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Reader Comments (9)

Posted: Dec 12th 2007 10:33AM (Unverified) said

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No serious analysis of subscription-based MMOs should be missing Club Penguin, which i believe has a larger NA market share than WoW.

Posted: Dec 12th 2007 10:57AM (Unverified) said

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wow that is an incredibly intereesting set of charts. i didnt know the subscription service model was that cut and dry, almost 50-50 between paying and non-paying!! of course wow holds #1 by alot but i am glad to see games like puzzle pirates keeping their user-base going. 34k active subscribers and holding, had my subscription to it since it came out and loved every second :)

Posted: Dec 12th 2007 11:45AM (Unverified) said

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Are you guys kidding?

Should we create a website that compares our perceived "awesomeness" of Massivley, Kotaku, Joystiq and the like? with pie charts? and a monthly "winner"?





From http://mmogdata.voig.com/Information/FAQ.HTML :

6. Your numbers are all made up or are just guesses!


I assure you, they are not. It is true that many companies keep their subscriber numbers confidential, but others are more open about it (less so as each month goes by). Almost all of the data I use comes from actual sources, although often those sources are insiders who only give the information on the condition of anonymity. If I simply wanted to make up numbers, I’d put out an update every week, and those updates would quickly be revealed as faulty when compared to, say, company press releases. So, while I am the first to admit that the data is not always reliable and it is most definitely not made up – or at least, not by me.



Its nice that we have something to go on, and I would love to see a site like this (if the data is incorrect) to push companies to produce that data, but we have absolutely no validity or confirmation to these numbers. There isn't even an industry wide "subscription" or "player" definition.

Posted: Dec 12th 2007 12:00PM KaTing said

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Who is beating WHOM? :P

Posted: Dec 12th 2007 12:14PM (Unverified) said

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Thanks for checking that :) Updated
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Posted: Dec 12th 2007 2:41PM (Unverified) said

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It's handy to get this data but it's worth pointing out that there are a lot of apples to carrots comparisons in there, and they end up serving to make the comparisons a lot less meaningful.

For instance, WoW does not have 9 million subscribers. They have a few million subscribers in North America and Europe, and then their Asian (mostly Chinese) players, who do not pay a subscription to the developer to play.

Guild Wars has no subscribers at all, yet their total user numbers are reported. On the other hand, only the subscriber numbers (rather than the total user numbers) for Runescape are reported. Same issue with Puzzle Pirates. I believe they are reporting customers for PP rather than subscribers (as most of their customers are not playing on the subscription servers), though my confidence level isn't 100% there.

--matt
(Glad these guys are putting these numbers together...please don't get the idea that I'm criticizing their intent. I just would prefer to see more apples to apples comparisons.)

Posted: Dec 12th 2007 5:13PM (Unverified) said

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Eve Online has long been accused of inflating its subscriber figures, and as someone who played the game, I know that three, four, even five accounts held by a single real life person are far from uncommon. Is that person counted as one subscriber, or as five?

In addition, Eve has been said to lump in the fourteen-day free trial account users in subscription numbers, which of course grossly exaggerates actual subscriber figures.

In addition Eve has frequently run a limited-time special pricing offer for a second account--not a new account, but a second account tied to an existing account--and from my reckoning they usually do it right around the end of the fiscal quarter; if I were pressed to assume a motive, I'd say it was to bolster subscription figures for whatever financial powers are behind the company.

Would you ever consider doing a piece on who seems to exaggerate figures, when, and why? It would be very interesting reading.

Posted: Dec 13th 2007 10:54AM (Unverified) said

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I think every company counts trials/discounted offers/subs etc. I've tried to cancel magazine subscriptions, satellite radio, TiVo, etc. and they'll give me an incredibly discounted rate - like, $1 a month or something - and I'm sure it's just to keep me on the books, because I would have left anyway, and now they can count me in their numbers.
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Posted: Dec 13th 2007 2:26PM (Unverified) said

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No way those Second Life figures are accurate. They seem to include every single person who ever tried Second Life, pretty much ever. Including me, for my 30 minute exploration. It's notoriously hard to get reliable SL statistics, but median concurrency is only around 35,000. That hardly equates out to 6.5+ million ACTIVE users.

The Guild Wars and EVE Online figures are similarly specious.

These figures are ridiculous. They put way more effort into graphs then into creating a rigorous criteria for actual measurement.

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