Will Another MMORPG Ever Top World Of Warcraft?
Billions Of Dollars. Millions Of Players. Will Another MMORPG Top WoW?
With the World Of Warcraft movie just being released, I think it’s time to tip our hats and nod in approval to the greatest gaming series of all time, that is World Of Warcraft. The movie shattered Chinese Theatre records and has grossed over $100M in its short span in theaters so far, and It really made me wonder — Will another MMORPG, let alone game top World Of Warcraft?
The original World Of Warcraft game released in November of 2004 and since then there have been 5 expansions with another 5 or more rumored as long as WoW continues to be profitable — which doesn’t seem it will stop anytime soon. In its 12 year history, World Of Warcraft has brought in $400M worth of revenue, just off of the original box game, none of the expansions or subscriptions included in that. Imagine how much more revenue if it wasn’t a PC game where it can be so easily torrented? Not only that, to put that in perspective that’s more revenue than Guild Wars and Elder Scrolls Online COMBINED — and once again that’s the just the original box game.
As far as the 5 already released expansions, Blizzard has sold 42 Million copies in exchange for $630M in revenue, one again just off of expansions we didn’t even get to subscriptions yet. Let’s compare it to CoD, a game that releases ever year. Since 2003 CoD has sold a very incredible 160M copies. For a $60 box game that’s around $10 Billion bucks in sales, that’s a lot of money, but CoD has also released 11 games in 2003, World Of Warcraft has only released 6. So Blizzard/WoW has spent less money on marketing and the game itself to net equivalent profit numbers in 12 years compared to 13. The catch is that I showed you $1B of revenue from just copies sold, World Of Warcraft has 100% a number of more in-game purchases than even the modern Call Of Duty’s do. From this business inside article in 2012, World Of Warcraft has grossed over 10 Billion US Dollars, without subscriptions like I said earlier, we haven’t even gotten to the good stuff.
Since its release in 2004, the MMORPG has over 5 Million active subscribers, and that’s just me being lenient with them have seen numbers as high as 12 Million in Quarter 3 of 2012. Since its beginnings in 2004 World Of Warcraft has seen over $3 Billion in revenue from subscriptions, that’s a bigger GDP(Gross Domestic Product) than 30 countries in the world, just off of subscriptions. The average big MMORPG revenue per year is somewhere between $150-$200M dollars per, World Of Warcraft? Over $1B. Also, based on this chart from 2013 here, World Of Warcraft’s market share is somewhere around 33% to 35% in a genre that has a plethora of AAA titles that are actively played.
You may be asking how and why are WoW fans so loyal or how do they keep so many subs when expansions don’t come out often? Well, that’s where the part of Blizzard not just being a great company revenue and money wise, but being actually good developers. The thing about World Of Warcraft is that it’s not just a money maker, it’s actually a good game. According to the stats collected here, to beat World Of Warcraft entirely, Cooperatively it would take 4567 Hours to beat it — that’s 274020 minutes or 190 days of playing time, that’s a little over half a year of game time. World Of Warcraft has a ridiculous amount of content, and since its 100% community driven, it’s technically never ending as far as what there is to do.
Like mentioned already WoW just doesn’t do good on the sales, or the longevity they also do good in the ratings. Clearly for people to invest so much time into the game, it has to be at least decent — but WoW is far from just decent. Every single Warcraft expansion has received above an 80 score, or green and only 2 have received below a 90 on Metacritic. (Mist Of Pandaria 82 and Warlords Of Draenor)
Revenue wise, sales wise, profit wise, ratings wise and pretty much everything in the book shows that World Of Warcraft is the greatest MMORPG series of all time let alone gaming series. The numbers I found compared to other MMORPGs were so dwarfing on WoW’s favor I had to grab the only other true competitors stat’s, Call Of Duty. With another 5 or so expansions rumored for WoW, I expected them to gross over $20B as a one gaming series unit in less than 20 years(2004–2024), numbers only companies like Apple have seen, let alone just a particular gaming series. What they have done is truly remarkable. So to answer your question, will World Of Warcraft ever be topped as the #1 MMORPG? Nope, never.
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