Analyst Mike Hickey from Janco Partners has taken a closer look at Blizzard's business, and has come away with some fascinating figures. Gamasutra reports that Hickey's investigations have shown that World of Warcraft's churn numbers are a surprisingly low 4-5% per month, while monthly revenues are in 'the low teens' per subscriber when averaged across the globe. (They're averaged that way due to the disparity in payment between US/EU subscribers and those in China.)
With only 4 years in the market, World Of Warcraft continues to attract subscribers at an amazing rate ... WoW controlled 5.6 and 8.1 million subscribers in '05 and '06 respectively, up 45%. Through 09/30/07, WoW controlled 9.3 million subscribers, up a respectable 15% before the seasonally hot Q4 period.
It should be noted that 1.) it's impossible to determine whether the churn rates are accurate and 2.) the average churn rate across the industry isn't a known statistic, so it's hard to say how 'off the norm' these rates are. I'm going to wager a guess it's usually more than 5%, though.
Analyst talks World of Warcraft's churn rate
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