Tobold's Blog
Saturday, October 11, 2008
WAR announces 750,000 registered players

Mythic has a press release announcing 750,000 "registered players". Interesting term. I'd guess a "registered player" is more than a "copy sold", but less than a "subscriber", what do you think? In any case Mythic is also increasing their marketing effort, so there is a good chance that they'll reach the predicted 1 million players before Wrath of the Lich King causes a decrease in subscriptions again.
Tobold, what do you think of Turbine setting the LOTRO Mines of Moria expansion release date to November 18th? I can see how they want to get it out before players completely lose interest in LOTRO, but as it is I'm already about to jump ship for WOTLK. Btw, I don't have one of those nifty lifetime subscriptions.
I had an e-mail from Amazon a few days before Turbine announced that November 18th release date for Mines of Moria. And Amazon had put "November 14th" as expected release date, which made me think that somebody at Amazon had a particularly cruel sense of humor. Releasing anything a day after WotLK can only lead to pain and suffering. Now the official date is 4 days later, which isn't much better. You're limiting yourself to the small number of people who still like fantasy MMOs, but have no interest in WoW whatsoever.
To come back to the original subject, I think a 'registered user' is really a 'copy sold', or almost 99% of it.
I can't see somebody buying the game but not registering it and try at least 10 minutes.

So in my view a 'registered user' is more than a 'box' and less than a subscriber.
The strange thing is that there are no subscribers in WAR. The function isn't even available to european players yet.

I wonder if thats a bad thing? Many players would have payed or registered their credit card already from the start. Now they played for a couple of weeks when suddenly they want to charge you. I guess many players would simply cancel?
afaik now is the best timing for a press release about subscriptions. Just before first month ends.

With active subscription is counted anyone in good standing that has active account.

Yes, copies sold are surely still more and how much depends how you count them. Sold at retail or sold by EA to retails.

Anyway if you think that now who has an active account? Just anyone has registered from day zero to now. As who first registered is still active even if they decided to stop playing.

So just before first billing you have a peak of active accounts (and if the game goes well will even increase, but mathematically at that point there's a peak).
I say a peak as you count anyone registered but yet you don't take into account cancelled accounts. This is even more true for europe as since a couple of days ago, you couldn't even pay to prolong the 1 month payd account.
I wonder if beta and preorder accounts that never activated a retail key would be considered "registered users"...
My guess is that "registered player" is a synonym for character in game. Assuming no one would twink so early in the game and (inside families e.g.) more players using one copy.

If number of "registered players" where smaller than "copies sold" why not announce the latter which in addition would be a clearer and therefore more impressive statement?
If it were me, a "registered player" would be a consumed account key. Saying "copies sold" is a tad misleading, because the publisher can only tell you how many have sold to retailers and they can guess actual sales from re-orders being placed, but it doesn't tell you accurately how many copies are in the hands of players. If they are tracking keys generated and consumed, thats actually a fairly accurate measure, as it means the game was bought and the account was created and the free month is ticking. The real test of WAR will be how many subscribers they have at Christmas, because that will be people paying to play who didn't cancel for WotLK.
We MUST assume "Registered" means sold. A key was entered somewhere from a retail copy somehow.
Otherwise we get something like
"4 million characters served" (uh...sorry..."made"...thanks for that lovely talking point Turbine...)

(PS: The only ones buying Moria are WoW burnouts and LOTRO Lifetimers..)
"because the publisher can only tell you how many have sold to retailers and they can guess actual sales from re-orders being placed, but it doesn't tell you accurately how many copies are in the hands of players"

Actually publishers can tell you how much is being sold. The databses of the retailers are measured and publishers have access to the results. At least in the major territories. From there experience data from the past can fill up the rest of the territories.

We did this with 90% accuracy when I was CTO of a publisher.
750k is pretty significant. I wonder how many have quit WoW temporarily (vs permanently) because of it?

On a side note, AoC must be stepping up the promotions. It was featured on the sit-com Big Bang Theory, as well as it is on sale at Gamersgate.
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