Blizzard Entertainment’s hit digital card game, Hearthstone, continues to grow at an astronomic rate. According to a tweet this morning, it has now reached over 20 million players, meaning it may be Blizzard’s most popular title ever.
— Hearthstone (@PlayHearthstone) September 15, 2014
Blizzard’s flagship title, World of Warcraft, is one of the most popular games this decade. But it’s no secret that Warcraft subscribers have been steadily dropping, hitting a low of 6.8 million in August. That’s not bad when you consider that each of those 6.8 million are paying subscription fees of about $15 a month, but it hardly touches the 10 million plus player population during World of Warcraft’s heyday.
With triple the playerbase, Hearthstone players only need to be spending around $5 a month to meet the same level of revenue. In the free-to-play card game, $5 gets you 2 expert packs and an arena run. Is Hearthstone close to upsetting Warcraft as Blizzard’s biggest money-maker?
Regardless, Hearthstone‘s success stands as a testament to the growth and demand of the free-to-play distribution model, especially in esports titles. The top game in that category, League of Legends, stands at upwards of 67 million players. Only time will tell if Hearthstone will ever catch up, but they’re finally starting to make it a race.