How do you delay something that hasn't got a release date?
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 May 2013, 3:40 am
I must admit I am somewhat puzzled by the news that Blizzard is rebooting their development of Titan and delaying it to 2016. Did it ever have an announced release date *before* 2016? I mean, if Blizzard came out with a huge presentation tomorrow showing lots of features of Titan and screenshots and all, at their usual development speed it would still take until 2016 before the game was released. So in fact we moved from "game we know nothing about with no release date" to "game we know nothing about with a targeted 2016 release date". For "targeted 2016 release date" please read "likely 2018 release date".

I wonder how much of that "delay" is due to World of Warcraft. In the MMO blogosphere people tend to completely misrepresent World of Warcraft. I've been seeing "World of Warcraft is dying" posts since 2004. I think there is a certain dislike of WoW due to burnout, plus an inability of some people of wrapping their head around big numbers. The simple truth is that WoW is down about a third of subscribers from its peak in its 9th year. As most other games lose over half of their subscribers after the first three month, that is quite an achievement. And with over 8 years of data to go on, we can extrapolate into the future.

Barring really unforeseen events, World of Warcraft will still have millions of subscribers in 2018. Less than today, certainly, but still enough to be extremely profitable. It will most probably never hit its previous peak again, but the 2014 and 2016 expansion will provide upward spikes in an overall decline. I'd say roughly 2 million subscribers left in 2018, but depending on the expansions it could be anywhere between 1 million and 4 million.

Thus Blizzard has to take into account the unfortunate possibility that Titan could be a "WoW Killer". Not just because players would quit WoW for Titan. But also because presumably at some point the majority of resources would go to Titan, while WoW would be put on life support with a skeleton crew. No wonder they are in no hurry to see that happen. It isn't as if there was any other game likely to push WoW of its throne.
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