The overall free-to-play MMO segment saw a slight contraction, with revenues with the total audience base settling around 46 million. Spending also proved sluggish with just over $36 per paying player.
In August several of the major publishers declared their increasing focus on free-to-play as a revenue model. Most notably Sony’s announcement of the much-anticipated EverQuest Next. Activision’s The Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft beta was officially launched, providing further evidence that the company is experimenting with free-to-play monetization.
The overall subscription-based category saw a 26% decline, year-over-year, dropping to $83 million in total sales in August. The overall audience base remained relatively steady, and conversion rates (for micro-transactions) climbed back up to 15% across the segment.
After several months of dramatic decreases, World of Warcraft lost a combined total of roughly 200,000 subscribers in the Eastern and Western market. EVE Online, another long-term subscription-based MMO, fared better and broke 550,000 subscribers in August. Bucking the decline in the overall category, Bethesda announced that its Elder Scrolls Online will use a subscription model when it launches on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2014.