Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve, and another year gone, it seems as if they are going faster and faster. I wish all my readers and their families a happy new year 2012, the best of luck, and may you have fun with whatever game you are playing.

There were three quarters of a million visitors to my blog this year, bringing the total up to over 5 million. As my blog can also be read entirely by newsreader, I'm not quite sure how many overall readers I have. Feedburner claims I have over 4,000 feed subscribers, but there is no measure of how often they read my blog posts. Fortunately I'm not writing for the money. My "conversion rate", in internet marketing parlance, is abominable. I got 20 donations with my "buy Tobold a coffee" button over the whole year.

Interestingly the number of readers somehow mirrors the general interest in MMORPGs, which after all isn't all that surprising for a MMORPG blog. Reader numbers dropped in the first three quarters of the year, while people got bored of Cataclysm. But in the last quarter the visitor numbers went up by a lot. I had more visitors in December than in any other month of this year. Assuming that my writing skills didn't dramatically increase last month, I can only point at SWTOR getting people interested in MMORPGs again.

2012 promises to be an interesting year for online roleplaying games. We will see how Star Wars: The Old Republic evolves; SWTOR will have their first "The Empire strikes back" moment when Blizzard releases Diablo 3 in the first quarter. Funcom's The Secret World will probably be the next one to launch, followed by a very interesting looking Guild Wars 2 from Arenanet. And somewhere in the second half of the year (personal guess would be last quarter), Blizzard will release Mists of Pandaria. Right now it is extremely hard to predict who will win that struggle. Possible scenarios range from SWTOR falling to under a million subscribers by the end of 2012 under pressure from all that competition, to Mists of Pandaria becoming the worst-selling World of Warcraft expansion ever. I think it is inevitable that WoW will continue to lose subscribers until MoP is released; but how many of those they can regain with the expansion, and whether SWTOR can establish itself as the second multi-million player game in the West is still in the stars.

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