swtor return Blizzard acknowledges Star Wars: The Old Republic effect on World of Warcraft

Blizzard has admitted that the launch of rival massively multiplayer online (MMO) game Star Wars: The Old Republic has had a negative effect on its leading title, World of Warcraft, and the company has some plans up its sleeve to bring players back.

Blizzard has admitted that the launch of rival massively multiplayer online (MMO) game Star Wars: The Old Republic has had a negative effect on its leading title, World of Warcraft, and the company has some plans up its sleeve to bring players back.

 
The Irvine, California-based firm has been losing subscribers since a peak of over 12 million in 2010. Before BioWare's Star Wars title launched in December of last year, Blizzard recorded World of Warcraft subscriptions at just over 10 million people, a huge drop as the hype meter went off the charts for a shared, persistent world of lightsabers and blasters. Since The Old Republic's launch Blizzard has not yet shared subscriber numbers, which are likely down even further.
 
"Of course people are trying Star Wars – our development team are trying Star Wars!” said John Lagrave, senior producer on World of Warcraft. “I'm one of the few people who's still playing it actually, but yeah we've seen a dip in subs. It certainly has to at least be attributable to The Old Republic, but it's also attributable to people who want to wait and get Mists of Pandaria, so it's not surprising.”
 
Mists of Pandaria is Blizzard's upcoming expansion for World of Warcraft, featuring a new Asian-themed zone, a new panda-style race, and a new monk class. Its announcement has proven controversial, as some players thought it was a step too far in the direction of making the game child-friendly.
 
 Blizzard acknowledges Star Wars: The Old Republic effect on World of Warcraft
 
World of Warcraft offers a free trial up to level 20, but Lagrave suggested that the company could open the trial up to level 40 or 60, letting users experience much more of the older parts of the game for free. This could help bring in new players, but it appears that a full free-to-play conversion, like that made by Turbine with its Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online titles, is not currently being considered.
 
Blizzard has been steadily moving developer talent away from World of Warcraft to its highly-secretive Project Titan, a second MMO title it has been working on for some time. Details remain under wraps, but it is hoping to keep both games running simultaneously, despite the potential for it to ultimately end up competing with itself.
 
With the developer might of BioWare and the much-loved Star Wars setting, it is not surprising that The Old Republic is presenting a genuine threat to the market leader. After only three months in operation the game is approaching two million paying subscribers and is the fastest growing MMO in North America. What is surprising, however, is that Blizzard is vocally recognising this threat.
 
Source: Eurogamer