MMO-graph

A wild SuperData report appears!

The latest from the gaming market-research firm shows the continuation of a years-long trend in gamer spending habits, namely that free-to-play revenue for MMOs continues to distance itself from pay-to-play revenue with each passing year. The latest estimates for 2014 show about $8 billion spent on F2P MMOs versus $2.5 for P2P MMOs.

As a reminder, SuperData is super-liberal with its definition of “MMO,” counting MOBAs and games like World of Tanks in the mix alongside MMORPGs. That said, you can do a little quick-and-dirty math to semi-confirm at least one set of numbers. Assuming that about half of World of Warcraft’s 7.4 million subscribers are in North America, that they spend an average of $15/month for each month of the year (taking into account that not everyone subs for the whole year but also that some people spend on microtransactions) and that it dwarfs any other popular subscription-based games like Eve Online or Final Fantasy XIV, that gives you a figure of 3.7m * $15 * 12 = $666 million. That’s pretty close to the $700 million in subscription revenue SuperData reports for North America. And, with that figure, it also proves that WoW is the devil.

Other notable items in the report:

* “In fact, whenever there’s a major release on console, either via traditional retail or digital channels, we observe a dip in free-to-play spending. Gamers, the data tells us, play on multiple platforms at once and regularly shift their focus between them, expressed in both time played and money spent.”

* However, outside of the U.S.: “In the absence of an installed console base and in countries where people generally play at Internet cafés rather than at home, free-to-play games offer high-quality game play that is also accessible.”

* Also note that, at 2/1, North America’s F2P/P2P revenue ratio is the smallest of any defined region’s. This probably reflects Americans’ greater affluence and willingness/ability to spend on subscription-based games while having more of a disdain for free-to-play games than exists in other parts of the world.

* “MOBAs have quickly become one of the most popular game genres worldwide, growing their share of the overall MMO category from 16% to 24% in just the last year.” So if you were hoping that we’d seen enough MOBAs… well, think again.

If you’ve really got the money to burn, you can obtain SuperData’s full report for the bargain price of $2,000, which goes up to $2,500 on Nov. 15. Me, I’d rather spend that on games, with or without a subscription.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

23 Readers Commented

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  1. ASD on October 15, 2016

    World of warcraft is better then all these crappy free 2 play MMO’s still. I understand if you can’t afford it but World of warcraft has a good balance and doesn’t shove cash shops and micro currency down your throat like alot of free 2 play games seem to do.

  2. Yeahthatsright on October 30, 2014

    World Of Warcraft is still the best MMO to date, you can all play your shitty free-to-play MMO’s if you want and hate on it because you can’t afford it, but it’s a ton better than them.

  3. thetrue on October 26, 2014

    i really dont care about WoW at all,its maybe one of the oldest mmorpg out there and for the same reason i dont see the point on playing something that old and outdated.

  4. Manpig on October 25, 2014

    Lets remember there are like a gazillion f2p (p2w) mmo’s for every p2p mmo. Also the p2w formula is pretty popular cause it gives the chance to the most casual of gamers to win over more experienced players without effort. They can even spend like over 2000$ in less than two months and they pretty much can roll over anyone regardless of their skills. Oh and im excluding hack purchases and stuff like that which IS a thing in many games.

    A good example of p2w would be Elsword. People argue the game is not p2w but reality is that in less than a month a paying player can pretty much acquire everything, this includes +10 Henir Gear which would take a non paying player like 6 months up to a year to acquire + they would still need to spend money if they actually want +10 gears. Also Ice Burner costumes give a pretty decent amount of stats and even worse the weapon costume has an additional socket. Also the higher rankings in PvP consist of either hackers or the paying members, I know cause I was in the top 10 through hacking :3. However I simply set my stat the same as an player I love to watch playing (Tubasa316 or something like that, thats is his youtube user) , nothing broken or shit like that (cause couldnt get my henir to +10 withough paying).

    If you want an obvious example of hard-core p2w just browse any of IGG’s games, their Item malls are pretty ridiculous. End-game gear and gems which can only be acquired by paying which a fully loaded character would cost around 2000 usd + I even have friends who spend this much in one of their games called Tales of Pirates, I was like dude…I know you can do whatever you like with your money but that many in like less than 3 months on a game that doesn’t even get updates or has an live support…

    MOBAs are truly free to play but there isn’t really like a massive amount of players playing in the same area never so I never considered them MMOs.

    They say p2w is a vague concept but I think it is kinda obvious when paying gives you unfair advantage.

  5. Peter Jackson on October 24, 2014

    Here we go again …comparing shi* with honey!
    Don’t compare an OPEN WORLD, free roaming game like WoW, with hobbies, pets, flying mounts (more hard to achieve engine-wise) with crappy offline type games like SWTOR (follow the road to go from one place to another) or Tera (tiny zones) etc. What Blizzard atchieved, the full freedom to move and fly, is beyong any reach for others.

    • Momchilo on October 24, 2014

      You just went full retard bro, never go full retard.

      • Allwynd on October 24, 2014

        why because he told everyone the truth? face it already WoW WAS, IS and WILL be the best for a while now

        when making MMORPGs developers should not aim to copy WoW, but to surpass it, which on the language of keyboard turners means “copy it 1:1 and then add more and polish that”

        • Darkr on October 24, 2014

          WoW isn’t the only mmo with that features and it wasn’t the first achieving them, sorry

          • Allwynd on October 25, 2014

            did i say it was the only one? did i say it was the first one?
            i know about EverQuest 1 other games, thank you

        • Momchilo on October 26, 2014

          He went full retard because he went full fanboy. He literally ignored many open world free to play MMOs out there that have better features than WoW simply because he is too blinded by his fanboyism. Which ones you ask? Well, if we ignore games that have completely the same features to offer as WoW we could already list two MMOs currently on the market that surpass it in every way – ArcheAge and Firefall. Both games which got improved a lot by recent patches. Just search the features that those games have to offer and it will be obvious that the only thing WoW has to list versus them is a better game lore, not better gameplay and features.

          • Dkuang on October 27, 2014

            Full retard? More like you went full retard on him, comparing Archeage and Firefall to WoW. Archeage is inferior in animations, lighting, quests, and overall graphics than WoW, which is sad considering WoW is 10 years old next month…but wait its getting a massive visual over haul, and Firefall is like 10% of the land mass that WoW has, not to mention the tedious, boring, and repetitive gameplay and craptastic crafting.

            I’ve quit WoW for nearly 5 years, and have played nearly every mmo since 1998, and I’m sorry to tell you this buddy. World of Warcraft, Everquest, and Ultima Online are still the top 3 in terms of depth, gameplay, lore, quests, pvp, pve, raiding, crafting, open world, and just overall “fun” factor of the game. Even though they may lack some things here and there and have flaws (Which game doesn’t?), they’re far better games imo.

            Archeage…pffft…wanted to claw my eyes out from boredom after the first 2 hours, let alone get up to levl 35+ to even start to remotely enjoy the game, crap design.

            Firefall, pewpewpepew spam, thump this, kill that, run here, ride there, kill that….wait…why am I doing any of this?

          • Momchilo on October 27, 2014

            Dkuang it is obvious that you’re just another fanboy. When you’re ready to put your subjectivity out of your ass then we can talk like grownups. Everything you stated makes no sense, and the features those two games have are far better than WoW not to mention graphics which are ten times better. It’s clear you haven’t played any of them or you wouldn’t be talking like this. I’m sorry, but if you can’t comprehend this then it’s time to start questioning yourself.

  6. NobleNerd on October 24, 2014

    This is suppose to be news or surprising?

    Of course F2P is showing more money spent….. everyone has jumped on the F2P (more like free to get ripped off) band wagon over the last 4-5 years. I will still stick with a good subscription game over the charge you for everything option.

  7. no1curr on October 23, 2014

    ^^^^^^^^^^^

  8. Arye on October 23, 2014

    If WoW went F2P, I still wouldn’t play that shitty ass, outdated piece of junk. Expansion after expansion, and the game has only become worse. IMO……………

    • Allwynd on October 23, 2014

      ever even played it?
      there are private servers and ive been playing it there since 2007, and even though there are many unscripted things, bugs, i still love it

      WoW is the best MMORPG ive ever played – most polished, most fluid, most diverse

      even its graphics look better than many new games, its all about textures and lighting and Blizzard did it right, whilst many new games look really dull compared to WoW

      besides WoW has one of the largest lores ever, even games like LOTRO or TESO or SWTOR kinda fail with telling the lore to players, the only good thing SWTOR has is cutscenes with voice acting

      but still WoW tops them all

      • NobleNerd on October 23, 2014

        Here’s what I would like you to do:

        Ask as many WoW players as you can to tell you WoWs lore and possibly in chronological order and see what you get in response.

        My point is Blizzard has not done a great job telling the lore in game. Most WoW players have no clue about the Titans, the beginning of Azeroth, etc. I’d even be willing to bet you won’t find a large group that can tell you the lore behind their favorite race.
        That said, I have played WoW on and off for the 10 years of its existence. I do enjoy the game (mostly). Anymore I mainly PvP, but Blizzard did good over all.

        • Macguffinstv on October 24, 2014

          Do you know why that is? Their engine couldn’t hand every NPC giving a voice over back in 2004.

          Would you rather have a game with nice polish, mechanics, content or a game like SWTOR with great voice over and nothing else really?

          Blizzard actually did a good job getting their lore out there with books, comics and short stories. However there just aren’t enough people who read them. Could they now upgrade so that their lore is better explained? Sure maybe. Do they need to? 7.4 million players would say no.

          Everyone has a good idea of what the lore is in WoW, but do you need to in order to enjoy the game? No. You don’t.

          WoW isn’t for everyone. It’s still a good game.

          • Allwynd on October 24, 2014

            i just dont understand the people who play shitty Chinese games and defend them, spitting crap at WoW while they never played it, because they dont even have a clue that they can actually play it for free, so instead of making a research, they condemn WoW for being beyond their wallet capacity and start hating it for that

            thats what i dont understand, ive tried almost every known MMORPG thats still online somewhere, somehow and my opinion that WoW is the best MMORPG hasnt changed, only got reinforced

            ive enjoyed other MMORPGs like Talisman Online, Metin 2, Twelvesky 2, Perfect World, Forsaken World, Heroes of Three Kingdoms, Aura Kingdom and many more, but they are still inferior to WoW in many ways

            every time i read something about Warcraft’s lore, i get more and more inclined to get back into the world of Azeroth, this game has left such a footprint inside of me that, every time i see orcs, elves and dwarves in other games (besides Lord of The Rings) i just laugh my ass off

          • Razer on October 26, 2014

            It still suffers the same pitfalls as other MMORPGs. What are WoW fanboys doing on a F2P site anyway? Do you people actively seek out discussions to shitpost on like this?

  9. hovsep56 on October 23, 2014

    f2p is great tough it has some flaws but heck even p2p got some flaws

    i mean if you think as a bussinesman they are trying compete against other products by decreasing the price as low as possible but those people cannot fight against products that are free so the only way to have a chance is to make a BETTER product than the the others

    short said: f2p makes devs try their hardest to be better than other f2p titles while p2p games try to reduce their price the lowest than other p2p games

  10. Mamson on October 23, 2014

    go ahead PIG BLIZZARD! we need to play world of warcraft FREE!!!!

  11. DiceColdfire on October 23, 2014

    Well that’s something to think about.

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