World of Warcraft Loses 600K subscribers, Barely Notices

Blizzard announced at their earnings call yesterday that they have lost 600,000 World of Warcraft subscribers since the launch of their new expansion, Cataclysm, bringing them down to 11.4 million people who still like to quest in Azeroth. This comes as a slight shock, as it seems players are burning through the Cataclysm content faster than expected.

Here is the statement outlining the details from Curse.

During today’s Activision Blizzard earnings call, World of Warcraft and its expansion Cataclysm were two very hot topics. Listeners asked a number of questions related to the game, more than any other title or franchise in the publisher’s stable.

Of note, World of Warcraft’s subscriber base has reached pre-Cataclysm levels, according to Mike Morhaime, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment. He then later stated an actual number, with subscriptions at the end of March clocking in at right around 11.4 million.

That’s down by about 5% from the announced 12 million mark late last year. Interestingly enough, that was right before Cataclysm released. In fact, it’s actually lower than the milestone reached in 2008 with the release of Wrath of the Lich King.

But one important thing to point out, and Mr. Morhaime touched on this as well, is that World of Warcraft’s subscriber base does not change linearly. It fluctuates based on content consumption, which players seem to be doing a whole lot of — at a more rapid pace — with Cataclysm. “Subscriber levels have decreased faster than previous expansions,” he said.

Surprising? Not really. We have to remember that when these numbers were pulled, Cataclysm was in a bit of a lull. The expansion had been out for close to four months, and most of its content had been consumed by a large percentage of the player base — aside from heroic raids.

In response to these numbers Blizzard has promised faster release of content patches and expansions.

[The Shakedown]

This isn’t that big of a deal, in the long run. Blizzard’s numbers wax and wane this way between expansions, and this just seems par for the course. Unfortunately. If you ask me, WoW is a dead horse. Blizzard has exhausted the brand, and needs to develop something new and exciting. Here’s hoping that their next MMORPG doesn’t make the habit WoW did of reinventing character classes when the devs felt players got too comfortable in mastering specific roles.

Thanks to Scifi Mafia Enforcer, Korey “Mad-Eye” Morley for bringing us the tip.

Brandon Johnston
Written by Brandon Johnston

Brandon is a Reporter, Critic, Tornado Alley Correspondent, Technomancer, and Book Department Editor for SciFi Mafia®. When he's not writing for SciFi Mafia®, he's busy being a dad, a novelist, and a man with more hobbies and interests than is healthy for any one person to have.