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typodupeerror Update 50

I don't know how I missed it but last week Bruce Woodcock updated his highly informative site,, for the first time in months. His data only goes out to late last year, but he promises another update soon. From the Edge Online blurb: "The charts, neatly broken into separate genre-giants, mid-size, and more-modest categories (largely due to World of Warcraft's unprecedented population squelching its competitors below), show at first glance few surprising results. As expected, World of Warcraft dominates the charts, with the Lineage pair coming in beneath, Final Fantasy XI continuing to gain ground, and UK indie-developed RuneScape coming in at a very respectable 5th, well above several blockbusters below."
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  • by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:08AM (#15148066) Homepage
    There is NO WAY SWG still has over 250K subscribers. Someone recently used a packet sniffer and discovered that the number of people logged in was sent in the clear to the client (this has since been patched), and that it had only 10,400 concurrent logins among all servers in prime time (friday evening).

    We've also seen server populations dwindle, including the server I play on, which is still one of the 5 most active. Used to be you would see 100 people PvP'ing on any given evening, now you are lucky to have 20 total.

    SWG is lucky to have 50-75,000 subscribers left AT MOST.
    • Those idiots are counting characters registered on servers, I'm positive of that. After they allowed people to have two characters instead of one, their 'player count' skyrocketed. Just more phraseology from the morons at SOE.
      • by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:14AM (#15148111) Homepage
        Press reports back in November `05 (when the New Gawfaful Experience was revealed) had SWG's subs at 200K. That was down from 250K during the CU era, and 300K during the pre-CU era.

        I estimate that SWG lost 50-60% of it's sub base as subscriptions expired after the NGE bombshell. There are servers that almost completely lack population now, and even the "large" servers have declined.
    • Friday night is prime time for SWG? No wonder they have no subscrubers left.

      • Friday night is prime time for SWG? No wonder they have no subscrubers left.

        It's prime time for most MMORPGs. When do you think most people have free time, Tuesday mornings?

        (actually you'd think that if you read WoW's forums on Tuesdays..)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The data on that chart is pretty old, he still hasn't had time to update it past January 2006. The SWG figure on the chart comes from June 2005. In fact, only Ultima Online has data as new as January 2006 - everything else is November 2005 or earlier.

      The worst offender for out of date information in popular MMORPGs (defined as "it appears on Chart 1, 120,000+") is Dark Age of Camelot, which hasn't had updated figures in over a year.

      Note that this information is from the Excel sheet, not trying to trace li
    • This chart is largely thought to be bogus in many circles. Lots of MMOs overreport their subscriber bases or do sneaky stuff like count every single person who tried out their 15 day free demo (even if they didn't join) as a free subscriber.

      Even so, it looks like WoW really took the wind out of the sails of Lineage and Lineage II.
      • I don't know about that... I never played Lineage 1 or 2, but even if those numbers are double what they should be... someone's making a ton of cash. I'd be happy in 2nd and 3rd with that! I do agree with the numbers being bogus tho... these are interesting to view but I would'nt bet much on em.
      • why would someone over-report their active subscribers? you'd have to be a moron if you can't show what happened to the revenue generated from those subscriptions when the amount of taxes you paid doesn't add up. Face it, it's a count of active subscriptions. SWG might not have as many active players as they did before, but I'm pretty sure they offered subscriptions in excess of 1 month. Just because you cancelled your automatic billing doesn't make you an inactive subscriber. You have to wait until your s
        • People lie because it makes them look better on charts like this.

          Some of the numbers are pretty decent. Some companies are forced to report the number of active subscriptions they have because they're publicly traded and need to release membership statistics to their shareholders. Others are far more vague and are based on things like press releases and other marketing spin.
        • The audience for revenue numbers is investors. The audience for number of subscriptions is potential gamers. It's easy to lie^H^H^H inflate your numbers to one while telling the truth to the other.
    • They are down 1 more as of yesterday. I found it amusing that their 'exit survey' gave no options for the real reasons I left.

      I think this is more a reflection of people who have multiple memberships paid up for a year. It should drop steadily soon, but SWG still does have a fair number of users.
    • Three words for you: Sony Station Pass.

      All of their subscriptions seem to run together via that. And a lot of folks have signed up for that, just so they can play whatever game they want.
  • Link to the site (Score:5, Informative)

    by prator ( 71051 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:13AM (#15148101)
    Zonk, you could at least check if there is a link to the site described in the summary. []

  • still out of date (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:38AM (#15148344) Homepage Journal
    does not acknowledge fact that Asheron's Call 2 closed in December. Does not acknowledge any new launches since the last true update (D&DO).

    In fact, is any of it valid?

    Perhaps he attempts to claim validity by overwhelming us with numbers and pretty graphs? I admit that he first started his charts I believed there was valid data. As it has gone on I begin to seriously doubt its relevance.
    • I simularly feel the same, a lot of the numbers are very weird, he doesnt consider Lin or Lin 2's official figures to be valid, when he does consider WoW's when its been proven by many people that Blizzard greatly scewed the number by counting past and trial subscriptions along with current subscriptions.

      WoW would still come out on top, but if you actually used real number and not Blizzards official, you would come out well under 4 mill for the game.

      Would love to know where the FFXI numbers came from to

      • when its been proven by many people that Blizzard greatly scewed the number by counting past and trial subscriptions along with current subscriptions.

        Well, Blizzard does explicitly say in their press releases that their figures include trial subs (which by this point must only make up a tiny fraction of the whole, anyway), but it does say it excludes expired subs - got a link to this proof? I'd be very intersted to see it (preferably an up-to-date one, obviously)

    • "April 11, 2006

      Wow, okay, so it's been a while. I updated my data last November, but for some reason the data never got pushed to the web site. I've temporarily released a new Version 19.0 with some of that data, going up to approximately January. I'm going to try to complete a fully revised set of data and analysis as soon as possible. In the meantime, enjoy the new release."
    • To your first point, I think he acknowledges that the data only goes to the end of the year. However, I agree with the overall sentiment. The primary source for his data is publicly released information, and, as we know, PR mouthpieces rarely trumpet bad news.

      If you examine each individual MMORPG, very rarely do you see declines in subscriber base. Typically, you see a growth period followed by an eternal plateau. I'm suspicious that the lack of news isbeing interpreted by the author as a "no change" wh
      • Getting the details out of the people who run Xfire or similar should provide a big enough sample size to get some real figures. It's a MSN type program geared towards gamers, and it shows you what game your friends are currently playing, MMORPGs included. I'm sure they collate this data.

        I'm sure getting the information out of them would be a tall order though!
        • Just to clarify, I'm not for a second thinking this is feasible, but it would be cool if XFire would do it, similar to the periodical PC hardware surveys Steam creates.
    • I think it is valid if you consider that it's relative not absolute values you want to compare.

      Regardless of how the companies reported it, they're going to report their best, biggest numbers. Assume that all the companies fudge their numbers in the same way. Therefore, all of the games start on an even, though falsified, basis: "At some point, we had this many players."

      I think pointing out the obvious of "out of date" is a bit harsh on the chart's author, too. Of course it's out of date. He even states t

    • I don't think this is a full update of all the games shown. The numbers for say SWG only go on the chart as being through July of last year. Read the news blurb on the main site, it says this is a partial update with data through Jan '06 and he is working on a completely new release of stats to be out soon. (hopefully)
  • RuneScape (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tickenest ( 544722 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:56AM (#15148548) Homepage Journal
    Geez, how has the success of RuneScape gone so unnoticed? I mean, yeah, it's Java-based, and its graphics pale in comparison to other games, but yeowza, they're pulling in the subscribers, and they not backed by some huge corporation. Their accomplishments in this marketplace are nothing short of remarkable.
    • well it's one of those games that grow due to user base, lots of people play just once to see what's the fuss about it is, and people get on because their friends are on their, the active user base is probaly much yes then the number of subscribers.
  • How much longer until turbine pulls the plug on this one? It will always be my favorite, but it's not able to bring new people in or keep existing players around anymore.
  • Sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cspariah ( 958194 )
    While Bruce's work is sort of interesting, it is very frustrating when people take it as gospel. Even the numbers that he feels confident enough to give a "B" to, "The numbers may not be exact for the MMOG in question, but are certainly in the ballpark," can sometimes be waaaaaay off.
    • True, but it's the easiest way I know to get some numbers. Most of the companies hosting these MMOGs certainly don't want to give up that sort of information (especially the ones that have had major drop-offs).

      If I was in a job that required solid facts on these numbers, I'd pay the money and (hopefully) get something more exact. But I'm blessed with only having to worry about selling single-player games, so tracking MMOG numbers is just a hobby. :)

      • Well I for one am pleased at the hard work, effort and detective work you put into your hobby of trying to pin down these numbers, especially when the companies involved don't want to tell the truth about these figures.

  • I think his number for eve online are quite off its definatly passed 100k accounts now and that was ages ago.
    • eve has 20k+ at primetime (max of 25k or so lately). It absolutely has more than 100k subscribers.

      Note that eve's primetimes are bit different than other games. I often see tons of people sunday afternoon.


The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court