World of Warcraft subs fall to 8.3 million

Subscriber base for aging MMO dips 1.3 million in three months; Activision Blizzard posts $456 million profit on $1.32 billion in revenue for Q1.

Gamers are continuing to exit Azeroth. Activision Blizzard announced today that as of March 31, World of Warcraft has 8.3 million subscribers, down from 9.6 million at the end of 2012.

According to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, World of Warcraft subscriber declines were mainly from the East, but the Western market also made an impact, he said in a statement. He further explained that subscriber figures are expected to fall throughout the year.

Despite the subscriber attrition, World of Warcraft remains the number one subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, according to Activision.

By comparison, Electronic Arts' Star Wars: The Old Republic has fewer than 500,000 subscribers as of March 31.

The news comes as part of Activision Blizzard's first quarter earnings report, which saw the publisher post $456 million in profit on $1.32 billion in revenue for the three-month period ended March 31.

Kotick said that though the year has gotten off to a solid start, there is reason to be skeptical about Activision Blizzard's prospects for the second half of the year.

"While we have had a solid start to the year, we now believe that the risks and uncertainties in the back half of 2013 are more challenging than our earlier view, especially in the holiday quarter," Kotick said in prepared remarks. "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."

These issues are cause for concern, Kotick said. However, he also acknowledged that Activision Blizzard will be able to deliver shareholder value by employing the same tactics that has made the company one of the industry's biggest publishers for the past 20 years.

"For these reasons, we remain cautious," he said. "However, our focused and disciplined approach to our business has served us well in the past, and through continued investment and careful management of our costs, we expect to continue delivering shareholder value over the long term as we have for the last 20 years.”

Activision is currently holding a post-earnings financial call.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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487 comments
Bryjoered07
Bryjoered07

Wow will not die until blizzard comes out with another mmo. It still has 8.3 million subscribers after 10 years, this should be proof enough.

johnwck90
johnwck90

It was announced that Rift will be free to play in June, so that will be another quality free-to-play wow-clone with a recent and extensive expansion so you have to wonder whether the market can support pay-to-play for much longer.  Surely, if you are wanting to play a cooperative online rpg then you will play between expansions for the new content of each mmo?  WoW is lucky in that it has a vast adolescent player base whose parents pay the fee maybe that will be sufficient to make their business model viable but in terms of future games it will be interesting to see whether the market will support their new project as pay-to-play.  Same with Elder Scrolls Online which I am now finding difficult to justify paying to play.  I paid to play Star Wars The Old Republic when it came out because I accepted the pay-to-play model as a necessity of the genre but now I don't.  I played the Dragon's Age Beta last night, it's not great, but it's operational and eventually surely the market conditions will be such that they undermine any rationale for paying when we've all seen the genre well executed and developed in each expansion of each product.

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

please god please let this raging piece of chit die its long overdue death.  how many lives has this garbage ruined over the years....you get a copy of the game as a high school graduation gift...you wake up 32 years old one day and realize...OMFG I WoW'd my 20's away!  sad chit mate

PcGamingRig
PcGamingRig

even if it was to stabilize at like 5 million, they may have lost a lot of subscribers but they would still be way ahead. this game was always going to lose subscribers at some point due to its age.

colt_a
colt_a

9.6 million from end of 2012 to 8.3 million currently is over 200,000 sub losses per month.

Excellent.  Once WoW dies there can be real competition in the MMO market again.

ardent163
ardent163

15 x 8.3 million... So now they're only making, generally, around $124,500,000 a month from store purchases and subscriptions.


I suck at math, but it doesn't take a math wiz to realize that 8.3 million subscribers is a FREAKING LOT OF MONEY for game development.

spindie
spindie

W.O.W subs fall to 8.3 million? Thats like saying poor justin bieber has to settle for F-18 Private jet instead of newer model F-19

jerusaelem
jerusaelem

What a coincidence that so many subs are dropping roughly one year after the "Pay for 12 months of WoW in advance, and get a free copy of Diablo 3" promotion. It's amazing what giving away one of the most eagerly anticipated games of all time will do to boost subs. Especially when your next expansion takes place in the worlds gaudiest Chinese gift shop and revolves almost exclusively around stupid fucking panda bears.

rann89
rann89

WoW is a terrible game and old. That's why they're stuck with a measly 8.3 million subs... only 7.8million more than the nearest competition lol.

Meta_Dragon
Meta_Dragon

"and subscriber declines in our World of Warcraft business"
Uhm no Kotick, Blizzard's WoW. You had nothing to do with it. Stop taking credit for games you had no part in.

Eraldus
Eraldus

Euzeth is the one behind it! (I take only a few will understand this)

Danituga
Danituga

lol if it doensn't turn into free to play the number of subs will countinue to drop 

constantin
constantin

Star Wars the Old Republic has fewer than 500,000 users !?! But it has lightsabers and voice acting .... I bet WoW subscribers are all asian  -__-

hough06
hough06

WoW has been played out and is expected to keep declining as the years go on. With the "explosion" of F2P games on the market, WoW and several other "subscription" based games are going to take a hit. 

The hardest thing for a lot of game developers is seeing where the market is going. Will F2P be the future just like everyone said MMO would be 5 years ago at the height of WoW era?

Personally, I'm not sure what will win the battle. With the economy finally "regaining" some strength gamers may have a few extra dollars to spend but not enough to send WoW 13 bucks a month or other MMO sub games. I seriously think we'll see the re-entry of Retro / Indie games. Nothing more than 10 dollars eating up a lot of market shares. Just look at how successful Super Meatboy was and similar games like that. It's the Dark Horse of the race.



Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

I literally played for a week and I gave up.  Got tired of high levels running around me with no help and spending hours "figuring it out on my own"

Albaficas
Albaficas

next expansion

2 races,alliance kangoroo

            horde rooster


classes kickboxing

            capoiera

moniso
moniso

Come on Blizzzzzard, make a new warcraft not wow.

Personally I see that the income from the number of subscribers way exceeds the cost of developing a new game.

Psil0X
Psil0X

People still play this?

Edwin_3D
Edwin_3D

The best MMO out there now is called "The Infinite Black", not WoW.

tim1935
tim1935

They spent 2 yrs developing pandas and it only kept their audience engaged for a few months. I don't see how they can keep up with the user hemorrhaging with time tradeoffs like that.

Thathanka
Thathanka

Who cares?  Vanilla WoW was special, Burning Crusade was excellent.  After that it's been a gradual dumbing down and homogenization.  I stopped playing 4 and a half years ago and never regretted it.  

Meanwhile Eveonline turns 10 years old and is still going from strength to strength.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

I blame global warming. 

DeafJerzy
DeafJerzy

Yes! I hope this should resume falling down. (FFXI ftw)

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

I always think of Azeroth the same way I think of the Matrix.

"Why do my eyes hurt?"

"Because you've been hopelessly addicted to the same magic fairy-land computer game for eight years of your life".

megakick
megakick

Game is old and still doing well..

jesusismyhomie
jesusismyhomie

I've always wanted a Starcraft MMO ever since WoW came out. But I don't know how that would work.

bi0hazard187949
bi0hazard187949

WOW is still the #1 MMO, so many games still tried to be it. (SWTOR, Warhammer). Many have failed. Now to bring more gamers back to WOW, they just need to launch WOW2.

stefip
stefip

I think this shows how shortsighted their CEO is. This raises concerns? Really? What were you expecting, it's a miracle the game is still number 1 MMO after 8 years, and not a single other has come even close in number of subscribers, but, obvious to anyone but this guy, that can't last forever, and instead for planning out in the future how to compensate this, he sounds like he wasn't expecting this at all ...(?)

Mausingen
Mausingen

Game simply isn't worth 13 euro a month. It's just clicking for more and more people that this is daylight robbery.

Nzilla
Nzilla

really?  how in the hell is the disappointing wiiu launch having any effect on the WoW subscriptions??  idiots...  it's still the largest and most popular MMO out there, enjoy it!  nothing lasts forever.

Zetsuie
Zetsuie

I would rather play Runescape.

TheUnkownJoker
TheUnkownJoker

The proof is in the article, half of it is about declining subscribers where the rest of it is about shareholders,profit, and oddly, blaming the Wii U for decreasing subscribers?

'"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." '

What does next gen hardware have to do with the quality of the video game?

adrian07ch
adrian07ch

A game that ugly, old and cheap shouldn't have any subscribers.

alpha_unit97
alpha_unit97

This doesn't come as a surprise to me, there's other, much better mmos around now and after Mists of Pandaria it got kind of ridiculous. This game is so outdated and when games like The Elder Scrolls: Online and Neverwinter come out, people are really going to realize it and subs will drop even more. 

LukeWesty
LukeWesty

Had a decent spell on wow for about 6 months and then moved on. I wouldn't say it was a waste of money but at the same time don't know how people are still playing this from the Lich King expansion etc which I enjoyed but went down hill from that.

The_Gaming_Baby
The_Gaming_Baby

This game has been around so long, it's only a matter of time before people want to move onto something else

AzatiS
AzatiS

Add the fact that Diablo 3 failed and OFFICIALY , from Jay "" The diablo killer" Wilson himself , out of 13M owners ( 12+1) ONLY 1M login daily to play itin less than a year out...


There you have it ... Something is going wrong with Blizzard.


Not that 8.3M Subs isnt profitable and an amazing number considering how old is WoW but from 12M down to 8 in a year more or less ... is a huge decline that  clearly shows Blizzard losing touch with their FANS and their needs in order to keep playing .. AKA = They dont listen/care or a god knows what is happening

RoadStar1602
RoadStar1602

I really don't know why anyone still plays this turd of a game from this turd of a company. There are far better MMO's out there. Some of them are even free to play. I guess it's just that people have formed a community and don't want to leave that community. That's all. They get in a guild and talk to the same people every day and they like those people and want to continue to play with them. 

As for me, I'm done with Blizzard. After having my WoW account hacked repeatedly while it had been inactive for over a year, then having them blame it on me in their standard email when there is no way possible it could have happened from my end (since I hadn't logged into the account for a year and didn't even own the computer that WoW used to be installed on anymore)...after getting shit for my $60 of hard earned money for Diablo 3, I have a bad taste in my mouth for this company. It's a pity, because they used to be my favorite game maker.

seplin01
seplin01

this arctile reminded me to Unsub my 6month recurring subscription thanks

Azghouls
Azghouls

I have to say I never played WoW at all. Not even to view the opening screen (whatever that is). 

SirNormanislost
SirNormanislost

Wow last time I read a Warcraft article on Gamespot it was never this civilised in the comments section

Hurvl
Hurvl

It's still a lot more than the other MMO's.

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

To be honest, the fact that they even still have 8.3 million subscribers after so many years is in itself amazing and a testament to just how popular this game was, especially with other MMO's rising up to try and challenge its supremacy.

If it finally starts to die now, then one can at least say it had a good run. No-one can complain about that.

Dasim64
Dasim64

I started with WoW at the very beginning and it was really amazing back then. I found a great guild with great people and had a blast for 3 years. After that I didn't like the direction Blizzard went with the game and I quit playing. What I missed most about it were the people I had spent so much time with. I'm sure it will be around for a good while yet. 8 million plus is still a lot of subscribers and a ton of $$$.

BuBsay
BuBsay

I'm one of the old farts who played from December '04 and quit playing only earlier this year.


After 8 years of playing WoW (It's kind of startling saying that honestly) I can honestly say that WoW from 2004-Early 2009 was one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had, and probably will ever have. Although after 3.2 things kinda took a downhill turn, though 3.3 was still pretty fun even though it was followed by a dryspell of no content. And of course after that came Cataclysm, which honestly killed the game for me and I barely raided at all after that.


Pandaria isn't a bad expansion per say, if anything I'd say it's the most in depth expansion since BC, but I've honestly just grown bored with WoW and MMO's in general. It just doesn't have the depth of gameplay you can find in much cheaper games like Dark Souls or Arma 3, or the tremendous stories of games like Witcher 2 or Metro 2033.

And although WoW and MMO's are over for me personally, I honestly believe WoW will never die. Yes its subs is down to 8.3 million but when you consider how far above that is compared to the 2nd highest it's still astounding.

chronadar
chronadar

WoW isn't going anywhere. Everquest was down to 200,000 subs in 2003 when WoW came out and it is STILL RUNNING. They've had something like 15 expansions since I quit. There will be a healthy population for many years to come. I quit before Cata came out because it was just old by then, although I liked WOTLK on some levels.

On the other hand, I feel like this genre is really old and played out to most of the older crowd. I was a hardcore player from age 15-23, but things change. I don't even have time anymore. I'm waiting for some INNOVATION. This genre is DYING for it. GW2 at least brought a few new ideas to the table, but not nearly enough... after all the complete MMO letdowns over the decade (Old Republic/D3 although not an MMO the largest two in history for me) and nothing new and interesting on the horizon things are looking bleak for this genre altogether, but PROFITABLE? Yea games like WoW will be turning a profit for many, many years.

The only game I'm watching is Elder Scrolls Online due to the fact that it might be NOVEL. I admit I haven't kept up the past year so if there's any other new games feel free to enlighten me, but I haven't heard of any.

Techn1c4l
Techn1c4l

This game brings so much memories. It's so sad that Blizzard ruined it.

cephas90
cephas90

WoW is an ex girlfriend.  She was great, we had fun, and I loved her.  But she changed.  She wasn't who I originally dated, and over time, she became unrecognizable.  I could no longer be in love with the idea of who she used to be, and with great pain, I had to end our relationship.  Sometimes I have fond memories, but there's no going back.  That's all WoW is to me now: good memories.

commanderxp90
commanderxp90

People already wasted their times and lifes on the WOW to quit because they had done spent a lot of money on WOW.  Please make WOW down someday. Thanks! -_-