Blizzard: 70% of new WoW players don't get past level 10

But game still has 11.5 million players as Cataclysm expansion is confirmed for 2010

Only a third of new players to World of Warcraft make it past level 10 - the tipping point at which the majority of gamers will then go on to become dedicated players - making the title's ongoing success in the marketplace five years after launch all the more impressive.

In an investor call following the release of Activision Blizzard financial results, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime revealed that the game still had a stable subscriber base of 11.5 million players - the same figure as that released when numbers were last discussed in July last year.

With that drop-out rate in mind, Morhaime noted that with the release of Cataclysm - which is slated for availability later this year - the Blizzard team was redesigning the whole classic game world in a bid to bring all of the original content up to "current design standards".

He also announced that the closed beta for Starcraft II would begin last this month, with thousands of players expected to take part across the world, while the revamped platform would be released to allow the RTS sequel to be made available digitally as well as in boxed form.

He also had a few words on the current situation that WoW is facing in China, claiming that its operating partner NetEase was running the game there "normally right now" - and that the suspension of new registrations was linked to a public holiday, rather than yet another political row over content.

However, he did admit that while the company was hopeful that expansion Wrath of the Lich King would be released there soon, that and prior expansion, The Burning Crusade, had been submitted to the authorities for checking.

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Latest comments (8)

Stephen McCarthy Studying Games Technology, Kingston University8 years ago
most people find MMO that you are doing that same thing all the time, over and over. As well there are lots of game just like it on the net where people just copy it to make some fast cash. It so hard to find a MMO where it does not look like it been copy.
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James Osborn Studying Computer Science Networks, University of Hertfordshire8 years ago
That's because 70% signed up to the trial like I did, and found it annoying.
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Michael Foster Studying Computer & Video Game Design, University of Salford8 years ago
I'd suspect that the 70% refers to the trial accounts and accounts that have registered a serial key but not taken further paid time, using only the free month shipped with retail of the game. With 11.5 Million subscriptions under their belt I doubt this 70% is a large population of the WoW players.

As for the grinding in general, it does take a certain type of player to be able to withstand that to the levels that only a top percent can manage. I do enjoy WoW, and I do have 80s on the account but it was over a lengthy period, probably long enough to be considered 'noobish' by most ;) .

It would be interesting to see if Cataclysm can pick up a significant number of subscriptions due to the original game world being revamped creativly and mechanically. That being said however, I do suspect that as the level cap races further onwards from that ever memorable first log in we'll start to see a decline in subscriptions
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Lance Winter Game Designer, Nordeus8 years ago
Essentially what Blizzard are saying here is that they have a 30% conversion rate from the "game demo".

That's already quite a good strike rate - but Blizzard must surely be wondering what to do in order to grab that other 70%.

If anything, this is surely good news for pretenders to the MMO throne who now know that rather than trying to unseat WoW, all they really need to do is to court gamers with an entirely different proposition.

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Albert Schmidt Game News Reporter 8 years ago
I wonder if Blizzard is using the data based on those players and putting them in their subscriber data where they are claiming they have 11.5 million active accounts? Hmmmmm I wonder?
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Jose Garayua network engineer 8 years ago
Any idea how many are from gold farmers and scammers using to break into accounts and transfer goods?
I doubt that these individuals are paying for a easily traced account
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Jack Ryan8 years ago
Blizzard has obviously weighed up that there are more casual and new players willing to play than catering to their hardcore and vanilla players. They have totally removed the challenge from the game and is nowhere near as challenging as it used to be. That is why I don't really play WoW anymore, and to be honest I hope they're trying to get all their Hardcores to quit so that they don't have to make a decision between WoW and Blizzard's new MMO.
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Kieran MacGough Studying Computer Games Design & Programming, Staffordshire University8 years ago
The trial accounts need the ability to try out higher level content. Would be tough to do, because sticking a player into level 80, with no idea what skills they have wouldn't work. The early level content really doesn't do the end game content any justice.
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