I was originally going to comment on the news about how all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is killing us faster then we were being killed before (or something like that). Look, I'm not one of those... what do you call them... climate deniers or anything, but the sensationalist bullshit that's being passed off as science in this discussion quite frankly insults my intelligence. Thankfully, the gaming industry in recent days has been undergoing its own climate change. None of the news is really good, but it's a more fun discussion compared to the stupidity of the global warming debate. It also requires me to do far less research.
So, first on the list, the news that World of Warcraft has suffered a fourteen percent drop in subscribers. The pundits, naturally, are all over this story, blowing their I-told-you-so trumpets in a triumphant orchestra. I can imagine them blaming everything from catering to the lowest-common denominator to the Will of the Forsaken nerf for the drop, but the more likely reasons are pretty much out of Blizzard's control. First of all, the game is old. Nearly a decade old, in fact. We're well past the stage where growth is to be expected as the natural state of affairs. The suits are aware of this, saying that they're expecting the numbers to drop even more before the year is out.
The second, and probably more significant reason, is that the subscription MMO is dead. The collapse of Star Wars: The Old Republic pretty much signaled the end of the line, and with Rift going free-to-play next month, WoW will soon be the only major MMO left that still uses the subscription-based model. (Well, there's EVE Online, but I'm not sure if that counts as "major.") Inevitably WoW will join the ranks of the no-sub MMOs, but in the meantime they still boast at least twice as many players as their nearest competitor, Guild Wars 2. Hate Blizzard all you want, they're still gonna be cashing checks.