Did you miss GamesBeat Summit 2021? Watch on-demand here! 

I don’t think Blizzard wants us to watch World of Warcraft’s subscription numbers continue to shrink.

Activision Blizzard revealed today that its popular MMO (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) now has 5.5 million monthly subscribers paying around $15 every 30 days, in its last report of this number. This is a slight drop from the 5.6 million it reported in August. This could mean that while the bleeding isn’t stopping, it might be leveling out.

However, this number still represents the MMO’s lowest player base since 2005. World of Warcraft originally came out in late 2004. It’s easily the most popular MMO out there, with most of its competitors ditching the monthly subscription model all together. At its peak, World of Warcraft had 12 million paying players in 2010. This number could go back up after the release of Legion, the game’s sixth expansion. We’ll likely hear more about it at this week’s BlizzCon event.

According to GameSpot, Activision Blizzard will no longer report subscription numbers for World of Warcraft, so this will be the last time we can use this metric as a way of measuring the game’s popularity. In the future, the company will share unspecified engagement numbers. These could focus more on total revenue and hours played.

The MMO market was worth $17 billion in 2014, according to Newzoo, with 85 percent of that revenue coming from free-to-play. While MMOs were once the trendiest thing in PC gaming, MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arena) like League of Legends and Dota 2 have soared in popularity.


GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties
Become a member