WoW subscriber count is something that has intrigued the gaming industry for many years. Since the release of World of Warcraft in 2004, it has continued to grow until the release of Cataclysm, where Blizzard is proud to announce that it has 12 million subscribers. Then, the popularity of the MMORPG gradually declined and since Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard no longer talks to the number of players, preferring to talk about commitment.
At Activision Blizzard, we believe this commitment is more representative of the money to create a title. Over the years, the number of paid services has increased and the money a player spends is no longer limited to buying an extension. He can actually buy a WoW Token, a character transfer, a faction change, a mascot or even a mountain.
Number of WoW subscribers from 2005 to 2013
For this period of history, we have official figures. In August 2006, Blizzard announced that it had sold 1.4 million boxes in the USA. WoW was previously a resounding success, surpassing 10 million subscribers in 2008, including more than two million in Europe, 2.5 million in the USA and more than 5 million in Asia. The peak was reached in October 2010 with 12 million subscribers.
Number of WoW subscribers from 2014 to 2022
In January 2014, Blizzard announced that more than 100 million WoW accounts have been created since the game’s launch. On May 7, 2015, Blizzard said it had 7.1 million subscribers. By the end of June of the same year, the number had dropped to 5.6 million to be maintained during the summer. At the end of September, there were 5.5 million subscribers.
With Warlords of Draneor, Blizzard has decided to no longer announce the number of subscribers to its game, meaning that statistical institutes and players control the question. Everyone went there from their assumption to provide data on this oh very important number.
In early 2019, a player used Google Trends data between 2004 and 2019 to provide a graph of the number of subscribers. Prices are very good for the season 2004-2015. In subsequent years, it was estimated that the number of subscribers increased to 10 million when Legion was released, but only dropped to 3 million before the release of Battle for Azeroth. The expansion allowed the game to return to 7 million players, but by December 2018 the number had dropped to more than 2 million. As such, Google Trends clearly has limitations and you need to be careful with the results.
Some users rely on API developer data. It gives results that are surprising to say the least because they only announced 2.25 million Legion players, and even 300,000 players at the start of 2016. The curve straightforwardly increased in the BFA (close to 7 million) and even an increase of 8 .4 million. for Shadowlands. Today, according to these data, the game will have almost 1 million subscribers.
100% reliable data is rare these days. For the most part we know Blizzard is for sale 3.7 million copies in Shadowlands the day of the extension’s release, exploded with passing records on the sale of a PC game. It’s also known that a number of players have benefited greatly from the release of WoW Classic at the time, but that BC Classic probably didn’t have the same success. The WotLK Classic can on the other hand be even better given the aura enjoyed by the extension by the players.
In MMO-Population, it is estimated that WoW will still have nearly 3 million players by the summer of 2021. In the winter, things will be more difficult for the game, which has dropped to more than 1 million in the New Year. Patch 9.2, on the other hand, could be useful, allowing WoW to grow to 2 million players.
Let’s end with Statista, a site that offers statistics from institutes, market studies and data from the economic sector. According to him, the fall in subscribers is very real but slower. Unlike other charts, Statista provides one number per year, clearly smoothing out pre-extension declines and post-extension increases.
Over the past five years, WoW has gradually lost players, from 5.4 in 2017 to 4.75 in 2021. By 2022, we will fall slightly above 4.5 million subscribers, to 4, 4 in 2023, despite Dragonflight.
Digging up reliable data on the number of WoW subscribers is an impossible mission. Those are really interesting from the financial results of Activision Blizzard, but they are concerned with all Blizzard games and not just WoW.
There is no doubt that World of Warcraft will never regain the number of players it had in the days of Cataclysm. Logically, the MMO market has evolved and new types of games have arrived. WoW has definitely marked the video game industry but probably didn’t say the last word on it.
As long as the game is useful, we will continue to discover new expansions and likely many more years before Blizzard breaks the final kingdom. It will still be interesting to see if Dragonflight performs better than Shadowlands, or if Blizzard decides not to negotiate sales in the next expansion, which is clearly a bad sign.