Sub numbers...

General Discussion
How is activision, a publicly traded company, allowed to keep information such as subscription numbers for its games hidden from the public and its investors / stock holders?
All(most) MMO's keep their true sub numbers private these days. It's good business practice.

Investors don't care about sub numbers. They only care about how much profit potential a company has.
because it's not against the law?
10/19/2018 04:35 AMPosted by Atroxx
It's good business practice.


When your numbers suck, yeah.
They're required to show quite a bit in regards to their sales, income, profit, expenses, etc.

These are things that matter to investors. What's the health of the company? How has it performed? What's the outlook for the future?

I'd be far more concerned with the lack of transparency governments give us than with how many people are playing WoW, personally.
10/19/2018 04:37 AMPosted by Smadinker
10/19/2018 04:35 AMPosted by Atroxx
It's good business practice.


When your numbers suck, yeah.


Before I get into this, let me just throw up the disclaimer that I would be considered a BfA hater. I'm really down about the game right now and am on the verge of quitting. So this is by no means a "white knight" comment.

So the numbers suck according to you right? As compared to what? WoW, like it or not, is still the most successful MMO in existence. Other MMO's wish they had what WoW does. That's not hyperbole, Yoshi P, the lead dev of FFXIV literally said that in a recent interview. The exact quote was "WoW is a role mode, not a rival".

The problem with sub numbers is they don't accurately reflect the money making potential an MMO has. Especially in these modern times where a large portion of these profits come from virtual store sales.

Investors don't really care about the minutia of how a company makes their profits, only their capability to do so. The problem with releasing sub numbers is that it is far too easily sensationalized.

Take the WoD exodus for example. Sure, the game lost a lot of subs during that expansion, but what nobody ever talks about is that there was a massive influx of subs right before that. If you ignore that influx then the drop off actually wasn't that severe. So they didn't really lose a whole lot of long term subscribers, the problem was that they weren't able to retain all the new/returning ones they gained, which made the drop off look way worse than it actually was.

If all you look at is the total loss of subs, while ignoring the massive influx, it really would look like the game was on it's death bed when in fact it was still running along the same trend line that it had been on ever since it's peak in Wrath.

And that's exactly what happened. All the press talked about was that WoW was in steep decline and was near-death. That's the kind of thing that gets the attention of investors, and their confidence was shaken.

So it makes perfect sense not to release sub numbers when they aren't an actual reflection of the profit-making potential of a game, but can still have a direct impact on investor confidence and by extension, the price of a company's shares.
I don't think people should be so concerned about the sub numbers.. I am enjoying the expansion. I think a lot of people go on forums and YouTube, see negative videos (expansion no doubt have flaws) and decide that because it's unpopular they don't like it. It's only natural. If everyone says something sucks you are inclined to feel that way as well. Not saying that people who dislike the expansion are wrong or anything. I just know as a personal point of view when I check out negative youtube vids and forum posts I start to think wow I need to find a new game..Then I think well actually I am having a good time so why am I letting these negative views effect how I feel?

What I'm trying to say is, if Blizzard posted sub numbers a lot of people could just take a look at them, decide if they like that number, and use that as a way to see if they want to play the game without giving it a chance. Or they may be biased on how they view the game because they noticed the sub count is higher / lower than it was in previous expansions.
Because they aren't important to share holders. The quarterly was the only place they ever released those numbers because at one time as a metric for showing how profitable the company was. They stopped being relevant as soon as Blizzard began expanding its product line.

Most shareholders don't care about subscription numbers, they care about dollars and how many dollars will end up in their wallets.
If you are an investor you should get quarterly reports that are supposed to include Sub Numbers...though with an expectation that you keep that knowledge to yourself. If Blizzard isn't giving its investors those numbers...there might be a case for Fraud.
Seven words: they don't have to show them.
10/19/2018 05:20 AMPosted by Conorn
If you are an investor you should get quarterly reports that are supposed to include Sub Numbers...though with an expectation that you keep that knowledge to yourself. If Blizzard isn't giving its investors those numbers...there might be a case for Fraud.


That is completely untrue. Please quote me the law that requires a company to disclose how many customers it has.

Profit and loss are the only things investors care about. As long as a company can show that those numbers are accurate and not illegally obtained then it doesn't matter how many individual customers it has.
They disclose profits to investers, they could care less how many are playing just how much they are paying.
Because investors/stockholders with any substantial shares in the company don't care. Most of the people who hold ATVI stock have no clue what a worgen is and they never will.

Income, expenses, profits: these figures are required by law to be accurate. That's all they care about.
10/19/2018 05:20 AMPosted by Conorn
If you are an investor you should get quarterly reports that are supposed to include Sub Numbers...though with an expectation that you keep that knowledge to yourself. If Blizzard isn't giving its investors those numbers...there might be a case for Fraud.


Since Blizzard is one of the few games with paid subscriptions, it doesn't make much sense for them to publish and instead it makes more sense to use other metrics It serves almost no purpose and it paints an incomplete picture of the health of the property.

I mean - why does it make sense to show sub numbers when free to play games have hundreds of millions of subs, most of which are inactive?
10/19/2018 04:33 AMPosted by Humanìty
How is activision, a publicly traded company, allowed to keep information such as subscription numbers for its games hidden from the public and its investors / stock holders?
Because all MMOs do it this is nothing new at all.
10/19/2018 04:50 AMPosted by Atroxx
10/19/2018 04:37 AMPosted by Smadinker
...

When your numbers suck, yeah.


Before I get into this, let me just throw up the disclaimer that I would be considered a BfA hater. I'm really down about the game right now and am on the verge of quitting. So this is by no means a "white knight" comment.

So the numbers suck according to you right? As compared to what? WoW, like it or not, is still the most successful MMO in existence. Other MMO's wish they had what WoW does. That's not hyperbole, Yoshi P, the lead dev of FFXIV literally said that in a recent interview. The exact quote was "WoW is a role mode, not a rival".

The problem with sub numbers is they don't accurately reflect the money making potential an MMO has. Especially in these modern times where a large portion of these profits come from virtual store sales.

Investors don't really care about the minutia of how a company makes their profits, only their capability to do so. The problem with releasing sub numbers is that it is far too easily sensationalized.

Take the WoD exodus for example. Sure, the game lost a lot of subs during that expansion, but what nobody ever talks about is that there was a massive influx of subs right before that. If you ignore that influx then the drop off actually wasn't that severe. So they didn't really lose a whole lot of long term subscribers, the problem was that they weren't able to retain all the new/returning ones they gained, which made the drop off look way worse than it actually was.

If all you look at is the total loss of subs, while ignoring the massive influx, it really would look like the game was on it's death bed when in fact it was still running along the same trend line that it had been on ever since it's peak in Wrath.

And that's exactly what happened. All the press talked about was that WoW was in steep decline and was near-death. That's the kind of thing that gets the attention of investors, and their confidence was shaken.

So it makes perfect sense not to release sub numbers when they aren't an actual reflection of the profit-making potential of a game, but can still have a direct impact on investor confidence and by extension, the price of a company's shares.
Thats true most of the money comes from other sources now anyways ingame services and wow token mounts and pets.
Paid subs? Token subs? Do you include tokens sold in game in with the sub count, since they can be used to pay for subs once they are used? Do you exclude tokens sold in game because they can be used to buy other things besides game time? Do you differentiate between subs bought with the promos that make your sub come out to be cheaper per month? Do you include subs bought under a promo like the ship promo or the year sub a while back with the other mount (does it matter more for it to be in a sub line of how many people bought the promo or a flat x amount of people are subbed)?

It’s just as dishonest to say “we have 2m subs!” With the assumption that every sub pays 15 a month. You’d have to say “we have 2m subs that pay at an average of (figure out the average as well as factor in how you want to figure the token breakdown in, such as do you include the flat 20$ someone spent to sell it on the ah, or do you just use the 15 even though the token gives you more credit than just that)”.

At some point, you have so many sub lines that you may as well cut out the middle man and go straight to “this is how much profit this game is making versus how much we spend on it”.
Its all about the $$$$ the $$$$ is coming from some where else so subs are irelevant now.
10/19/2018 05:20 AMPosted by Conorn
If you are an investor you should get quarterly reports that are supposed to include Sub Numbers...though with an expectation that you keep that knowledge to yourself. If Blizzard isn't giving its investors those numbers...there might be a case for Fraud.


No, including the number of subscriptions is not required. The number one number is revenue. Is WoW still bring in two BILLION dollars a year.
because sub numbers don't matter anymore (and a LOT of people don't have subscriptions but rather use tokens or pay month to month) because that's not an effective way of determining who's actually PLAYING. what matters is MAUs company wide, which is public information on Activision's website. second quarter drew in 37mil MAUs for Blizzard, 45mil for Activision, and 270mil for King. this information is completely accessible by everyone, and not hard to find. third quarter should be up soon.

also, to squelch the conspiracy theories on how MAUs are defined:

Monthly Active User (“MAU”) Definition: We monitor MAUs as a key measure of the overall size of our user base. MAUs are the number of individuals who accessed a particular game in a given month. We calculate average MAUs in a period by adding the total number of MAUs in each of the months in a given period and dividing that total by the number of months in the period. An individual who accesses two of our games would be counted as two users. In addition, due to technical limitations, for Activision and King, an individual who accesses the same game on two platforms or devices in the relevant period would be counted as two users. For Blizzard, an individual who accesses the same game on two platforms or devices in the relevant period would generally be counted as a single user.

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