World of Warcraft is doomed… oh wait maybe not

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World of Warcraft

For the past few financial years and months there has been a common thread running through all reporting and that is what World of Warcraft as a business entity is doomed. When WoW was first released t blew everyone out the water and quickly sky rocketed to a massive 12 million subscribers.

That’s 12 million people paying a monthly fee to experience your game so it’s absolutely not the least bit surprising that a ton of other pay to play and free to play competitors arose and since then the subscriber count for World of Warcraft has been on a continuous decline leading many industry analysts to write the proverbial obituary notices.

Fast forward to late 2013 and World of Warcraft only has 7.6 million paying subscribers a month. Yes even writing that made my eyes roll. What people wouldn’t do for that amount of loyal customers.

Anyway into the run up to Christmas the predictions were quite dour for Blizzard, the company responsible for WoW, but lo and behold the latest financials are out and they have shocked the industry. Not only did World of Warcraft bring in an extra 200 000 subscribers but the parent company, Activision, reported a mammoth $1.5 Billion revenue over the holiday quarter.

They also revealed that Skylanders has now netted the company over $2 Billion and Call of Duty: Ghosts was reported to be the top seller in both units and revenue over the last 3 months.

I can’t see any of those three pillars failing anytime in the next 3 years and with Activision also having Diablo, Destiny, StarCraft and Hearthstone in their immediate future you have to be at least a little impressed at how Activision dominates the landscape and the breadth of their portfolio.

EA may be the biggest publisher but take away their sports division and they start looking a little lacklustre.

  • In North America and Europe combined, Activision Publishing was the #1 console and handheld publisher for the calendar year with the #2 and #3 best-selling franchises—Call of Duty and Skylanders, including toys and accessories.
  • In North America and Europe combined, for the calendar year, Activision Publishing had four of the top-10 titles overall.
  • For the fourth quarter, in aggregate across all platforms in the U.S. and Europe combined, Activision Publishing’s Call of Duty: Ghosts was the #1 best-selling title in both units and dollars and the #1 best-selling game on both next-gen platforms in both units and dollars. Additionally, for the calendar year, Call of Duty: Black Ops II was the #9 best-selling title in both units and dollars.
  • For the calendar year, in North America and Europe combined, Skylanders Giants™, including toys and accessories, was the #4 best-selling handheld and console game in dollars overall and Skylanders SWAP Force™, including toys and accessories, was the #6 best-selling handheld and console game in dollars overall.
  • As of December 31, 2013, the Skylanders franchise has generated, life-to-date, more than $2 billion in worldwide sales1 and, at the end of the year, Activision had sold approximately 175 million Skylanders toys worldwide.
  • For the calendar year in North America, Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm® was the #1 best-selling PC game.
  • As of December 31, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG, with approximately 7.8 million subscribers.

Last Updated: February 7, 2014

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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