Blizz Bleeds - World of Warcraft Drops to 7.6 Million Subscribers
Whenever non-gamers ask about games they inevitably end up referencing World of Warcraft (WoW) in some way because it's one of the few games widely well-known enough to seep into popular culture. Even gamers often bring WoW into conversations when talking about mechanics or comparing game modes. World of Warcraft is the gold standard in massively multiplayer gaming and is often used as an exemplar in gaming in general. It deserves it. WoW remains the number one subscription-based MMORPG on the market.
Even though World of Warcraft is massive it is on the decline. In the last quarter Blizzard lost 100,000 WoW subscribers and the quarter before that the game leaked 500,000 players. We can draw a line with these points and say that World of Warcraft is dying. That's a common attitude. Every big AAA release in the last few years has been heralded as a WoW killer. We can look at World of Warcraft's golden age and say that if they don't have 12 million subscribers then they're only limping along. It's not the whole story, but it's partly true. WoW is losing subscribers.
The thing that this view lacks is 7.6 million subscribers still represents a massive part of the games market and Activision Blizzard couldn't be more pleased. Investors are pleased with the fact that this is WoW's ninth year by some counts and the franchise is still strong. World of Warcraft revenue for the third quarter was down to 691 million dollars from 841 million dollars in the last year, but nobody is disappointed. Activision had projected during an earlier earnings report that WoW would only net 635 million dollars this quarter. Nobody was shocked. Between the better-than-predicted earnings and the fact that the report also noted that two of the five best-selling North America and Europe, Skylanders Giants and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, were Activision games; the company that supports World of Warcraft is doing fine.
A new World of Warcraft expansion is expected to release sometime soon. Rumors say the newest iteration of WoW will be Warlords of Draenor. There is no doubt that once Blizzard starts teasing this new game subscriptions will rise, some players will become excited, and people who don't play Warcraft will cry MMO-killer. This reaction occurs because World of Warcraft is a giant. Every time they do something it affects the whole market. That's just the state of games.