Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thoughts on MMO Subscription Numbers

Subscription numbers for MMOs are a funny thing. When free-to-play (F2P) games like Free Realms boast about 5 million registered users or Runes of Magic celebrates 2 million users, people complain that the numbers should be ignored because that is not how many people are actually playing. Other people want to know how many accounts are actually paying to play and how much money the game is making to judge it's success or failure.

But when CCP came out with the announcement that Eve Online had reached 300,000 active accounts, many people down played that success because Eve is a game in which a lot of players (including myself as of this week) have multiple accounts. But they do have 300,000 active accounts which allows them to do some amazing things.

Sometimes I wonder what the people who spout these numbers think about World of Warcraft. Blizzard claims 11.5 million users, but what should we think when half the users play in Asia but only contribute 10% of the revenue Blizzard gets from WoW? Sounds like the F2P business model where some players play most of the money to me.

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