Feeds

World of Warcraft subscriptions slip

Are MMO games running out of breath?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.