First, we’ll never truly know unless they tell us.
Second, you need to understand something: UO is still profitable. That is according to the head of EA games. That’s not the EA CEO, that’s the head of EA Games, who is over BioWare, among other studios. Just how profitable it is, nobody knows, but it is.
Profitability is not what I’m here to discuss though. There is a thread on Stratics about the status of MyUO, the utility that a lot of us use to look up characters, skills, guilds, etc. It’s a very useful tool. Towards the end of the thread, it was explained how the Japanese UO website still has the MyUO functionality, and “Nimuaq” gave a brief explanation of how to use it, as well as some interesting information:
I didn’t share this before since there were a lot of speculation regarding the UO population and it would certainly be used for quite inaccurate population estimates, but here’s an interesting guild page:
The player characters that are not part of any guild is considered as a guild too. The guild id for the “no” guild is “737c77c87e177a5d”. Inserting the shard id after this will give you all the player characters that were active in the last 30 days and are not member of any guild.
Nimuq is right in that a lot of people would try and use this for their own population estimates, and that the data is not a part of the whole picture, however, it does provide a brief glimpse of activity.
Keep in mind that it only covers characters NOT in a guild, and that it covers only characters and not actual players, and that players can have up to 7 characters per shard per account. This does NOT give you a clear idea of the number of active accounts/subscriptions, only of non-guilded characters that have logged in within the last 30 days.
I’m missing a shard because some of the shard IDs were timing out, but I doubt the numbers are that much higher. The four shards listed are the ones that Nimuq matched to IDs – if you provide a shard/ID listing, I’d post the full list, but this is a pretty good representation of the busiest shards in their regions (and Siege).
|All (non-guilded) Players
|Veteran (non-guilded) Players
AGAIN IT DOES NOT PROVIDE HARD DATA ON ACTUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS/ACTIVE ACCOUNTS.
I feel the need to emphasize that in bold and in caps because some websites are liable to run away and throw together some crappy article claiming that UO has this many subscribers.
So what does this show us? There are nearly 100,000 characters that are not in guilds and that have been logged in within the past 30 days. That’s very interesting to me. Had you asked me to pick a number of characters that are not in guilds and that had logged in within the past 30 days, I would have picked lower than 100,000. In fact, I might have guessed that in total, there were around 100,000 active characters including guild and non-guild characters.
The problem is, of course, that we have no way of matching those to actual accounts, and that they do not represent many house-holding accounts that don’t feel the need to login all that often. That and it does not show guild members of which there are many.