatch likely to be another smash hit for the chaps at Blizzard, I don’t think they’re all too fussed either.

Last Updated: November 3, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • VampyreSquirrel

    Blizz/Acti won’t admit it, but they’ll eventually have to go FTP or kill the game off.

    • Hammersteyn

      They’d probably kill the game first.

      • All those hours I put into my characters O.o

        • VampyreSquirrel

          I know right!?

          My Wildstar download is done 🙂 Gonna hit Warframe briefly and then gonna jump into it.

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Good, we farm cash tonight

          • Sweet let me know what server you are on and I will create a char there. But first I have to finish Bioshock Infinite and get the Admiral rich.

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            KA-CHING baby.

            Also, hit that BSI!

            How far are you with it?

          • Got to the 1 and a half pinky girl last night before I stopped.

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Yikes, still some way to go then :/

          • A lot…

          • VampyreSquirrel

            I also have to do credit runs… I’ve got 2 syndicates that are going to want 500k each in a little while.

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Geez wtf, 500k?

          • VampyreSquirrel

            Yeah… forked out 100k to one the other day… also need some pretty rare prime frame parts 🙁

          • You got the Nyx up and running yet?

          • VampyreSquirrel

            is building

          • Those 3 frames we farmed totaled around 500k as well xD

          • VampyreSquirrel

            Yeah… don’t remind me, I haven’t even started on building them

          • Guess you are joining us for some moola hunting tonight 😛

          • VampyreSquirrel

            I guess I don’t have much choice lol

          • Gonna burn T2 keys like there is no tomorrow!

          • VampyreSquirrel

            I’ve only got so many of those.

          • We just hit up Lua when we need more.

          • VampyreSquirrel

            Yeah, and 3 or 4 of us can run for quite a while on that level.

          • Trev and I played it until the enemies get around lvl 50. Just keep and eye out for bomards around 😛

        • Hammersteyn

          I know right? Goodbye my lvl20 mage

      • Loftus

        True, their servers don’t run for free!

        • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

          Just slap in some Hat-MT and they will be sorted

          • Loftus

            Got some more title, didn’t you chief ? Wouldn’t it be easier just to slap on some stars on you ? 😛

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            I promoted myself, seeing as it is all the rage in South Africa at the moment.

          • Loftus

            There should be a “for life” in the title, none of the other dictators are going to take you serious without a “for life” in your title. Per example : Grand Admiral Chief for life, SpaceNinja of the first order, He dances on the bones of his enemies.

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            I like it, however, I’m already at max characters hehehe

      • VampyreSquirrel

        Probably true, and that’ll actually be a sad day. WoW is actually fun… if you have the time to sink into it.

    • It is already F2P … sorta.

    • Sageville

      I dunno, at $15 per month x 5 500 000 subscribers

      = $ 82 500 000

      What could a gaming studio do with $82 million per month…

      I wouldn’t go F2P or kill the game

  • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja
    • VampyreSquirrel

      That needs images of fully geared lvl 100 characters going down the drain on their super rare mounts.

      • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

        Let’s get Zoe to do a horrible edit

        • VampyreSquirrel

          Good plan!

          Where is she tho? She was out at lunch with Garth, Sandy, Matty and someone else named Lenska an hour ago.

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Very nice working for Lagz it seems, taking business lunches etc

      • My Ashes !!!!

        • VampyreSquirrel

          Ze Ashes of Al’ar… that think reminds me of a certain part of a certain prime warframe.

  • Galbedir

    You know your MMO has gone on to long, when your level cap is a number like 110…It just doesn’t sound right…Hell, even 120 would have been ok…but 110 is just out of place.

    • Level 95 as max level, o boy that was a mental blow for 2 long years.

      • You mean 85 surely?

        • See, the OCD damage is still in effect xD

      • Michael Matusowsky

        *Level 85

    • Lardus-For the Emperor!

      Lucky it isn’t 111…

  • Viking Of Science

    you know your MMO is in decline when it has less players than DESTINY

  • Nikola

    This is probably in my eyes the most impressive game ever made to still have 5.5 million people paying monthly for your game after 10 years is an incredibly achievement. No other games has done anything like it ever! I loved WoW when I played it but it is the biggest time sinker ever you can forget about real life!

  • SmurFyZA

    Does the 5.5mil include players like me that prefer to buy 60day gametime card at a bargain?

  • This to me is what happened to WoW.

    1:They made the game too easy with every expansion.
    2:Rehashing old content. (sure it is nice but most people prefer new content.)
    3:Keeping the subs at the exact same price for 10 years
    4:Garrisons. (players wanted it but damn it made the game boring and follower missions felt facebook gamey)

    5:No massive WoW Token promotion (I recently met a guy who told me he couldn’t afford wow subs so he quit.I asked him how much gold he got. He said something like 300k. He was astonished when I told him he could reactivate his account and run it for about 6 months with that amount of gold)

    However the Warcraft movie will definitely bring some players back and the WoW token will keep them subbed longer.Next expansion won’t have a garrison per se as well.

  • Donquixote Doflamingo

    WoW will never die it wil just be a zombie of it formrer self, hell even Runescape is still active and it was made a lot before WoW

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