EA has just announced the subscription figures for Warhammer Online (WAR) one quarter post-launch. In the midst of news about financial losses, people getting pink skips and titles being cancelled came the news that WAR has 300 000 paying subscribers at the end of December 2008, roughly 3 months after launch.
This is a huge decline. The original EA reports trumpeted that 1.5 million WAR boxes were sold to retailers. On the back of this, 1.2 million boxes were sold to players of whom 800 000 activated accounts. In three months it has gone from 800 000 active subscribers to 300 000 subscribers (and who the heck knows what is going on with the 400 000 boxes bought but not activated). Comparing launch to December 2008, WAR has seen active subscription numbers decline by 62.5%.
Woah. Mark Jacobs promises he'll say something about those numbers if he's allowed to but it would have to be an epic amount of spin. We live in hope.
Now, let's compare these figures to Age of Conan (AoC), the other hugely disappointing MMO launched last year. Over 1 million boxes were shipped to retailers (the total number over the first quarter post launch was 1.2 million) of which 800 000 were purchased. Around 700 000 AoC accounts were activated at launch but again, at roughly a quarter of a year post-launch, active subscription numbers were 415 000. Comparing launch to about August 2008, this is a decline of active subscriber numbers of about 59.3%.
For both titles, retention rates obviously suck for the first three months of their existence. However, WAR's suck a bit more off a higher number of activated accounts and also because more was spent developing WAR than AoC.