Every population ultimately suffers from the same problem. There comes a time when the death rate surpasses the birthrate and an ageing population begins to die off. Right now, that's happening in one specific realm. KitGuru dons robes of condolence +5 and heads into the ether.
Announced in September 2001 and released 3 years later, World of Warcraft has been a 21st century phenomenon.Each successive upgrade to the game, drew in new crowds of players from across the globe, while – at the same time – reconfirming the belief of existing players that they were living in the right world at the right time.
There was a sense that this alternative reality was more real than real and that it would continue to grow and evolve, without limit, into a new future.
Some Wall Street investment portfolios have now taken a beating on hearing the news that at least 1 million Warcraft combatants have died of apathy. No longer drawn to the ~$15 a month game play, the experts have reached the limit and can't be bothered to carry on repeating the pattern of quests and rewards.
If the present pattern of drop outs continues, then Blizzard's world will drop below 10 million users in the very near future.
Alongside the challenges of doing pretty much the same thing, day in and day out, for many years – there is also a sense that new games may provide fresher opportunities to have fun and collaborate with players across the globe. Namely, Bioware's upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic (TOR).
Pre-launch keys are being given away in their tens of thousands and the game itself is set to launch on 20th December 2011, with overall production costs of just under $140 million.
TOR replaces the Divided Empire of Star Wars: Galaxies and it is expected to sail past SGW's 400,000 users in no time at all.
KitGuru says: StarCraft II was a natural transition point for Blizzard, so the powers that be won't be too shocked by the reduction in WoW users. Also, there has been a movement within the company to develop new ways to take money off users, without such a heavy reliance on monthly subscriptions. Still, Blizzard might have left it all too late. Will they manage to evolve like Blackberry or be run over like Nokia?
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