Blizzard: WoW's subscribership has plateaued, faces same challenges as a TV series

“I always compare it to how most games are like making a feature film, whereas an MMOG is more like running a TV series," said Rob Pardo, executive vice president of game design at Blizzard, in a recent interview with Edge.

As World of Warcraft approaches the eve of its most anticipated expansion yet, Pardo reflects on what made WoW great, and how to keep its going.

“Some series last a few seasons and some go on for 26 seasons. Now can WoW become more like that? I hope so. We do have the ability to continually add to the game and evolve it, but the trickier challenge is that eventually people are going to want to move onto new types of entertainment.”

With 12 million players ‘tuning in’ to WoW, the MMO’s popularity has never been higher… but it has ‘plateaued’ in recent months. When asked if Cataclysm is a response to this leveling off of subscribers, Pardo responded:

“I think it's also that the economy has an effect, but for us it just caused us to plateau, but we haven't shrank - it's just affected our growth. There's multiple factors involved in the economical aspect to it. I feel we're really happy that we've maintained our subscriptions. Everyone wants expansion at the end of the day, but it's not that Cataclysm uniquely is… We do look at numbers occasionally but it doesn't drive us all the time. Our design is driven by what we think is going to be fun.” 

Like Law & Order, World of Warcraft is going to keep on ticking for the foreseeable future, but even though WoW wil fade - as it inevitably must - Pardo is optimistic about the future.

“I certainly think that WoW, like a lot of similar games, has been influential. Just like FPS games of today are still influenced by Doom and Quake. But it's more about games that are built on top of those principles. So I think that's where you're going to see the influence of something like WoW or Everquest. There will be similar games definitely influenced by those genre-defining titles. You'll definitely see WoW's influence in bigger MMOGs in the future, and WoW will then fade into the past as just being another of those similar games.”

You can check out the full interview at Edge.

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  • NegaCostas - December 5, 2010 8 a.m.

    Doctor who ran for 26 seasons
  • EroticInvisibleMan - December 5, 2010 1:31 a.m.

    @jmcgrotty Neighbours is in it's 26th season as we speak.
  • Uppercut - December 4, 2010 9:28 a.m.

    This prolly aint the longest running but just of the top of my head simpsons has been running for 22 season im sure some of thos shitty soaps have ran even longer so gunsmoke aint holding any record.
  • jmcgrotty - December 4, 2010 7:43 a.m.

    “Some series last a few seasons and some go on for 26 seasons." While I understand the analogy he is trying to use, no tv show has ever gone on for 26 seasons. Gunsmoke holds the record at 20 seasons.
  • Bitchslapthehomeless - December 4, 2010 2:31 a.m.

    I do agree, without some more fundamental gameplay changes, I'm pretty sure wow has hit its plateau. I mean, the game has been around 6 years, I'd say that Cataclysm will bring people back for a few months, and it'll dwindle again, especially with Diablo III looming.
  • n00b - December 4, 2010 2:07 a.m.

    @Blackrazed can't argue bout the graphics being outdated though
  • Blackrazed - December 4, 2010 1:52 a.m.

    Frex, go look at the previous Warcraft games and compare the style to this one. are you to ignorant to see that it's just the style of how they make it??
  • Frexerik - December 4, 2010 1:38 a.m.

    i think i would actually play wow if they upgraded the grapics to something not so cartoony...
  • fallsogracefully - December 4, 2010 1:01 a.m.

    once Jim and Pam got together, it's just became boring.
  • SolarPoweredShitMachine - December 4, 2010 12:31 a.m.

    WoW got boring near the end of season 3...

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