When World of Warcraft Classic was launched this week, no one was really sure of the player's response. The interest in the launch was huge, but how many people would show up?
The answer: tons. So much so that the question is now "How much will stay in the long run?"
The game is drunk, to put it politely. I managed to log on Monday for a few hours, probably because people did not know that the official North American opening was Monday, not Tuesday. On Tuesday night, queues were virtually impossible – a 20-hour connection attempt found me stuck in a 3-hour queue. Even at 10:30 pm – when he was on the east coast, people were heading to bed – I was looking for a queue for half an hour.
I decided to make a comparison between the upgrade experience for 1-60 between WoW retail and Classic WoW. So far, it has been a little embarrassed, simply because the huge explosion of level 1 rolling levels in the new character areas is so high. This is an obvious problem for all games – the number of players facing content at launch is always high, which means that competition for resources, appearances and declines is also high. Some WoW Classic mechanisms, such as the need to "score" the monsters in order to receive a credit (only one person can score a mob) mean that it takes longer to complete certain quests.
It was quite predictable. What I find more interesting is how the base of players reacts to Classic as a whole. There is a definite group of people who do not know how to play the game – stumbling between different problems, struggling to navigate classes that they never replayed in 2004 or having forgotten how to play according to the rules of the game. 15 years old. On the retail servers, the chatter about Classic is mainly about the seriousness of the situation and the joy with which different players do not engage it. On the Classic servers, we wonder about the pleasure of the players and their joy to find a version of the game they like.
Well, this, and the question of whether the Deadmines instance should be abbreviated to "DM" or "VC". I have witnessed this argument three times now, on two different servers. Other legends include "50 DKP minus" (NSFW by language), "Shield / Hearth" and … * sigh * "Leroy Jenkins". There have been many calls for someone to launch a Ventrilo server so everyone groups it. and although I've seen some of the arguments under discussion, I would say that Classic has generally been friendlier than retail. In fact, a funny irony is that the retail server on which I spent last night was full of complaints about the classic mechanics compared to the classic server I play.
(Aerie Peak and Pagle, for all the curious).
The initial launch of Classic on Monday night was rather slow, but Blizzard had warned him. For as long as I've been playing WoW – it's been 15 years now – the number of players on the server has been able to cause a local lag. At the present time, the queues for the connection extend to 9,000 people, despite the fact that the servers may contain many times more players than they could in 2004. Over time, this will erase. The question is, what will remain when he does?
The idea that WoW Classic players simply abandon the old game is, I think, simplistic. Although I do not know how long the game will hold its players, at least some of the people who have returned for the experience, including myself, know exactly what they are engaging in. What I would like to know, is if WoW Classic has generated an increase in subscriptions, indicating that users are reactivating old accounts to play the version of a game that They have already played before.
It is relatively rare to be able to compare in this way the old and the new version of a shipping product. Most games do not evolve as much as WoW. S & # 39; they make evolve as much as WoW, they tend to be online games with a server forever "updated". Although WoW is not the first title to support both a "classic" and a current customer – Runescape has also done so, with Runescape Classic, which closed last year – this is the first time one of the few games in which the developer officially offered two side-by-side editions that capture where the game was in a very different time period.
I will report on both sides of Azeroth in the not too distant future.
What to know (or remember) before diving into World of Warcraft Classic
World of Warcraft Classic gets more servers and fewer character restrictions
WoW Classic has a release date and God help me, I'm excited
The end of a console cycle can be a difficult time for video game retailers, as computer hardware sales decline in anticipation of new launches. As a factor in the decline in retail sales and physical games sales, this means that GameStop is currently going through an extremely difficult time.
Sales decreased overall by 13.3% (11.5% when currency fluctuations are taken into account). The average decrease in comparable stores in the United States was 10.3%. The decrease is attributable to the sharp decline in console hardware sales, as sales in this sector fell by 35%, despite strong sales growth from the Nintendo switch. In comparison, software sales decreased by only 4.3%, according to GameStop, attributable to "lower launches of new titles in the quarter compared to the previous year". Although the company did not lose money in the first quarter of 2019, its net profit dropped to just $ 6.8. M, down from $ 28.2 million in the first quarter of 2018.
One of the main potential weaknesses for console sales in 2019 is the potential for upwardly transparent compatibility with the next generation of consoles. We do not know all the details about how Sony and MS are going to handle this problem, but assuming that both companies are taking the same approach and making their current generation libraries fully compatible with previous releases, new software sales do not necessarily fall, especially where appropriate. an option for the PS4 era titles to correct for higher performance on PS5 without having to release a brand new version of the game (of course, we will probably see at least a few PS3 and PS4 – remakes also come back on PS5).
But the damage to GameStop sales was not limited to new hardware. Sales of used vehicles have also decreased by 20%. GameStop is essentially the owner of the used games market, which makes it a huge source of revenue.
According to the president of the company, George Sherman, GameStop is restarting. At the company's last conference call, Sherman called the company is relaunching "a comprehensive and comprehensive review of all aspects of our business and how we can transform it – this is going to be a critical part of our transformation – it's not just a cost-cutting initiative. However, there will be an element of this in the overall process.I am expecting this process to lead to margin improvement, including improved supply, prices and promotions. as well as an optimization of our scope. "
As part of this effort, Sherman expects GameStop stores to laser focus on the companies that make the most money, cut areas that do not, and find new contiguity and markets. which extend if they are perfectly suited to its brand. and business. ThinkGeek, for example, will be integrated with the GameStop shopping experience. The company has eliminated its quarterly dividend, which will save it $ 157 million a year.
GameStop talks about braving the game, but the current move to digital distribution may kill the company. By all accounts, console gamers are clearly oriented towards digital distribution channels, just like PC gamers. The fact that the company's shares are now trading at levels not seen since the early 2000s attests to the poor performance of the company in recent times.
It is clear that investors are not sure that GameStop can really contribute to a market strategy that does not rely on physical game sales as the main source of revenue. If players continue to refrain from buying physical games, sales of used vehicles will also drop naturally. At present, it is not clear that GameStop can create enough secondary market for accessories and sales of digital games to replace other markets' income.
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