Get your job in front of the right talentSearch our CV libraryUtilise the global reach of

MMO ARPU down 10%, but total sector value rising

Screen Digest: Subs market to reach $2bn by 2014, but WoW's dominance slips

Market analyst Screen Digest has reported a mixed bag for the subscription-based MMO industry.

Total market worth in Europe and North America rose from $1.4 billion in 2008 to $1.6 billion last year, its latest MMOG Report found.

It predicted this would rise to $2 billion by 2014, despite the rise of free to play games.

However, average revenue per user had declined by 10 per cent over the year, Screen Digest claimed.

Blizzard's position as industry leader - with World of Warcraft - appeared unassailable, but its share of the subscription MMO market had declined from 60 per cent to 54 per cent between 2008 and 2009.

The report did not cover the Asian market, but found that 56 per cent of subscriptions in the Western territories covered hailed from North America.

Screen Digest estimated that Western subscriptions reached 13 million in total by the end of last year.

 Get your job in front of the right talentSearch our CV libraryUtilise the global reach of

More stories

Growth of gaming on Facebook slows, stiff challenges ahead

Update: Screen Digest's Steve Bailey adds his comments to the report on the social network's future in gaming

By Matthew Handrahan

Subscription revenue drops for online games

Falls five per cent between 2009 and 2010, but microtransactions are on the rise

By Rachel Weber

Latest comments (8)

Lawrence Makin Audio 10 years ago
The recession couldn't have helped those numbers particularly; unfortunately I have a feeling World of Warcraft will see another resurgence with Cataclysm. A shame really, as the game is now rather dated. We need something fresh and big enough to take the reigns.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Antony Cain Lecturer, Teesside University10 years ago
To be honest, playing WoW actually saved me money (mainly because it stole my social life) so I wouldn't have been surprised at all if a recession drew players in
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Omer Altay Owner / Co Founder, MMOHut10 years ago
Recession actually boosts demand for MMORPGs. I suspect the entire industry actually benefited from the recession.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (8)
Reed N Studying Computer Science, Dakota State University10 years ago
@Lawrence :: look into Guild Wars 2. it looks like a work of art as of now and introduces some new ideas into a new game world.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Christopher Willis10 years ago
I agree with Reed. There are more companies like ArenaNet, Trion, and Bioware which are focused on high quality MMOG titles to be released into the market (as well as many companies getting the message to release 'when it's ready'). The competition should increase for consumers attention in this market as more players are drawn in through an ever increasing number of high quality games being released late this year and throughout 2011. I can easily see more non MMO gamers being drawn into this genre through mere word of mouth advertising as well as regular forms of advertising as well.

Rift, Vindictus, End of Nations, SW: ToR, WoW: Cata, and Guild Wars 2 all look to be high quality content that should draw more attention then ever into this market. As such I believe this forecast could be wrong as the market could grow even larger then this by 2014, however this is merely speculation on my part. IF companies can really drive home the idea to gamers across any and all platforms that MMO's are the most entertainment for your buck, as well as great social meeting spaces and avenues of competition, then we will definitely see more and more try this genre out.

Guild Wars 2 has drawn a ton of attention to itself, however it does lack the sub based model and focuses on the microtransaction method of drawing in addition revenue.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Christopher Willis on 25th September 2010 10:03pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Doug Paras10 years ago
I hear alot of people jumping to FFXIV these days.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
David Amirian Writer 10 years ago
well, its a share percentage. there's no hard numbers so we dont know if the industry as a whole went up or down in terms of how many actual people. Revenues increased, so that makes it seem like there's more people than ever, especially considering they're making "10 percent less" than last year per user.

And I don't see how its unfortunate that a game being "dated" still exists and is doing well. If a game is good you should expect people to want to play your game for years to come, and Blizzard is constantly changing the game to make it different, so its not exactly the same game you started out with in 2004 by any means.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Dan Griliopoulos Lead Content Editor, Improbable10 years ago
(Disclosure: I do the PR for lots of MMOs like Guild Wars 2, Global Agenda, etc.)

People really are trying out lots of different profit models at the moment for AAA MMOs - it's nice to see the Guild Wars model getting increasing traction, as it rewards the developer's gamble of spending all that money making it AAA early on; but it's always hard to increase the community size when there's a large upfront payment for trying the game out. Trials and demos help, but F2P titles with microtransactions are huge, and hugely profitable; look at the Clone Wars getting its first million players so quickly.

It does seem a little arbitrary to separate these out; lots of the AAA F2P MMOs are former upfront and subs-based MMOs, like LOTRO or D&D Online; but I guess that's what analysts have to do.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.