Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MMO subscriptions

I did some math yesterday and I’m not sure why. Right now World of Warcraft is still estimated to have about 11 million subscribers. It is also estimated that WoW makes up 62% of the MMO market. I’ve seen these numbers quoted many times on the internet and while we know how reliable internet percentages can be I have no real reason to doubt them, they seem ball park figure accurate.

So at 11,000,000 subscribers and knowing that is 62% that means every 177,419.4 people make up only 1%. Now while this may not seem like a very big revelation at first consider this… most MMOs are only citing at best 300,000 subscribers a month, or 1.7% of the total market.

To make life easy and give everyone the benefit of the doubt let’s pretend it’s an even 2%. At best it would take 14 other MMOs with at least 300,000 subs a month to round out the number to our estimated total which is 17,741,935 people playing MMOs every month. Let’s be honest, the average MMO has far less than 300,000 subs.

What can we take from this? WoW is the exception to the rule of success in the MMO market and not the rule. We don’t know if these numbers can be repeated, I’m sure they can. The thing to take away from this is that a MMO should shoot for 300,000 subscribers, no more.

Don’t try and take on World of Warcraft because you will fail. There is absolutely zero chance to take down the King… for now. As time goes on the King will grow older and weaker and be an easier target but consider this, Blizzard is more than likely going to announce the name of their Prince and heir to these 11 million subscribers this year. So unless you are Blizzard, take your 300k and consider it a victory.

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