World of Warcraft Loses 800,000 Subscribers in Three Months

MMO now has 6.8 million subscribers; Diablo III sales reach 20 million copies, as Activision Blizzard sees revenue climb year-over-year.

World of Warcraft lost 800,000 subscribers during the April-June quarter, publisher Activision Blizzard announced today as part of its latest earnings report. As of June 30, the game had 6.8 million subscribers, which is down from the 7.6 million subscribers as of March 31.

Activision says the downturn in subscribers came mostly in the East. The company called the decline "seasonal" and pointed out that the dip in subscribers was similar to what we saw in the second quarter of 2012, ahead of the release of World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria.

The next World of Warcraft expansion is Warlords of Draenor, which launches this fall for PC. The expansion's release date will be announced during a special event next week in Los Angeles. Though the expansion isn't out yet, it has already sold 1.5 million units in pre-purchases, Activision Blizzard said today.

Though World of Warcraft's subscriber count is down, revenue from the game is up, Blizzard Entertainment CEO Mike Morhaime said. He did not provide a specific revenue figure, and Actvision Blizzard does not share this information publicly.

Activision Blizzard also announced today that Diablo III has now sold more than 20 million copies. This figure includes sales of Diablo III itself and the expansion Reaper of Souls, which was the top PC game during the quarter in terms of dollars in both North America and Europe, Activision Blizzard said. Diablo III originally launched as a PC-exclusive, but is now available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions will be released this month as the Ultimate Evil Edition.

Overall, Activision Blizzard posted better-than-expected earnings results for the quarter. Revenue was $658 million compared to $608 million this time last year. Net income, on the other hand, stood at $45 million, just half of the $90 million the company posted last year during the same quarter. On the bright side, Activision Blizzard reported that a record 73 percent of the company's total revenue came from digital sales.

"Today, we have more opportunities to create great content using new platforms and business models while also expanding into new geographies, and are embracing all of these growth opportunities with the same commitment to excellence that we have demonstrated over the past 23 years," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement. "As the world's largest and most profitable independent interactive entertainment company, we remain focused on creating the most compelling, engaging games for our dedicated audiences and providing superior returns for our shareholders."

Activision Blizzard is currently holding an earnings call to discuss these results and answer investor and media questions. Check back later for more.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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208 comments
darkearth552
darkearth552

Give me a vanilla server and/or a BC server and I'd be back in a flash. Raising level caps every xpac has just rendered all previous gear/content largely obsolete which is really pretty silly given that most of it was better than what it was replaced with.

You spend a shamefully long time gearing characters up and grinding reps for basically no reason, because as soon as a new xpac comes out, it's all worthless and you may as well start from scratch. More dungeons, bgs, raids, gear etc but no more game resetting xpacs ffs

TheExxorcist
TheExxorcist

They would dominate if they just put WOW on console.... one expansion at a time. If SE can do it with FF Realm Reborn (which is higher quality than most any MMO I've seen) Blizz can do it for PS4 /Xone...

Just saying.

The consoles are powerful enough now

aussiedoc
aussiedoc

im waiting for the new blizzard DOTA style game - that could be good

Chaoticgodz
Chaoticgodz

they lose so many subscribers every year and I do mean a lot. I guess every year that passes is a year closer till we see article headline similar to this "WoW is now free of month subscription due to lack of players"

Twinkling82
Twinkling82

This is when other MMO without a subscripton appears: Warframe and Heroes & Generals comes to mind. Hearthstone perhaps.

northArrow
northArrow

The fact that they haven't had a content patch since September of last year, and won't have one until the expansion hits in December (for $50) explains this. There's nothing to do.


I don't know how they can justify a subscription fee for this

joaorafaelrr
joaorafaelrr

Blizzard! Come to steam!
sometimes i forgor i have Diablo 3

LOve your games! Your Art! Your Mood.
You are TRue (true metal) ARTISTS!

kindlewithcare
kindlewithcare

Kind of the standard with this game. All of this current gear will be meaningless in a few months so many take a break until the expansion is released. I haven't played the game in years but that was always the trend.

deathBRINGER201
deathBRINGER201

# players online always drop near new expansion release this is nothing new, as soon as you've completed all the content for current add-ons its hard to keep coming back when there's not alot left to do. just wait till Warlords of Draenor drops and the player base will flow back in

deadpen
deadpen

I would like to know how many of those 800,000 died and break it down to suicides, filicide, sororicide, fraticide, and autoerotic asphyxiation.

vadagar1
vadagar1

what murders my cool is that I CONTRIBUTED to those 20 m D3 sales


cause im a F***ing m0r0n that blindly trusted blizzard 


for the last time....

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

So bad news for Blizzard is they still have as many subs as all other MMOs combined?  I stopped playing years ago but I still feel confident that this game is immortal.  Every other game people tout as a "WoW Killer" has been anything but.  Probably already stated, but they'll increase subs again after people try out other new MMOs and then head back for the expansion.

bjghani
bjghani

I am one of those people. I'm waiting for Warlords of Draenor. 
I played Wildstar for 2 months, not my cup of tea, it's too similar to wow (vanila wow) with a lot of firefly star wars-y stuff thrown in, but the game isn't as polished and combat is simply not visceral enough (sound effects and the timing of the effects being a big part of it) It might become a great game one day but right now, it's just not that compelling compared to everything else available in the market. If Wildstar had come out in early 2000's it would have been a grand game, but today, it's a "me too". 
PANDARIA SUCKED, the lore was stupid (real Chinese mythology would have been nice, but Pandaria had the mythological depth of a Michael Bay film) game play completely overhauled (Yay! le-learn every character!) without adding anything to the enjoyment of playing the game. 

Warlords had better be good enough for us to forget Pandaria, cataclysm and stupid concepts like Archeology or the freaking Sha!! (Blizzard's grand concept of one's own anger turning against one self, realized through reskinned mobs that acted exactly like every other mob)
And right now, geared players can solo heroic dungeons! WTF? 

I don't know if it's because Blizzard lost a lot of the original talent, or whether they are spread out too thin with Starcraft, diablo, hearthstone, heroes of the storm and the fucking reality TV show they produced (like i give a rat's rectum about a custom bike); or maybe it's activision. 

Whatever it is, Blizzard isn't the old Blizzard. Warcraft 3 had 10 times the lore and storytelling of the last two expansions. 

Darkhol0w
Darkhol0w

It's called an "off season". People go to test other MMO's because there's nothing to do anymore in WoW.


Subs will increase 2 million at least when expansion launches.

Yuusha09
Yuusha09

I don't think it's surprising at all considering in that time frame both ESO and Wildstar were released.

imajinn
imajinn

Not a big shocker as WoW is quite old, yet it still going strong is impressive.

leikeylosh
leikeylosh

Whatever, Blizzard. Just don't screw it with Starcraft II Legacy of the Void.

Vodoo
Vodoo

These guys were blabbing about the PS4 version as the ultimate evil edition 8 months ago like it was about to come out the following week and it still hasn't released.

BSC14
BSC14

By the way this happens before every expansion....every single time.  They will be back at 8 or 9 million easy just a month after WoD launches.


Besides every other MMO out there would absolutely love to have 6 million subs.

oflow
oflow

its too bad Blizz had to scrap the original Titan because it was probably just like Destiny lol.

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

"As the world's largest and most profitable independent interactive entertainment company, we remain focused on creating the most compelling, engaging games for our dedicated audiences and providing superior returns for our shareholders."

So much wrong in this statement. We are more than aware you actually do not care at all about the playerbase , only who you can milk as much as possible.

Blizzard and Activision are trash.

ecurl143
ecurl143

It's incredible that Blizzard are still milking this cash cow that just keeps on giving.

It's even more amazing that people are still subscribing to play it - just unbelievable.

I don't understand the longevity of the game - it just can't be that interesting can it?

Never touched the game myself but I do understand playing a game to death - I did that with Unreal tournament back in the day but that lasted about a year and a half before finally admitting to myself that i was bored to death of it - seriously, you can play a game for so long before it just gets boring. Anyone playing WOW for years on end AND paying a subscription really could do with either a full frontal labotomy or a good whack across the back of the head with a baseball bat.

Twinkling82
Twinkling82

@northArrow Yeah an asking price for the expansion AND subscription? At least make the expansion cheap. But nooeh. People unsubs because they realise how ludicrus it is.

Luckydan79
Luckydan79

It's cause they updated the content however the new expansion took longer than they realized. The only reason to go on WOW now is either to clean up the achievements you miss, go on a month and unload all your MOP gear and then just sit back and twiddle your thumbs or do some PVP. However I think they should of focused more on the lvl 100 talents some of them seem really really subpar, or don't add some sort of passive play styles. The talents really have to be special if people waiting for this long.

vegard1985
vegard1985

@northArrow Seriously? Not a content patch for almost a year? Now that's just lazy. Haven't played for well, a little over a year I guess. I'll be leveling a character or two to 100 when WoD hits, but unless it's on a Burning Crusade level, I doubt I'll play for more than a few months.

mabc_1
mabc_1

@deathBRINGER201 This is true.  However, they lose hundreds of thousands of players, permanently, with each cycle.

keech
keech

@vadagar1 Believe it or not D3 is actually pretty good since the update right before the expansion went live.  I'm not saying it was instantly elevated to legendary classic like D2, but It's actually enjoyable now.

Phooey442
Phooey442

@Tuckpoint I would bet any amount of money on the fact that there will not be a wow killer at all. It will only fade away on its own. People may get tired of it but the game will go at least another 10 years without a problem. May be less than a million subs but people will still play. I played Ultima Online for a number of years starting in 1997 and that game is still doing decent.

Darkhol0w
Darkhol0w

@leikeylosh It has nothing to do with SC2 LoTV..it's made by a different branch. They have a branch of developers for each of their franchises.

riptal
riptal

@tableofjapan In fact, the servers never been so crowded since server migration. maybe you should at least play or see the game before posting anything.

diggyphelps
diggyphelps

@tableofjapan They don't care as long as they're getting paid. My GF plays though and her server is the exact opposite of what you described.

ShimmeringSword
ShimmeringSword

@WolfGrey  If Blizzard didn't make games that gamers like, they wouldn't be the powerhouse they are today. Complain all you want, but it seems they do indeed make engaging games for us. In fact they make games so good that gamers are willing to pay too much for them.

Phooey442
Phooey442

@WolfGrey Well considering that they have dominated their market for the past decade says otherwise. It may not agree your preferences but your preferences are apparently not what makes money. It makes a ton of money because people like it.

Nightrunner0007
Nightrunner0007

@WolfGrey  If you owned a game that had almost 7 million subscribers on a paid model, would you abandon it? 


I personally would like to think I would be nice enough to make it a F2P model, however, that is a lot of money...

programmer1
programmer1

@ecurl143 Hold on mate. There is nothing "old". Wow is coming back very stong with new expansion pack. Wow lost subcribers because the content end and there is not that much things to do left. Only repeating things at the end of content. Just follow it, when next expansion release Wow shall have 10m+ subcribers at least again.

riptal
riptal

@ecurl143 I just stoped reading at "Never touched the game myself ".

How can you have an opinion if you never tried! Worthless post ever!

Jertsy
Jertsy

@ecurl143 "Anyone playing WOW for years on end AND paying a subscription really could do with either a full frontal labotomy" what in the hell are you talking about.  God forbid anyone playing the game is having fun - just because its changed, not for the better, does not mean its a not a good game worth playing.  I have been playing since release, and still play - I play for nostalgia, for the atmosphere and fun.   Yes, I played UT>3k>4k for many years, and never got bored.  Just because you get bored with a game, does not mean to say everyone else does.  ...... 

oflow
oflow

@ecurl143 not that amazing actually.  Most of the people that were there for vanilla are long gone.  What they are banking on is the churn. For every person that leaves, a younger kid comes of age that hasnt played it yet so they give it a try at least for a few months.

It losing subscribers because its just starting to show its age. 2004 graphics arent that amazing to a kid that has just built their first gaming rig with a 770 in 2014.

I think I had a  6800gt when WoW first launched and that was a top end card at the time lol.

They need to put WoW on a f2p model and bring out the next gen mmo. probably wont happen though because I think they still have two expansions to go before they close the curtain on wow.

Nightrunner0007
Nightrunner0007

@ecurl143  Most of your players today are casual with a few hardcore sprinkled in.  I would say a bulk of those subscriptions are people who are paying the fee and not using the service. 


If you ever decide to start playing the game, I think you'll understand quickly why so many people still have a subscription.  I personally have tried to find other MMO's that are better (from an all around perspective) and I have yet to come across one that offers as much as WoW does.  The formula is old, the game is old. the graphics engine is dated, but at the end of the day it just works.

Iamshmee
Iamshmee

@Phooey442 @Tuckpoint Jesus I hope people expect more from games in the next 10 years. If you look at technology from 2004 to now it's a dramatic increase. Then again people did play Everquest and Runescape well out of their technological limitations! 

kindlewithcare
kindlewithcare

@Darkhol0w @leikeylosh Disturbingly not everyone understands this. I don't know why people assume that the exact same people make all of the games for a company. Blizzard is huge and one franchise does not affect the other.

Tirnoth
Tirnoth

@Dissentioncc @tableofjapan How is he tableofjapan wrong? Most of you are saying he is wrong without backing why.

The server merging for me, felt like it didn't really tune the populations up. In particular, I wasn't sure why Blizzard decided to merge low level server populations like Farstriders to Thorium Brotherhood, and Silver Hand when their own population isn't even that huge to begin with. So unless you guys can comment about your server mergers, I don't understand why its not unreasonable to see that maybe some people do not see your point of view.

What servers are you on? Moon Guard? It kind of makes a difference when you state your server.I was on Farstriders. It's a server that has a medium population. I have played on Area, Moon Guard, Wyrmrest, and Greymane and I can safely say there is a difference in the amount of people you encounter. Also, much of WoW's community is pretty silent unlike the golden days from vanilla, and BC. Hardly anyone ever talks in a guild much less in general chat so no wonder some people are left with the impression that WoW feels dead. People hardly interact unless it's a hardcore raiding guild. Even with that being said, most go off and do their own thing through LFR or PvP. I found a lot of people didn't even participate with the guild (kind of defeating the purpose of being in a guild).


WoW isn't dead but it's certainly seen greener days.

Tirnoth
Tirnoth

@riptal @tableofjapan Huh...? LOL? Not all servers are like yours riptal. Played on Lethon? Farstriders? They are pretty dead compared to previous years. Maybe YOUR lucky that your server isn't like that but not everyone else has the same situation as you.

Phooey442
Phooey442

@Iamshmee @Phooey442 @Tuckpoint It's not about the technology, it's about the game. People still play pong and tetris, but they aren't mmos so it's really hard to say how many.