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World of Warcraft Lost Over 1 Million Subscribers This Year

Activision Blizzard on Tuesday announced better-than-expected Q3 2011 net revenues and earnings, reporting that the company delivered GAAP net revenues of $754 million, as compared with $745 million for the third quarter of 2010. This gain was achieved via digital channels, accounting for more than 57-percent of the company's total net revenues.

However in a conference call following the Q3 2011 results announcement, Blizzard Entertainment CEO Mike Morhaime admitted that World of Warcraft's subscription count continues to fall, dropping from 11.1 million subscribers in June to 10.3 million in September -- a 7 percent drop. The long-standing fantasy MMORPG saw a 300,000 drop in subscriptions in the six months prior, meaning that Blizzard has lost over a million customers in the first 9 months of 2011.

According to Morhaime, the biggest drop in subscriptions is taking place over in the East. However he also said the game is still one of the most popular titles in China, and currently remains as the most popular subscription-based MMOG in the world. "That said, we know there are improvements that we can make in game content," he continued.

Blizzard plans to retrieve its lost customers with new updates and expansions like the just-announced Mists of Pandaria. There's even a content update pack launching in the coming weeks although it's not meant to reel in previous subscribers. "It's really not intended to go out and drive new user acquisition, that's a whole other strategy," he said. "But it does drive engagement with the game, and so that will impact churn if we do it successfully, and will eventually drive win-back, as players tell each other about the content they're enjoying."

Blizzard previously reported that a sudden loss of subscribers -- nearly one million at that -- was due to seasoned gamers re-activating their accounts for the release of the third expansion, Cataclysm. These customers quickly chewed through the new content and then canceled their subscription when the cataclysmic meal was fully consumed.

Last month during BlizzCon 2011, the company revealed the game's fourth expansion pack, Mists of Pandaria. The new expansion reintroduces the elusive pandaren, originally seen in Blizzard’s real-time strategy game Warcraft III, as a playable race and adds a brand-new player class: the martial-arts-focused Monk. The expansion will also provide a range of new content and game features including new quests and dungeons, group scenarios and "challenge" modes, pet battles, and more.

Hey dude, I'm playing a panda dressed like a Monk! Yep, that will win back customers alright. Then again, Kung Fu Panda seems mighty popular still...

  • acasel
    Lol because ppl get ready for D3.. no surprise :p
    Reply
  • LOL since D3 is yet far from ready, the revenue finally falls in the fourth quarter.
    Reply
  • makaveli316
    I have never played WOW, cause these games are addictive and consume your social life.
    Same reason i quit playing multiplayer. It turns you into zombie, especially if you're a kid or a teen.
    Reply
  • Goldengoose
    makaveli316I have never played WOW, cause these games are addictive and consume your social life.Same reason i quit playing multiplayer. It turns you into zombie, especially if you're a kid or a teen.
    Self control perhaps?
    Reply
  • clivene09
    I doubt they will go free to play till the subscribers drop to at least half of what they are now. $15 a month for 10 mill subs is a large chunk of money to just drop outright, and I doubt they will make it back in microtransactions. The thing I don't think Bliz really understands is that WoW is just old. I have fond memories of the game, but the time has come to just move on.
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    Everytime I think of WoW or Facebook, I think of the South Park episode "You have 0 Friends"
    Reply
  • legacy-za
    makaveli316I have never played WOW, cause these games are addictive and consume your social life.Same reason i quit playing multiplayer. It turns you into zombie, especially if you're a kid or a teen.
    Personality, I think, that it differs from person to person, it does not necessarily mean that it will happen to every gamer out there. :)
    Reply
  • Auroram
    A picture of Kung Fu Panda and making fun of the whole concept... really, Kevin?
    You wrote an informative, neutral article. Why did you chose to end it with such an out of place comparison? If people would want to see cheesy anecdotes of which trolling teens can think of, they'd read MMO Champion or Joystiq...

    Anyways, you might want to mention that the loss of subs is seen primarily in China at this time. The country is always terribly far behind regarding updates in content, as was seen in the previous expansion's release, Wrath of the Lich King. They didn't get that until 28 months had passed since the rest of the world started playing it. Cata was less delayed at "only" 7 months. Let's hope that MoP won't take as long, or Blizzard will slack on updates again until the China release.

    Ah well, why do I care. Stopped playing ages ago! :D
    Reply
  • sporx
    "Ok guys we need to get some gear to be geared enough to get more gear. Once we have that gear we will be geared enough to get the next tier of gear which will give us enough gear to beat the last boss and get his gear. "

    Why would anyone stop playing a game like that ?
    Reply
  • cmcghee358
    AuroramA picture of Kung Fu Panda and making fun of the whole concept... really, Kevin?You wrote an informative, neutral article. Why did you chose to end it with such an out of place comparison? If people would want to see cheesy anecdotes of which trolling teens can think of, they'd read MMO Champion or Joystiq...Anyways, you might want to mention that the loss of subs is seen primarily in China at this time. The country is always terribly far behind regarding updates in content, as was seen in the previous expansion's release, Wrath of the Lich King. They didn't get that until 28 months had passed since the rest of the world started playing it. Cata was less delayed at "only" 7 months. Let's hope that MoP won't take as long, or Blizzard will slack on updates again until the China release.Ah well, why do I care. Stopped playing ages ago!
    He mentioned the loss of subs came from the East. Also they ARE MARTIAL ART PANDAS. Stafoo.
    Reply