Adam Martin takes a detailed look at how to guesstimate MMO subscriber numbers.
I am a bit leery about this whole “gotta know how many subs MMO has!” long running discussion. Part of it is because I’m fairly engaged with the general MMO fanbase, who use MMO sub numbers solely as a weapon (if they like an MMO, big numbers mean they are right, if they dislike an MMO, small numbers mean they are right). And part of it is just trying to work in the same industry as Blizzard, with the unspoken, or all too often spoken demand of “hey, why don’t YOU get eleven quadjillion subscribers, anyway?”
I suppose I don’t really take the long view. In the end if an MMO makes enough back to pay the initial investment, keep everyone on salary and kick a bit back to the owners, oh, and is also, you know, a fun game, I consider it a success. But that’s a view that is increasingly out of fashion.