WoW is currently the most popular subscription MMO in existence, but lost 1.1 million subscribers during a 3-month period. These numbers have been on a downward slide since February of this year when they hit 10.2 million. When looking at the entire picture, the loss doesn’t seem too big, but it’s quite uncharacteristic for the MMO; there were 10.3 million subscribers in September of 2011, and there was a mere 0.1 million drop all the way up until February of 2012.
Many things can be the cause of people dropping out of Azeroth, but it may just be all a part of the life cycle of the gargantuan MMO. There seems to be a drop off in users right before a new expansion comes out. Presumably, many have finished up the current available content and look to other games while waiting for more. In other words, Mists on Pandaria should restore some users.
Blizzard’s President Michael Morhaime, speaking to rockpapershotgun, proposed a rather simple theory to explain Warcraft’s subscriber drop.
“We’re also seeing that a number of players took a break from WoW to play Diablo III,” he said.
This may be the case considering Diablo III sold 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours, but it costs $15 per month to play WoW. People may just be trying to save money due to our treacherous economic state.
In the end, 1.1 million subscribers leaving Azeroth didn’t really Activision/Blizzard’s overall revenue. The publishers pulled in an impressive $1.075 billion in the second quarter of this current fiscal year alone. They surpassed Wallstreet’s expectations for the same quarter, which where 12 cents per share, with an average earnings of 20 cents per share. Battle.net also was able to gain 6.9 million users.
According to ibtimes Activision CEO Bobby Kotick shared his thoughts on the matter in an official statement.
“While we are increasing our financial outlook for full year 2012, we remain cautious given economic uncertainty, risks to consumer spending especially during the holiday season and the recognition that the majority of our key franchises launches are still ahead of us,” he said.