Guild Wars 2 has passed 500,000 Likes on Facebook.
To celebrate, ArenaNet revealed a new piece of concept art, something the company’s done for every 10,000 new Likes from 460,000 on.
But does this campaign – or the number of Facebook Likes in general – tell us anything about how a game is doing?
Take a game like Star Wars: The Old Republic, which has gone down from 2 million active subscriptions to 1.7 million to 1.3 million. But that doesn’t just mean that 700,000 people quit playing. Some larger number quit, but it’s certain that some other number started a subscription, partially offsetting those losses.
Tracking social media traffic, whether Likes on Facebook, Twitter followers, or whatever, won’t tell us exactly how many players a game has, but it can be a decent indicator of whether a game is drawing in new people – even if older players are leaving the product.
Here are the top 15 MMO games, ranked by their increase in Facebook likes over the past three months:
The top five is what you’d expect – mostly. WoW, SWTOR, and Runescape are huge ongoing games, Guild Wars 2 has garnered a lot of attention with its recent betas, and… Fiesta Online?
Yes, Outspark’s casual MMO has attracted the third-most new people to its Facebook page since February. Overall, it has the fifth-most FB Likes, trailing only WoW, SWTOR, Runescape, and MapleStory.
The rest of the list contains several games that have recently been in the news for launching (Wakfu, TERA), entering beta (TSW) or going free-to-play (Aion, Lineage 2).
And then there’s DC Universe Online, which inspired the conversation that led to this post. Earlier this week, I was talking with GAMEBREAKER staff about DCUO‘s strong Facebook following, to which the response was, “Yes, but they probably all jumped on when it launched and have since left.”
This would seem to prove otherwise. To put it into perspective, DCUO has gained more Facebook Likes in the past three months than Age of Conan has altogether. So it’s hardly the case that the game just attracted people at launch and then vanished.
Not all of those 47,864 new Likes represent new players, but some of them must, and there’s little reason to think that — if we could look at new player numbers for all MMOs over the past three months — DCUO wouldn’t be in or around the top 10.
For unreleased or recently released games like Guild Wars 2 and TERA, these numbers give us a decent look at how well the game is being publicized and how many people are planning to try it out.
And what about SWTOR? When it comes down to it, all that matters are the subscriptions. But getting 100,000 to 200,000 new people interested – if not outright playing – every month is still a positive sign, even if not all are currently subscribing or some that are inevitably unsubscribe.
If those numbers level out or actually start dropping – then I’d be worried.