Feeds

World of Warcraft subscriptions slip

Are MMO games running out of breath?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Mass multiplayer online games appear to be in decline, with World of Warcraft subscriptions down ten per cent, titles like Star Trek Online adopting the free-to-play model and the kid-friendly Lego Universe shutting up shop completely.

During Activision Blizzard's investor call yesterday, the company announced WoW subscriptions had fallen to 10.3 million, down from the 11.4 million users playing the game in March 2011, WoW Insider reports.

WOW: Mists of Pandaria

While Blizzard insists most of the loss came from Asian countries, it declined to provide a subscriber forecast. A sign that the future might not be looking so bright? WoW's next expansion pack, Mists of Pandaria, is on the way soon, so the figures could creep up again.

Yet the masses appear reluctant to pay to play, especially when there are so many free offerings around. One of WoW's MMO challengers, Star Trek Online, is adopting a free-to-play model, which will kick off on 17 January 2012.

As reported by IGN, developer Cyptic's Stephen D'Angelo said: "We tried to make it free-to-play at the original launch, but our publisher [Atari] didn't want us doing that, so we didn't."

The developer has since found players don't like paying for content and it has had to revisit the economy of the game, making it harder to acquire the high-end loot and in-game perks in order to keep people interested.

In these grim economic times, people are certainly weary of reaching into their pockets, even when it comes to keeping their children entertained. This is epitomised by the death of a more kiddy-centric MMO, Lego Universe, which has announced it will close its doors on 31 January 2012.

Lego Universe

Those who have already subscribed beyond this date will be offered refunds and the final month of the game free. But if a mega franchise like Lego can't pull enough numbers in to make its game financially viable, it doesn't look good for the others out there.

It'll be interesting to see whether Star Wars: The Old Republic, will indeed be the WOW killer it once proclaimed to be. Perhaps it won't be lightsabres that bring an end to the Warcraft dominance after all, though. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register
Bentley found in a hedge gets WW2 lump insertion
Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids
Stylish Googlephones for not-so-deep pockets
What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight
You fought hard and you saved and earned. But all of it's going to burn...
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.