Predictions for World of Warcraft and Windows 8

I finally got around to seeing if the fall-off in WoW subscriptions that I had predicted to friends for Q1 in 2013 had occurred. It did, in spades.

My prediction that 12 million after Cat was the WoW high water mark is holding. Frankly, I don’t see them getting back to 10 million after losing 1.3 million (15% of their total) subscribers in a single quarter. To put it in perspective, their current 8.3 million subscribers takes them back to below Q1 2007 subscription levels (then 8.5 million).


WoW will still be a legal loot printing press for years, of course. But, all things age out after a while.

It may be that games like DOTA2 are eating into them or maybe fewer people in a tight economy can justify $15 a month with so many free-to-play offerings. Or, maybe modern graphics expectations and a 2005-era RPG experience are catching up with an aging game (that costs $15 a month to play).

I concede the real tale of the tape will be the Q2 numbers. Unless WoW can staunch the bleeding, they could easily drop down to 2006 subscriber numbers. Dropping below 8 million would hurt.

UPDATE: The Q2 numbers who WoW lost another 600,000 subscribers and is at 7.7 million. This takes them down to 2006 levels.

Also kind of fun to see a sort-of-dubious milestone in that Windows 8 has finally overtaken Vista in terms of world-wide users.

“Days after Microsoft released the first preview of Windows 8.1 comes the news that Windows 8 has finally managed to push ahead of its six-year-old pre-predecessor Windows Vista in terms of global market share. According to Net Applications, Windows 8 was used by 5.1 percent of PC users in June 2013, making it the fourth most popular operating system in the world. With 44.4 percent market share, Windows 7 remains the no. 1 operating system in the world, ahead of the well-aged Windows XP and Apple’s Mac OS X.”


It seems the ancient XP (released in 2001!) still has more than seven times the install base (37.2%) than W8. And, as expected, Windows 7 rules the roost at 44.4%. An interesting tidbit is that Windows 7 finally surpassed XP as the world’s most popular OS 11 years (to the exact month) after XP was released.

These kind of number make me think that MS will once again delay pulling the plug on XP support in 2014. There are still too many big users (like my agency) and they have to support us.

I also predict another MS rework of W8, despite their protests to the contrary. MS will invariably bleed some more first (due to the same stubbornness that led to W8 and Vista). But, if Ballmer wants to keep his job (after the head of the Windows division lost his), MS will finally build a version that fully emulates the relatively user-friendly W7 desktop.

They also will need to seriously consider dropping the price (a lot). W8 is not a premium product after that disastrous launch and it needs to be priced accordingly.

Oh, and is a fun site with free access for registering.


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