Sep 16, 2011

MMO subscriptions declining

Screen Digest have just completed a report that MMO subs to European and American MMOs has fallen for the first time since they started tracking data back in 2002.

2008 saw growth of almost 22% while in 2009 the growth had shrunk to just 10%.

Screen Digest are predicting that the down turn will continue towards 2015 when MMO Subs are expected to bring in only $1.33 billion, that’s down from $1.58 billion in 2010.

The downward trend is due to more and more games going F2P with micro transactions, in fact micro transactions are up 24% more than 2009 and when you put the two figures together MMO revenue across the sector rose 5% to $2.7 billion in 2010 and is predicted to rise to $3.1 billion by 2015.

So what does that mean for the current crop of older sub based games like World of Warcraft, not a lot it seems, as Blizzard’s WoW may actually continue to rise as new regions take on the game.

It seems that even Screen Digest’s own predictions back in 2007 were a little way off the mark as they under predicted the revenue from MMO’s by over a $1 billion.

MMO Revenue (2007) Predictions


So you can expect more micro-transaction games and less sub based games in the future, where purchasing upgrades and pay to win may well become the norm, competition is certainly going to be fierce for a share of the revenue of MMO’s.

h/t Eurogamer


  • I think more and more games will go f2p rather than sub based but i think the current sub decline can also in part be attributed to people feeling the squeeze financially. That is the reason I reduced the number of subs I have at the moment. I have a life sub in lotro and as its free more of the guild can play even if its just to drop in and say hi now and again.

    I dropped ww2ol and eq2 as i couldn’t justify a sub at the moment for just the odd play session.

  • This should come as no surprise, as the economy has taken a nose dive, people are watching their spending and spending less overall on their hobbies. I know I personally stopped by comic books because they are so expensive now, I just buy the occasional trade paper back.

  • [...] interesting take on the decline of interest in the mmorpg genre, we can be doomsayers and point to a decrease in subscription rates and the rise in the popularity of DOTA-like games as indicators to where the industry is now [...]

Leave a comment