What Effect Did Star Wars: The Old Republic's Launch Have On World Of Warcraft?

Not much, apparently, at least not in December. Blizzard CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime was only able to give a vague answer to the question presented during the Q&A portion of today's Activision Blizzard financial results call, but that vagueness speaks volumes.

The answer came after the announcement that World of Warcraft subscribers were at 10.2 million at the end of the year, only 100,000 less than the previous accounting in September of 2011. Of course anyone that wanted to cancel World of Warcraft in favour of the Dark Side of the Force would have had their subscription run out in January, so there's still plenty of room for speculation.


    Of course they would down play the effect it would have had on their subscriptions. But in saying that, they still have so many cards up their sleeve (diablo and other projects) that it probably wouldn't phase them.

    And they'd tell us if it wasn't a great month? This from Blizzard means nothing.

    Ynefel is right. Blizz had it's time in the limelight and now SWTOR is leagues ahead. BioWare just needs to keep at it with new content and keep patching their issues and we're golden! SWTOR = All I play these days!

    Dosen't really provide any insight, especially since SWTOR launched on the 20th of December, right at the end of the month anyway.

    "Of course anyone that wanted to cancel World of Warcraft in favour of the Dark Side of the Force would have had their subscription run out in January, so there’s still plenty of room for speculation."

    Unless you are like me and forgot to cancel your subscription. Still sad about that $75.

    WoW needs to die

      A. love your name
      B. WoW only needs to die when people no longer want to play - this has not happened yet and will not happen for a long time

      I'm OK with it. Means the average WoWtard is off playing WoW, and not fouling up my MMO of choice.

        Ynefel a response like that leads me to believe that you yourself are the WoWtard, only now you shall be called a TORtard

    I don't think the financial hit from SWTOR will be to bad this year but I'm sure their servers will enjoy the respite as online users drop.

    RIP TORtanic

    Those figures would be seriously inflated by the 'Get an Annual Pass and get D3 for free' scheme.

    SWTOR got released at th back end of december, of course it's not gonna have a big effect on how WoW did that month. Nobody expected TOR to be a WoW killer anyway, nothing is going to kill WoW but time.

    "Our strongest competitor launched in December, so we released free beta access to Diablo III with a years subscription to downplay the effects on out market share."

    Would be more accurate

      Funniest part is, it's not even Diablo 3 beta access you get with the WoW annual subscription, it's the whole game. That's how desperate they are to offset ToR.

        I wouldn't say desperate. Blizzard has so much money they can afford to do stuff like this and not even feel the sting.

          Even before the merger made them the biggest game publisher in the world, they could have afforded to take any size hit from TOR. Getting people to commit money to their MMO til Q3-Q4 2012, which is (coincedentally? nope) when the new expansion is coming out (which, no matter how bad, will bring a new wave of subscriptions just based on reputation), as well as their new MMO being due in 2014, was just gravy.

          Lets not forget that it wasn't exactly the greatest launch (execution wise) in history, but I guess that was to be expected for a first-time MMO release from BioWare.

          Actually desperate was the wrong wording. I guess I meant more that it's the first time I've seen Blizzard do anything as such - ie giving away a brand new (and unreleased), full priced game as incentive to stay on WoW. Which may or may not have been because of SWToR exclusively. Up until now, they've just seemingly sat back going 'Yeah, it's WoW, it'll do.'

            Well, i'm not a WoW player, but i'm pretty sure the price for an annual subscription costs more than D3 itself (well, except for regional pricing), and providing access to WoW is purely an opportunity cost to Blizzard (ie the only money that they're losing is from those who would have bought D3 AND a WoW subscription), so it's always going to be more advantageous for them to try and keep the customers whose interest is waning, particularly when you consider the Panda update is going to be released before that subscription runs out, so could encourage even more sales by keeping the WoW subscription alive.

            As for the "yeah, its WoW, it'll do", excluding SC2 last year, the last time they released a single player game was WC3 in '02. Other than that it's been WoW + expansions...

    I see there is a fair few Blizzard and WoW haters here. Think of this if you will

    1.) Annual pass was implemented by blizzard to secure its current WoW base when they release themselves the only true game they perceive as a threat to themselves this year. Not to counter TOR. The annual pass was announced at Blizzcon 2011 months before TOR even had a release date. Get over yourselves...

    2.) WoW will die when Blizzard determines its death. Possibly the release of Titan in which I am sure wont be a bad thing for Blizzard.

    3.) TOR is a great game, but its not WoW. No MMO on the market is as polished and offers so much to its player base in terms of content and features as WoW does. The fact that TOR launched with what could be considered benchmark features missing out of the current MMO genre that WoW provides and still can maintain a 1 million plus player base is a testament to how great that game is. Is it a WoW killer? heck no not in the slightest in its current state.

    I think WoWs numbers will look better not worse this quarter coming up, Im pretty sure everyone interested in star wars has played it, completed it and unsubscribed by now.

    I really enjoyed it but its not very polished and there is very little to keep you paying once you have a few level 50s.

    Wow's numbers are stable for now, though i wouldn't be surprised to see subs fall again in Q1 -- the last quarter was boosted by:

    - the annual pass (the noted that the annual pass was taken up by over a million players),
    - patch 4.3 landed (major patches usually results in a subscriber bump for a few months),
    - the holidays (again it usually results in a bump in subscriber numbers)
    - LFR, which i believe will be a double edged sword. Already ALOT of casual players love LFR, but are complaining about a lack of content in Dragon Soul and if they have to wait 6 months for new content they will likely quit.

    Not quite sure why people are hailing TOR honestly. Every feature it has it seems to have taken out of BC WoW, while missing a significant chunk of content and polish that makes WoW good. With a budget of 100 million no less.

    I mean the only original content seems to be the voice acted NPCs and stories but other than that it seems to be another generic WoW clone instead of attempting to be something different like it initially claimed it was going to be.

    I just.. don't get it. You want to pay monthly for a game which actively clones an old version of WoW, instead of paying for the actual, heavily polished WoW we already have? I just cannot comprehend it

    I'm not surprised December was a good month for Blizzard because December is always a good month for games. It's why TOR launched in December. Certainly people are going to come back to WoW after burning through TOR's storyline and reaching the anaemic end-game.

    The real question is: what will happen when GW2 launches? There are certainly some question marks around GW2's longetivity but it's an MMO with content that's leaps and bounds ahead of WoW's, so I'd imagine when people go back the clunkier gameplay of WoW is going to seem increasingly bitter.

    I love how most of the negative comments are directed as to how Blizzard maintained subscriptions numbers via use of annual pass etc.

    Last time I checked, businesses were there to make money, god forbid they do anything to remain successful, guess as soon as the next MMO release comes out they should just turn off the servers eh?

    The annual pass is a brilliant method of preventing internal cannibalisation, by locking people in for a year, they keep the money flowing whilst allowing their user base to play the new game, a much preferable method then to lose subscriptions to a single purchase game.

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