World of Warcraft’s Warlords of Draenor expansion hit just last December, but Blizzard is already getting ready to announce a new expansion. It’s much faster-coming than previous expansions, and there’s a good reason for that.
After jumping up to 10 million subscribers for the new expansion, the game has dropped to 5.6 million – down by almost half. That’s the lowest the game has been in nine years.
It is worth noting, though, that the Warlords of Draenor expansion resulted in a sharp spike in subscribers, bringing in over 3 million new players, many returning of course, so Blizzard does seem to be doing something right. Retaining those subscribers is the tough part. Blizzard’s president Mike Morhaime noted on a financial call that the latest update, in June, “helped stabilize the subscriber number toward the end of the quarter.”
My guess is that a lot of those subscribers are heading toward MOBA games and even some of the free to play MMO games, but it’s impossible to say.
Despite all this, Activision Blizzard had a great quarter with publisher-wide subscriber numbers on the increase and profits up as well. Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Bungie’s Destiny have a combined subscriber base of 70 million registered players, digital monetization is up by 25 percent, Skylanders and Call of Duty are holding their places as two of the biggest things in video gaming, and Diablo III has sold over 30 million units globally.
With new entries in almost all of their major franchises (Destiny, Skylanders, Call of Duty, as well as Blizzard’s soon-to-be-announced World of Warcraft expansion, Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void, and Hearthstone: The Grand Tournament) on the way, along with the revival of Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, the next quarter should end up looking pretty good for them despite the big drop in subscribers.