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Blizzard – WoW Subscribers and the Diablo III Economy May 9, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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So far this week has not bee full of good news for Blizzard.

There was the 1.08 patch for Diablo III, rolled out on US servers the day before yesterday, which was touted as bringing serious improvements to the game, including changes to the surprisingly popular auction house.

Unfortunately, one side effect was the introduction of a bug that allowed players to basically create gold out of thin air… or virtual thin air… thus putting the whole in-game economy in peril.  I don’t think that was the auction house fix they were looking for, and continues along with Diablo III’s somewhat hard luck tale.

Oh, I remember that

Oh, I remember that

Blizzard jumped right on this, once they noticed it, shutting down the auction house. They have since reported that the bug has been fixed.  However, there remained the question of what to do.  There was talk of a complete roll-back to a pre-patch save.  However, they chose to do it the hard way, opting to manually fix each account that used the bug.  I have not seen any word about people being banned for using what was obviously an exploit, but I suspect there will be some sanctions.

As of this time, the auction house on US servers remains closed, and will stay so until all current auctions expire.

The updated has been fixed and should roll out without the exploit on EU and Asian servers.

ActiBlizz450Then there was the Activision Blizzard quarterly report where, after a rise in subscribers with the release of Pandaria and then holding steady the next quarter, a drop of 1.3 million subscribers was announced for the past quarter, the subscriber base moving from 9.6 million to 8.3 million players.

I once wrote that WoW dropped more subscribers than SWTOR had in total.  This time around it apparently dropped more than twice as many.

As has become a standard part of these sorts of announcements, it was stated that most of the losses were in China, which have a much smaller impact on revenue, it was allowed that there were subscription losses in the west and that the company expected the subscriber base at the end of the year to be smaller than it is now.

Expect nothing new for WoW this year I guess.

Bobby Kotick was quick to point out that WoW remains one of the most successful video game franchises and, no doubt, continues to be insanely profitable.

The quarterly report is available here.

Comments»

1. Devilstower - May 9, 2013

Completely off topic, but since World of Tanks hasn’t come up recently, I just wanted you to know that your WOT war stories had lured me into playing.

In three evenings of obsessive tank driving, I’ve come to love my maxed out little T-18. I always played an archer in fantasy MMOs, so this “sniper” role feels somewhat natural. Plus that front sheild on a T-18 can take a hit before crumbling. Likewise, I’m pretty keen on the little M2 light tank. It’s a blast to go barreling through the enemy at high speed, juking and dodging, lighting up the locations and diving back out with only a few dings to show. Every now and then I even catch someone unawares and blow their little treads off. I’ve just upgraded to the M3 Stuart, and it seems almost as nimble.

But the serious tanks — the T2 medium the M2 Medium… man, I do not like these machines. Creaky, slow turrets, and they seem to have bodies made from high explosive, since I can’t even count the number of times I’ve go down with a single shot. I think the T2 explodes if someone looks at it.

I’m certainly still completely miserable at WOT (bad enough that I can find myself in the garage looking at three simultaneous “in battle” markers) but at least with the T-18 and M2 I picked up a fair collection of chest decorations.

Now that I’ve moved to ther Tier III tanks and find myself in battles that include Tier V vehicles, it often seems that I might as well be shooting paper wads. No matter how carefully I aim at supposed weak points, I can’t make a dent. It’s a little ironic to get a sharpshooter medal for hitting the same vehicle ten times in a row, knowing that at the end of that streak the guy on the other end of my sights was still setting at 100%.

I’m thinking it’s a scheme to get me to buy gold ammo.

But in any case, I’m having a blast (pun intended).

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2. Wilhelm Arcturus - May 9, 2013

@Devilstower – Off topic comments get lost forever. Just know that.

Glad you are enjoying it. The game has much to recommend it. At about tier V the vehicles really start to get their own feel across the board. It also seems to be the tier where people start getting serious and maybe the last tier where you make money on every match whether you win or lose.

One of the reasons I would like to get a tier X vehicle is to be assured that I will be in the top tier in every match.

As for me, I have been playing a lot of Civ V this week and not much tanks… or anything else.

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3. sleepysam - May 9, 2013

Odd – I fired up Civ V this week also. Makes me sleepy at work. I’ll take comfort knowing this even more off-topic comment will be similarly lost to the sands of time.

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4. Matt - May 10, 2013

Expectations of WoW’s further decline will probably be the only thing that finally pushes Blizzard to turn Titan into something more than a concept.

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