I will also talk about Runescape and Second Life, which I didn't mention in my v3.7 thoughts and comments.
About Star Wars The Old Republic
While I thought I would not get any new SWTOR numbers any time soon, I was mistaken, we got some new numbers, although not very exact ones, so I was not not completely wrong either :)
I get my new info from the 2012 Wedbush Conference, here are the comments from EA. I will quote the parts we are interested in :
Star Wars, this is an area that I think has got a lot of people anxious. I've heard from investors today saying that we must have 800,000 subscribers. I heard 600,000 yesterday. So what I think a lot of people have misunderstood is we said we had 1.7 million subscribers on the last call, which was about a month ago. What that was about was the fact that only about – just about half that number had triggered through their 30-day point and become active subscribers, our definition of recurring subscribers.
We had about half that total still in the 30-day trial period, but they're subscribers because that first month is including with a package good. What I said a month ago was, just over half. I can now confirm for you today that the vast majority of the 1.7 is now triggered through that point and they're recurring subscribers.
I am not giving you my fiscal 2013 guidance, but it is very clear on the surface that some of the craziness that was out there in terms of misunderstanding [ph] this is that I can (10:04) clear up today. It's a very strong entry. We still have a lot of future in front of us. We're two months into the launch, a lot more to go, but 1.7 million, vast majority now, are recurring subscribers.
And here, for reference the quote from the quarterly conference call on February 1 :
Let me offer some metrics on purchase and subscription that will help you understand thisbusiness. As John stated, we have sold through two million units of the game since December. We currently have a little over 1.7 million active subscribers. The rest have either not started playing yet or have opted out.
So the vast majority of the 1,7m resubscribed, now we have to determine what that vast majority is :p, 80%, 90% maybe? If I lay this info next to the Xfire numbers and server load I can come up with a pretty close estimate, and that is what I did in v3.8, where the number is revised upwards.
After the initial rush, there was a steep decline in activity, but overall SWTOR manages to keep a sizable chunk of players subscribed.
I have to conclude that SWTOR is a bit more stable than I initially estimated and many players keep paying while not playing or playing a lot less.
I will keep a close eye on the game, there is still a large untapped potential in Asia, where they were off to a reasonable start in the Asia pacific region with 3 heavy loaded servers.
Lastly, I consider the game stabilized now, if the server loads and Xfire metrics drop even more, and no new official numbers are released, the charts will reflect the decline, I will wait until April before making any attempts on a new estimate.
It may look that Runescape lost a lot of subscribers, and they did, but there are 2 important factors you should take into consideration :
First of all with the migration from Runescape Classic to Runescape 2 there may have been some players lost, my listing does not differentiate between the two. Nowadays Runescape 2 is just called Runescape and Runescape Classis is pretty much closed down.
Secondly, and more important, the war against bots, macroers and other cheaters increased to unbelievable heights.
In 2009 Thousands got banned, but that was peanuts compared to the 9,2 million banned accounts in 2011. 9,2 million, I think that must be the largest anti cheater operation in history.
I applaud Jagex for fighting the good fight.
About Second Life
Well they did it, they stopped giving out their quarterly reports. Now it is not that big of a deal anymore since they basically stripped all the useful numbers out of the report over the years.
Tateru Nino has a good article on it here.
IMHO Linden Labs and Second Life are not doing great, otherwise they would keep publishing the reports. But the decline did not start today, as was already apparent by their stagnating numbers tipping into a decline.
I do hope the PCU numbers will stay published, so we still have some kind of an idea how the game ( or metaverse ) is doing.
Added all the relevant quotes on SWTOR from the 2012 Wedbush Conference, in addition to the one I already posted.