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World of Warcraft 2023 player count: Is it still popular?

World of Warcraft 2023 player count: Is it still popular?
Images via Blizzard

Written by 

Kiera Mills

Published 

8th May 2023 16:03

World of Warcraft has long been celebrated as the father of fantasy MMOs but is World of Warcraft still popular now?

Join us as we take a look at the World of Warcraft 2023 player count and determine if the game is still worth playing now, over other MMO titles.

World of Warcraft player count in 2023

Cinematic Still of World Of Warcraft Dragonflight Expansion
Click to enlarge

According to recent statistics, World of Warcraft remains the top-most played MMO on the market, with a total player count of 126,048,533 players and 1,197,461 active players as of May 2023.

This data puts World of Warcraft in the topmost played MMO position, beating the likes of Destiny 2, Elder Scrolls Online, Roblox, Warframe, Final Fantasy XIV and more.

The accuracy of this data may require further inspection, however, as it has mostly been accumulated from Reddit forums, measuring the activity of related Reddit forums and those who are subscribers and active users.

Unfortunately, Blizzard has not released official player count numbers, but the sales records of recent expansions are also a good indication of popularity.

Is World of Warcraft still popular in 2023?

Cinematic Still of World Of Warcraft Dragonflight Expansion
Click to enlarge

When measuring sustained popularity for World of Warcraft, we can use sales records of released expansions as a rough estimate.

Below is a table of each recent World of Warcraft DLC and sales numbers, provided by Statista.

World of Warcraft expansion

Number of copies sold on first day of launch

Dragonflight (2022)

TBA

Wrath of the Lich King Classic (2022)

2.8 million

Burning Crusades Classic (2021)

3.5 million (in its first month)

Shadowlands (2020)

3.7 million

Battle for Azeroth (2018)

3.4 million

Legion (2016)

3.3 million

Warlords of Draenor (2014)

3.3 million

Mists of Pandaria (2012)

2.7 million

Cataclysm (2010)

3.3 million

Wrath of the Lich King (2008)

2.8 million

The Burning Crusade (2007)

2.4 million

Through this, we can see sustained growth per each release of expansions (except for reboots of previous releases). As an MMO active players are, of course, more important than initial player numbers but this can give us a glimpse of the sustained popularity of the franchise.

Shadowlands received record-breaking sales numbers on the first day of release. Whilst exploring initial Dragonflight sales, the 2022 Activision Blizzard Fourth Quarter financial report listed:

"While early Dragonflight sales have not reached the level of the prior expansion, community feedback on the title has been positive."

This means that, although an exact sales number has not been released, it has been lower than the previous Shadowlands release. However, the report goes on to state:

"Blizzard has announced plans to deliver substantially more follow-on content for the expansion than in the past, and post-launch subscriber retention in the West is higher than recent expansions."

Blizzard plans on adding additional content to the expansion and, although initial sales are lower than previous DLCs, the number of concurrent players is better.

Combined with the player count data accumulated by MMO Populations, it seems as though World of Warcraft remains one of the most popular MMOs, still going strong in 2023 without sign of sudden decline.

Kiera is a former GGRecon Guides Writer.

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