World of Warcraft still Top Pay-to-Play MMO for 2013

Written by Chad

July 19, 2014

world of warcraft orc

The world’s most popular MMORPG is still the top pay-to-play MMO in terms of revenue despite the decline on the overall revenue of the pay-to-play market.


Blizzard’s World of Warcraft still proves they are still king of the pay-to-play business model for MMO games for the longest time, occupying 36% of the total revenue of $2.9 billion for the entire year of 2013. The revenue for subscription based MMOs have started to decline since 2010 with the rise of popularity of several free-to-play MMOs that featured micro-transactions as their business model, in which showed an increase on their sales. The number of subscribers also has significantly dropped from 30.6 million monthly active users in 2010 to 23.4 million in 2013.

While World of Warcraft dominated the sales, they were followed by the classic 2D MMORPG Lineage I by NCsoft, next was TERA Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic (SW:TOR shifted into the free-to-play micro-transaction business model on November of 2013). But some experts are predicting that the pay-to-play market will begin to rise again despite the continuous decrease of subscribers on old and current games with the recent launch of NCsoft’s Wildstar and Bethesda Softworks’ Elder Scrolls Online. Experts believed that the pay-to-play business model will stabilize in the coming years as the free-to-play market begins to saturate.

Right now ESO has a total of 772,374 subscribers as of June 2014 since its official release on April of the same year. Wildstar will be expected to get more subscribers as sci-fi themed games have stronger demand than fantasy themed games as sci-fi styled games has three times more monthly revenues.

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