David Reid, who previously said that he knew where World of Warcraft’s missing subscribers were hiding, came out this week with some comments on the state of the MMO industry, including some subscription numbers for Rift.
I am not sure if he made the Dr. Evil face when he said it, but Rift apparently has ONE MILLION
subscribers customers, making it the number two subscription based western MMO after World of Warcraft.
That is not only quite impressive, but it is a great indication to MMO fans that the genre isn’t dead or headed completely to the realm of Free to Play.
It also bears out the contention that many people have made, which is that MMOs are no longer rare birds, and merely offering a 3D world is no longer enough to assure success. EverQuest could afford to make lots of mistakes. There alternatives were pretty slim back then.
Now, though, MMOs are everywhere. Go look at that chart again!
These days, an MMO needs to execute well and play an aggressive game. Rift certainly came out of the gate more polished than most games and Trion has played the recruitment and retention game very hard from day one.
This aggressive posture has lead some to believe that Rift must not be doing well, and they might well be forgiven that point of view. Certainly, in the past, game companies have waited until things have gone sour before trotting out the inducements that Trion has offered up, from free copies of the game to generous price breaks on subscription plans to free server merges (at least under specific circumstances).
But if Rift has a million
subscribers customers, clearly they have been showing all the right moves. This is a game that, I must admit, comes across as “yet another fantasy MMORPG” to me. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the the fantasy segment of that chart is the most crowded segment, which makes it all that more difficult to succeed.
So to make it to the million
subscriber customer mark is (still) a big freakin’ deal.
Of course, I said “if” they have a million
subscribers customers. I have no evidence to say that they do not, just that past experience with David Reid being a less than reliable source of information. (I know a former Massively Editor-in-Chief who is still spitting nails about that one.)
Let’s hope that at Trion Worlds he is on solid ground and that Rift is succeeding as well as he represents!
That would be good for the whole genre.
[Edit: As somebody pointed out in the comments, Mr. Reid said “customers” not “subscribers.” They still may very well be in second place behind WoW, but the number of subscribers might not be a million.]