Will MMORPG World of Warcraft Drop Monthly Paid Subscription and Come to Game Pass Now That Microsoft Owns Activision/Blizzard?

By Todd Russell Nov13,2023

Activision/Blizzard has a number of different games that titilate the imagination as to what might happen with them now that Microsoft’s massive warchest is backing them. Questions like: what about resurrecting the Guitar Hero franchise will need to wait for a future article, because this one is about WoW. Yes, that beloved MMORPG World of Warcraft (https://worldofwarcraft.blizzard.com/en-us/start)

The following article just read ponders the possible fate of the WoW monthly pay subscription fee going forward: After Microsoft’s Acquisition, WoW’s Sub Fee May Have to Face the Reaper Sooner or Later

There is also a chance that Microsoft does not actually do anything with World of Warcraft after the acquisition. The game has been going strong for around 19 years now, so Microsoft may have little reason to change Blizzard’s approach. The game may just continue as a separate MMO sub backed by the Xbox ecosystem and may simply just be bootable through the Xbox client rather than Battle.net. If it follows Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4, it may even move over to Steam, but that remains to be seen.

Would not count on this as likely. At least in the long term. Short term, sure. My guess is WoW becomes another reason to get people to sign up for Game Pass (related, see: Microsoft CEO of Gaming Hints Closing Game Pass if Subscriber Numbers Don’t Meet Expectations by 2027). Microsoft is extremely interested in growing Game Pass subscribers. How many WoW monthly paid subscribers also have Game Pass already, however? There is a possibility they add a WoW subscription as another tier, maybe charging like $5/month or something more for the Blizzard/Activision tier which gives us not only a WoW sub but some other premium Blizzard/Activision content. Now this is something I feel Microsoft would be more likely to do.

If they simply give away a WoW subscription on Game Pass, that already has other MMORPG for free, not sure that’s going to move the needle very much from a growth in subscribers to Game Pass and, worse for Microsoft, it’s actually reducing income, not increasing. At least if they don’t grow enough subscribers. Maybe they do a trial year of it where they say: we’re going to try this for a year, or reduce the cost of a paid subscription separate from Game Pass and include in Game Pass, giving existing Wow subscribers a break, but not completely removing the monetization. The article also talks about the possibility of adding more microtransactions. Hope that is not the desired path.

Meanwhile, there have been several articles recently discussing future World of Warcraft expansions and early access is causing additional controversy, via $90 premium edition creates War Within the community:

“It is a trend across the industry that we’re paying attention to,” Hazzikostas said of paid early access at large in a new PCGamer interview. “A number of games have done it.” He assured the site that The War Within’s three day beta will be calibrated to avoid creating competitive advantages, but admitted that the developers haven’t done a tremendous job of advertising this.

The WOW Expansion War Within does not have an official due date as of this writing, but is anticipated to be released toward the end of 2024.

Whatever the future holds for monthly subscriptions to Wow, a recent study found that more people are interested in Game Pass since the Activision/Blizzard purchase (doh!) Xbox’s Activision deal is already working: data suggests more US adults are becoming interested in Game Pass:

Having conducted two separate surveys, one in 2022 and and one in 2023, asking people how likely they are “to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass services now that Activision Blizzard games will soon be included”, CivicScience has found a slight year-on-year increase in those saying that they’re either very or somewhat likely to do so.

What do you think will happen with the monthly World of Warcraft subscription in 2024? Will it stay the same, separate from Game Pass? Share in the comments below.

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