Building off of yesterday’s post, along with a decline in subscriptions and purchasing Candy Crush for a bazillion dollars, Blizzard will no longer be releasing subscription numbers. As you can imagine, this sends some people into a fit about hiding failure, etc. Personally, I have to ask whether or not it matters.
WoW has a lot of subscribers. Whether you go from 5 million to 10 million, the effect on a player’s “quality of life” in-game is next to nothing. The way in which they’ve phased all of the servers together and how we all seem to play with people on all servers anyway, I stopped caring. When you reach this many people it doesn’t matter. If they dropped below 1 million, and less than half of that were NA, then we can talk.
The real issue here isn’t “hiding failure” or anything like that. It’s about business metrics. Blizzard doesn’t want to focus on subscription numbers because they are obviously looking to monetize their products differently. We’re seeing a transition to revenue per player — an emphasis on money first.
Businesses measure success of a game differently than the players. I measure a game’s success based on an overall fun factor, how long it lasts, how immersed in the game I feel, quality of mechanics, 3 monther status, etc., etc., the list goes on. Suffice it to say, I can look at a game and think it sucks and failed miserably, but the business behind the game can think it was a wild success. That’s the Candy Crush model. They release dozens and dozens of fire cracker games that flash in the pan and generate revenue and go away or not. Did they make money? If so, can they rinse and repeat? That’s all that matters.
So in the end the consumer will see a decline in the style of game we enjoy in order to satisfy the metrics now being measured differently. The result of this transition has far graver consequences than hiding a failing WoW. It signals yet another step towardÂ focusing on the money rather than the games.