This Tuesday, January 18, 2022, the information fell: Microsoft wants to buy Activision Blizzard for 68.7 billion dollars. A takeover which must still be finalized, but which could make Microsoft the third largest video game company, behind Tencent and Sony. Among his acquisitions is the legendary World of Warcraft, Blizzard’s cult MMORPG. Following this acquisition, World of Warcraft could well take the direction of free-to-play.
an MMORPG on the decline
After a golden age spotted in 2012, World of Warcraft has been in a long decline. Its number of subscribers, then 12 million, ended up falling tirelessly to reach 5.6 million in 2015. Latest official data shared by Blizzard, the curious must now go to third parties to try to determine the number of current MMORPG subscribers. And according to estimates, World of Warcraft would contain no less than 4.74 million subscribers in 2020. Far from its heyday, Blizzard’s title is also struggling to contain the enthusiasm aroused by Final Fantasy XIV, the phoenix stamped Square Enix, which was even forced to be withdrawn from sales, for lack of space on its servers.
Unfortunately for World of Warcraft, the complaint against Blizzard filed in July 2020 turned its development upside down, forcing its teams to turn away from the next additions to modify its content deemed inappropriate, in an era where inclusion is necessary. In addition, many players have not been satisfied with the latest expansions of the game in particular shadowlands. Players rumble, believing that they are not being listened to by the developers. But at a time when Blizzard finds itself forced to postpone its initial plans to manage its internal crisis, there is a way out in Microsoft’s entity.
With this acquisition worth 68.7 billion dollars, Microsoft could well bring a second wind to World of Warcraft. And for good reason, Microsoft’s ultimate goal remains to offer the most complete Game Pass offer possible. A particularly attractive and lucrative service which has no less than 25 million subscribers. With its wallet full to bursting and its monumental strike force, Microsoft could well offer a breath of fresh air to World of Warcraft. And for good reason, including World of Warcraft in the Game Pass, the Redmond company could reach a whole new audience.
Exit the subscription, make way for free-to-play?
A resurgence of popularity which could thus relaunch World of Warcraft with new players. One of the problems with MMORPGs, besides the time it is necessary to devote to them, is their cost. In the case of World of Warcraft, it is a monthly subscription varying between €10.99 and €12.99, depending on the offer selected. But with its integration into Game Pass, World of Warcraft could thus be included, thus abandoning the usual subscription to adopt another one. Yes World of Warcraft is integrated into the Game Pass, the subscription will thus be only €9.99/month, with the PC offer, €12.99/month, with the Ultimate offer.
A more attractive offer, especially since the game would also be accompanied by more than 100 other games. Of course, its integration into the Game Pass would not be a miracle solution. To succeed in satisfying its players at heart, Blizzard will still have to correct the situation and offer substantive solutions. Until then, the studio still has to correct its problems internally. In addition, the takeover of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft must, for its part, be validated. Nothing says that World of Warcraft will be integrated into Game Pass. But such an idea would come to pass it free-to-play (although a Game Pass subscription continues), thus allowing it to be approached by a host of potential new players.