Activision Blizzard’s MMORPG giant continues decline, loses another 600,000 in last quarter.
The World of Warcraft is continuing its contraction. In announcing the plan to buy its independence back from Vivendi in the form of $5.83 billion worth of shares, Activision Blizzard also revealed that as of the end of its second quarter (three months ended June 30), World of Warcraft was down to roughly 7.7 million subscribers.
That total is still enough to make the game easily the biggest subscription-based MMORPG in the world, but it represents a loss of 600,000 players over the quarter. After the launch of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria last September provided a short-lived boost to the user base, Blizzard has seen the game lose more than 2.3 million subscribers. When it peaked in 2010, World of Warcraft commanded a subscriber base of more than 12 million players.
As World of Warcraft numbers ebb, the need for Activision Blizzard to produce a successor to its 2004 MMORPG megahit becomes more pressing. In May, reports emerged that the intended follow-up, code-named Titan, had hit development difficulties. As a result, Blizzard was hitting the reset button on the game’s development, pushing a launch out to 2016 at the earliest. The company confirmed it had reallocated resources away from Titan, but noted that it had never announced any sort of release window for the game.
If you are in San Diego and were lucky enough to get tickets to Comic-Con then you might have been even luckier to have gotten a chance to see Legendary Pictures show a small trailer for Blizzard’s famous MMO “World of Warcraft” The trailer will supposedly not be released to fans online, although with the way leaks have been going on with this country’s vital top secrets, I would expect (and hope) something will get out by the end of the week.
The trailer shows a human warrior in armor and what appears to be a giant green skinned Orc with a hammer. The two appear to charge at each other as an explosion reveals the text…WARCRAFT.
Originally, director Sam Raimi was connected to the project but left to film “OZ the Great and Powerful” due to rumors suggesting he and Blizzard were not seeing eye to eye and Raimi saying Blizzard “mismanaged” the film.
The movie will start filming in early 2014 and is expected to have a budget of over $100 milion dollars, hopefully seeing a release date for 2016.
Is this relevant anymore to you? Are you excited? How many of you still play WOW?
Film being helmed by Moon and Source Code director Duncan Jones
Producer Charles Roven told SlashFilm: “First quarter 2014 we’re going to shoot that movie.”
Evil Dead and Spider-Man director Sam Raimi originally signed up to make a film based on the game back in July 2009, although the project is now being directed by Duncan Jones, who helmed Moon and Source Code.
In March of this year, Raimi claimed the project was significantly held up while under his watch due to “mismanagement” on the game studio’s behalf.
Activision boss Bobby Kotick said further quarterly declines “are likely” as the year progresses, raising “concerns” as the firm heads towards the competitive holiday period.
He said Blizzard intends to release new content more frequently, to keep players engaged and to make it easier for lapsed players to return to the game.
Blizzard confirmed last week that its unannounced MMO, codenamed Titan, is undergoing “large design and technology changes”. According to reports, Titan is now not expected to release until 2016.
I must admit, I am not as pumped as I was maybe 1 or 2 years ago for this movie. I stopped playing around that time because I just got bored, plus I was studying so my time was being taken so maybe thats why. I just feel the “WOW” factor for a WOW movie is not as strong as it once was, maybe I am wrong because I’ve been out of it a while. Don’t get me wrong, I love World of Warcraft and I just received a free 7 day invite to come back and play which I will do to see what has changed. I would love to see a well made movie or maybe even a trilogy.
Who else is excited for this… or not? Let me know below. Thanks!
Hey everyone. I’m loving me some Pandaren..hence the reason (and school) why I haven’t posted recently, but I came across a very interesting article from gamepolitics.com. It seems an article published by Politico talks about a campaign in Maine where the Republican party is comparing senate Democratic candidate Colleen Lachowicz’s obsessive World of Warcraft playing as an Orc assassination rogue as Immature and living a double life with inappropriate comments on her blog.
In one of the more unusual attacks on an opponent in this election cycle, the Republican party of Maine has decided that it would be a good idea to take Maine state Senate Democratic candidate Colleen Lachowicz to task for playing World of Warcraft. Apparently they don’t know that over 10 million people around the world are playing the game daily, with millions playing here in the United States. The law of averages would also suggest that a fair amount of Maine’s population also plays the game, but let’s put that aside for now..
In a bizarre press release (as reported by Politico) the Republican party in Maine attacked Lachowicz for living a double life. Apparently her playing an orc assassin was beyond the pale for them. Lachowicz is running against incumbent state Sen. Tom Martin in a heavily Democratic district in south-central Maine. Martin, the first Republican to hold the seat since the 1960s won the position during the 2010 election cycle.
Most of the information on Lachowicz put forth by the Maine GOP comes from her blogging about playing the game on the DailyKOS. Admittedly she says a few things that might raise some eyebrows like the following:
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I may have to go and hunt down Grover Norquist and drown him in my bathtub.”
Grover Norquist runs Americans for Tax Reform and is infamous for getting conservative candidates to make a “no tax hike” pledge.
“We think anyone making comments about drowning Grover Norquist and stabbing things shows a shocking level of immaturity and poor judgment that voters should know about,” Maine GOP party spokesman David Sorenson said. “Certainly the fact that she spends so much time on a video game says something about her work ethic and, again, her immaturity.”
But the thrusts of their attack accuses Lachowicz of being distracted by the game while at work, claims she is in a “socialist guild” pointing out her swearing in her blog posts on DailyKOS and making frequent jokes about stabbing things.
To his credit, her Republican opponent says that he was unaware of the state Republican Party’s press release or Lachowicz’s activities in World of Warcraft until Politico asked him. Martin went on to say that he “hates mudslinging politics” and that he thinks that she is “a nice lady.”
Well friends it seems the reviews are starting to ripple in on Mists of Pandaria and a few are not so good. As with all expansions, there are players who love them and those who do not. The below article by Tamoor Hussain for CVG UK shows a few examples of what people are thinking but remember, out of over 10 million subscribers, these are only a few hundred comments.
Blizzard is in a tough position with World of Warcraft. Eight years after launching the MMO, as the market shifts towards free-to-play, it faces declining subscription numbers. It’s latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria, released earlier this week with markedly less fanfare than its predecessors.
Everybody loves progress, but no one likes change, as is evident when looking at the game’s user review average on Metacriticand reading the scathing testimonials from disgruntled fans.
Mists of Pandaria currently has a total of 313 ratings submitted by users. Of them 114 are categorised as positive, eight as mixed and 191 as negative. The majority of these negative reviews mentioned an over-simplification of the game, which – ironically – has driven the design of World of Warcraft from the outset and has been a major contributor in the MMO’s overwhelming success.
“Can’t believe I bought this game,” says SCougar91, who gave the game a rating of 0. “The whole idea of it should have turned me off from the get go, but loyalty to the series made me want to try it. The game has become a simplistic MMO that requires very little time and effort to play, which is not what I’m looking for. A dumbing down of a genre is what were seeing here.”
Others have criticised the expansion for using the “same recycled old engine”, apparently expecting Mists of Pandaria to provide a significant overhaul.
“Crashy servers, terrible graphics and still using the same textures from 2004 which look like if they came straight from a nintendo 64 game,” writes Renoxzor, who also gave the game a 0. “The best part is having to relearn all your characters with every new patch, did you take a break to have fun outside, bad news… your gear is now outdated and you need to farm it again… Did you have the best gear from hardmode bosses? Bad news, it’s garbage, the first green drops will be a major upgrade… The only thing this paid patch brings, pandas, tons of pandas… only the male panda is unique, sorta… the female only uses the female dwarf model with a panda head.”
Some have attacked Blizzard as a company, referencing other titles such as Diablo 3 to supplement criticisms of Mists of Pandaria.
“Blizzard became a greedy, **** company. Diablo 3 was a spit in the face, and this is the last straw. I wonder how many times people gonna eat the same recoloured, casual turd?”
Company hate aside, other users make some salient points, you just have to sift through the hate to find them: “Blizzard creates good games. But at some point in the last 5 yeas they stopped caring for the playerbase and instead are only thinking profit and money. MOP is not a bad expansion per say. But its just not good enough in terms of 10 million subscriber based game that should be delivering content regularly and with full focus on improving every aspect of the game.
“Blizzard is not doing that. For the last 5 years most of the money they got for WOW has gone into other games they are making and WOW is suffering because of it. It has been left to rot – just like 8 months of last raiding tier in Cata goes to show. They didn’t even have an active Live content crew on the game to keep the subscribers intrested.
“Instead they created Annual pass so ppl could SUB for MOP beta. Just bad all around. Im playing and leveling – but the bitterness of how BLizzard is doing their buisness these days is hard to swallow”
On the one hand it might be a bit unreasonable to expect Blizzard to pour significant resources into creating sweeping changes for an old game on the decline, but on the other World of Warcraft is much as service as it is a game, one that asks customers to continuously pay for access. From this perspective should we be expecting more from Blizzard and its expansions, even if they’ve probably moved on to bigger and better things?
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