World of Warcraft has seen a significant dip in subscriptions over the last three months. Activision have reported a 1.3 million decline in the financial quarter ending March 31, leaving Blizzard’s MMO with a still-enviable subscriber base of 8.3 million.
WoW subscriptions are down 800,000 from August last year, despite the temporary boost provided by Mists of Pandaria’s release in the interim. What’s more, a conscious developmental shift towards smaller, more frequent updates doesn’t appear to have stopped players from burning through new content and cancelling their subscriptions.
The 8.3m total means WoW still retains its belt as the most popular subscription MMO in the world – though the title may be misleading, as most of its direct competitors have now adopted free-to-play or hybrid models.
Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told shareholders that the fall in subscribers came “mainly from the East, but in the West as well”. Must remember never to ask that man for directions.
Kotick actually named WoW among the “risks and uncertainties” the company expected to weather towards the end of this year.
“The shift in release dates of competing products, the disappointing launch of the Wii U, uncertainties regarding next-generation hardware, and subscriber declines in our World of Warcraft business all raise concerns, as do continued challenges in the global economy,” he said.
Elsewhere, the publisher revealed that StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm sold 1.1 million copies in its first two days. But its bestselling titles in the last three months across Europe and North America were Skylanders: Giants and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 respectively.
Activision-Blizzard’s overall GAAP net revenue has increased to $1.32 billion in the last three months. The company reported earnings of $1.17 billion during the same period in 2012.
I love the word GAAP.