World of Warcraft subscriptions slip to 9.1 million

Activision Blizzard reports stronger-than-expected quarter thanks to 10 million Diablo III sales; WoW subs dip, profit down 44.7 percent year-to-year.

Ten million sales of Diablo III pushed Activision Blizzard into a stronger financial situation than it had hoped, even as World of Warcraft subscriber numbers continued to dwindle. The company's financial results for the period ended June 30 published today showed a positive financial situation for the publisher, expected to improve moreso by the year's end with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Skylanders Giants.

Activision's doing pretty well for a company up for sale.

Diablo III's PC-record-breaking sales, which Blizzard reported sold more than 3.5 million copies through digital and retail means within its first 24 hours, propelled Activision to $1.075 billion in revenue, surpassing its $950 million projection from the first quarter by more than $50 million. However, subscriptions to Blizzard's long-successful MMORPG World of Warcraft slipped to 9.1 million from the 10.2 million reported in February, a much more precipitous drop than from the 10.3 million figure published in September 2011. The company hopes to see improvement with the September release of expansion World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria.

Despite Diablo III's success, the second quarter of 2012 paled in comparison to that of 2011. Activision Blizzard brought in $185 million in net income for the second quarter this year, a 44.78 percent reduction from the $335 million brought in during the same period last year. Activision Blizzard's parent company Vivendi reportedly continues to seek to sell its stake in the company.

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83 comments
Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

Well it was the tail end of an expansion when everyone knows what they are doing is ultimately pointless because a new expansion is right around the corner. Doesn't surprise me that people cancel there subs.  Still 9.1 million active players dwarfs everything else out there by 4-5 times. Even if they lose 1 million subs every year the game would probably still be profitable until the start of the next decade ;p Blizzard's gonna milk that cow until they bleed off damn near every last one of those subs. As much hate as WoW gets the game was once quite spectacular during the BC days. At least that's the last time I didn't feel like logging in was a chore. It's to bad blizzard pushed me away with all there dumb choices. Some of the most fun I've had gaming was just running raids in BC with a couple RL friends and are guild.

Azghouls
Azghouls

Looks like Chuck Norris killed a million people.

BiiteMe
BiiteMe

Looking forward to Blizzard being taken down a few notches, they created the horror they named Diablo 3 (a massive fail in my opinion). They destroyed WoW and turned it into a game suited for 10 year olds. I will enjoy seeing other better companies rise up and take their rightful places at the top of the ladder and leave the failure that is Blizz to dwell in it's misery.

skull24770437
skull24770437

i'm not surprised when blizzards battle.net was comprimised oh didnt they let everyone know untill this year a 4 year in the know and they didnt inform everyone how odd.

Primmly
Primmly

Any game in between expansions is going to lose subscribers, because people get bored waiting for new content. 

Jir11
Jir11

Who cares...

CocaColaNinja
CocaColaNinja

They are still doing good, but they are slowing falling

 

AshTrai
AshTrai

The media always takes subscriber numbers of WoW out of context. Every single time before another expansion for WoW, the subscription numbers drop because there is a 10 month lack of content for the game and people get bored so go play (and spend their money on) something else in the meantime. Blizzard knows this, as does anybody who has ever played the game for longer than a month, but the media chooses to ignore this so it can send out a sensationalistic news headlines from which uninformed people draw skewed opinions that somehow the game is falling in to an abyss.

 

I'm looking at u @Unholy123

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

9.1M subscribers still. Boo-hoo? There are studios that wish they had just 1M paid subscribers. How is this news? Let me guess the next headline....

 

"World of Warcraft subscriptions slip to 8.1 million".

 

(Yes, all I did was change 9.1 to 8.1)

cheese00701
cheese00701

ima unsubing as soon as my contract is up for diablo 3

killlo
killlo

maybe wow subscriptions are dropping because wow players don't want to play with pandas running around the "world of warcraft"

SuperDutchy
SuperDutchy

In other news, Bill Gates daily income "slips" to under $1 billion dollars...

Spacemancer
Spacemancer

thats still 1.6 billion dollars a year

Unholy123
Unholy123

To most companies having an aging MMO lose sub's is normal and not a big deal but with Acti/Blizz its HUGE as they built their entire companies image on the profits of this one game "Look were a multibillion dollar successful company we can't fail... until this one game runs out then our bottom lines looks like crap"

 

At the end of the day we will see Acti/Blizz do whatever they can to stop the drop because wow is tied so close to their bottom line they have attached themselves to an anchor thats sinking and can do nothing but try and make it buoyant again.

DLazarek
DLazarek

MoP loooks really lame, so I do not plan on returning to Azeroth for this expansion.  I am actually surprised they still have over 9 million paying subscribers.   I am guessing the majority of players are in Asia, at least from the anecdotal evidence of none of my friends play it any more.

Khasym
Khasym

I know there's a lot of hate for Blizzard right now, but people, ask yourselves this one question. What are they doing WRONG, to ONLY have 9.1 million subscriptions? Yes, I count myself among those no longer playing WoW. But that doesn't mean I turned against it completely. I just moved on to different games. I don't know a game company in existence, that wouldn't like to be doing something so right, as to have 9.1 million of....ANYTHING per month. Subscriptions, titles sold in a year, DOLLARS a month.

alenth
alenth

This happens because they don't know how to realease their content, just take now Dragon Soul as an example, you hit lvl 85 and you can go directly to the last raid available on the game, you can cheat the ilvl by going in the AH and buy the crafted gear, you can even kill deathwing on the first 2 days in LFR, as an idea LFR is good but is poorly implemented because it spoils the game, you go to the normal and HC modes and the instance feels less epic and fun, makes other raiding tiers obsolete and makes you bored to play a braindead version of the actual raid, because is mandatory if you want ot progress in normal and HC modes, the worst part is how the gear on LFR is even better than Firelands, The " everyone must see the content" argument by blizzard is total bullshit because people just go there to get epics and they don't care about learning the game, blizz simply don't know how to realease content now, and they blame Diablo 3 because of the Sub loss? please........

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

This company has it all, but fails to let go of old exclusives such as COD,wow,diablo,sc2. I think if they focused full force on newer titles/characters and through out the older ones they would hit skyrocket again. Although a world of diablo, using our exsisting lvl 60 characters in wow 3D like graphics and a lvl cap of 150 would be awesome =)

Dragdar
Dragdar

Even the 9 million number is hugely inflated, someone said cosidering in Asia they pay hourly and if you played even an hour a month that's considered a sub.

 

and most of the 9m are in Asia

.

that's likely the reason they came up wit hthe whole Pandaren thing.

.

The lousiest thing is how Wow justified 15$ subs to other publishers, when that's not the way of the future nor is excused by those small upkeep costs

Evenglare
Evenglare

oh no... only 9 million what ever will they do .

servb0ts
servb0ts

This is FFXIV karma lol :P

King-gamer
King-gamer

Not surprising why Vivendi wants to sell Activision Blizz. Better get rid of them before they become unprofitable.

 

Still, I wonder how well MoP will do....

 

"Sorry, Male red pandarens won't have a tail." -Blizzard

 

Okay, MoP will fail.

snaggleoooo
snaggleoooo

It's amazing to think that even if WoW keeps dropping 1 million subs every 6 months (which is doubtful), they've still got almost 5 years left before it actually dies.

blackace
blackace

I'm not surprised by the drop in WoW especially since Diablo 3 got released. Still, I don't think there is any other MMO out there right now with 9 million subscribers. That's 9000000 x $15 every month. $135 million a month times 12. lol!! Activision and Blizzard are not hurting for fund, that's for sure.

Khasym
Khasym

 @Devil_wings00  I don't know about that DW. On the one hand, there's nothing really stopping them from continuing to print money with WoW. On the other however, Blizzard's probably been shaken a bit by the reaction to their latest release, Diablo 3. While it too is profitable, it's not the "OMG, Blizzard still has the magic!!!!" they thought it would be. They may know now, that they've got to get back in front of gaming and commit to a new IP to keep interest in Blizz as a company. It largely depends on how much talent remains at Blizzard itself, and if the company heads are able to bring in new talent. Right now, former Blizz employees, are running Red 5 studios, the makers of Firefall, and ArenaNet, the makers of GW 2. If Blizard has lost the majority of it's talent that made WoW a success, they may have no choice but to move on to a new IP.

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

 @AshTrai  @Unholy123  Yup when I still played (quit for good shortly after cata launched) the 6 months before a new expansion were just a dead zone where no one did crap all. I think I unsubbed for 3-4 months before every single expansion. I left and came back a grand total of 6 times between 2005 and 2011 when I officially had enough of Blizzards silly nerfing of everything so even a blind monkey could play with there eyes shut.

michaelrjohnson
michaelrjohnson

 @cheese00701 You do realize that you payed more for the 12 month Diablo subscription, than if you had payed for Diablo III separately and payed the reduced subscription rate don't you?

SuperDutchy
SuperDutchy

 @Unholy123 Activision Blizzard is a huge company owned in majority by an even larger corporation by the name of Vivendi ( maybe you've heard of them?)  The company isn't going to crash when wow collapses.  In fact, if you do your research you will see exactly how big they are and exactly how few f^cks they give if WoW stops being around.  Guitar Hero is gone, all that's left to make the company profitable to Vivendi is Blizzards marquee franchises and the CoD franchises.  They are going to sell Activision Blizzard, I wouldn't be surprised if it gets broken up and sold seperately.  

 

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

 @Khasym ya I quit WoW to but they are taking sub numbers right at the tail end of an expansion. Wouldn't surprise me if this didn't happen every single time. WoW will slowly fade away but a lot has to do with it being 8 years old and not getting any younger. It still has 9.1 subs after 8 years, that's pretty damned impressive. I donn't like where the game has gone but damned if I didn't LOVE it back in BC. Some of my fondest gaming memories are raiding with a couple RL friends and are guild. Are weekly kara runs were a laugh riot. Sigh make me sad I had to grow up and get a job and all that crap lol

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

 @Cozm1kaos Well each CoD sells more then the last, WoW still has 9 million players after 8 years (4-5 times more then any other MMO), diablo 3 broke records for PC sales and Star Craft 2 is THE biggest RTS in the world. I think they will be alright ;p

WillyChong
WillyChong

 @Dragdar China now has more WoW players since the subscription fee per month is 30yen, RM15 and US4.50 by count, using a prepaid card rather than monthly payment, you insert the code online, you get to play for that month, and if you don't want, you can not activate the code at all, this is what happened when monthly subscription is shit outside US, not everyone can and want to pay monthly, knowing that it forces you to play it every month in order to fell worth it, lots of rich kids in US.........

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

 @King-gamer Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, Cod and WoW. Between those 4 games each the most popular releases in there respective genres and 2 of them being BILLION dollar yearly earning franchises, I think Vivendi will isn't quite willing to ditch them yet ;p

PlayBoi_92
PlayBoi_92

@snaggleoooo you dont know shit. they got like 2 more years

NotCeo
NotCeo

 @blackace Blizzard is not getting anywhere near $15 a month from every user. There are 3 things you need to consider:

1) A huge portion of their "subs" are from China, where the fee structure is completely different (unless something changed in the past few years). It's not $15 a month there, last I checked it was an hourly rate, and if a user played once in the past month he was counted as a sub.

2) Multi-month discounts.

3)Prepaid cards. Retailers get a cut.

Khasym
Khasym

 @blackace Oh it gets better Blackace. :-) It probably cost Blizzard about $20 to make every single packaged box of WoW.....back when it came out in 2004, Before digital downloads, and pre-installed versions on desktops and gaming laptops. Now, for every $20 sale they make on the original game, and what, $40 for the new expansion, it probably costs them $3-$7 per boxed package. and that assumes everyone BUYS boxed!! :-) Quite literally, the higher ups at Blizzard are taking nightly baths in $20 bills. :-)

Unholy123
Unholy123

 @SuperDutchy

Sigh.. how about you research the comment your replying to abit more thorough before telling me to, I never said Vivendi would (I infact never said "Vivendi" once at all) crash when WoW would I said and read more thorough next time Acti/blizz's bottom line would drop meaning yes the company is there but it goes from this huge money making machine of profit everyones envious of and the parent company is glad to have it to just another pub trying to get by and hoping for big sales so it can post good quarter reports.

 

Hence why that parent company your talking about is trying to sell it to the first person who wants it which oh yeah atm is no one because no one belives it will be worth that in years to come. It has no where to go from the high it rode on those profits but down they don't have anything else to take it's place for awhile.

 

They sat cozy because of the money WoW subs bring in if those go away your left with a huge operating cost for their other series.Hence why I said they will do anything to keep it from dropping.

Zerabp
Zerabp

 @PlayBoi_92 Learn to read he said if they lose 1 million per  6 months they have almost five years left that is a mathematical fact. If they lose any more or less than 1 million per six month period then obviously it would last not as long/longer dependent on the scenario. For your scenario to play out however(2y=24m/6m= 4*6m y=years m=months) they would have to loose 2,275,000 subs per six month period (9.1mil/4= 2.275 mil). While anything is possible both scenarios (which the original comment was just using an insanely high number to illustrate just how big WoW is) are unlikely at this point, which again wasn't even the point of the original commentators post. It should be noted i left back before Cataclysm and have no love for WoW or Blizzard for that matter. I do however acknowledge reality and the reality is 9.1 mil people still paying a sub fee is an insanely high number even of it's down 2 mil from it's apex during Lich King (roughly 1 million lost per year). 

 

Again you may be entirely right about how long WoW will last but you are wrong no matter what about the original comment as it gave a specific scenario, which leads to a specific outcome that the commentator wasn't even saying is what he/she thinks will be what happens..

adam1808
adam1808

 @PlayBoi_92 The WoW playerbase is going to pay for its own existence for a good 5 years minimum. Titan supposedly isn't going to cannabalise that audience according to Blizzard. As long as those subscriptions cover the cost of server upkeep WoW will keep on going just like Everquest has.

WillyChong
WillyChong

 @NotCeo Prepaid card, it may not be profitable as monthy subscription, but it will keep this game for a long while, monthly fee outside US is a marketing strategy ready to get itself burned, and Blizzard know that very well. WoW game is China has events that allowed you to skipped multiple grindings and make you level up in a short amount of time, as long as you paid an extra funds and use the code for the VIP content, a strategy most asian based MMORPG succeded in. And no, Cyber cafe only lets you to use the PC, for the game you have to pay in other format.

nathangray
nathangray

 @NotCeo It's more than a huge portion actually, it's more like "most" of their subs. I believe last numbers put subs in the US for WoW at around 2.6mill? And that was a while ago. Mind you, that's still a respectable number, but the payment model in the East where most of their subs are is very different and generally goes on hourly rates in internet cafes and such. That means some days, they may be making a lot more than what $15 a month gets them here, and other days they may make much, much less.

SuperDutchy
SuperDutchy

 @roganth a leg is part of a whole, I was making a point that a leg is part of a person, not a separate entity.  The legs does what a person wants it to...sigh...

roganth
roganth

 @SuperDutchy

 I see your logic:  I own a cat, therefore I am a cat.

I have a leg therefore I am a leg.

Unholy123
Unholy123

 @SuperDutchy

Wow it's not saying it is don't make it so they are corp's they are NOT a human body that doesn't work.

 

  They are two different corps, one owns the other yes and has influence in the sense Vivendi says make profit and Acti/Blizz does what it thinks will be best and if Vivendi doesn't like that course of action it has the majority stock vote so they get final say.

 

I never said Vivendi in my OP and that's that, you can assume I meant that but that's clearly not what was there and if you think that when I wrote A/B automatically means Vivendi then that's your problem :P

Unholy123
Unholy123

 @SuperDutchy

Sigh... no they are not you only want them to be because your arguement with me hinges on the idea that acti/blizz is vivendi when clearly I stated Acti/Blizz and you somehow thought I was talking about vivendi in my first post though clearly I wasnt so, so sorry but your wrong.

 

 They are two different companies acti/blizz is OWNED by Vivendi but they are not the same company vivendi is a telecom giant that OWNS blizz/acti not the same so you can say it is but that does not change the fact it's not and you were wrong in your reply to me because you assumed :P

SuperDutchy
SuperDutchy

 @Unholy123 Activision/Blizzard IS Vivendi. Vivendi doesn't give a shit about WoW and will be fine regardless of what happens to it.

 

Unholy123
Unholy123

 @SuperDutchy

Of course I know what I meant though clearly you don't so here you go : Acti/Blizz atm looks really good on paper because of WoW's sub money but the WoW bubble popped no one expects the expansions to rebuild the sub base it has no where to go but down and drag the companies profit reports down which in turn makes the company seem less appealing as something to buy hence the anchor reference and it going down... not sure HOW I could make that clearer.

 

Also don't say I said things I said Acti/Blizz NOT vivendi I never said so and trying to make it sound like I did by saying I did doesn't work or do you not realize what I said is there in complete unedited for and it says Acti.Blizz and never once reference's or imply that Vivendi's was what I was talking about. I clearly state it's Acti/Blizz the company i'm talking about not the telecom giant Vivendi so don't say they are the same thing they aint at all.

SuperDutchy
SuperDutchy

 @Unholy123" they built their entire companies image on the profits of this one game" "wow is tied so close to their bottom line they have attached themselves to an anchor thats sinking" << Things you said, do you know what they mean...Also, you did say Vivendi because Activision/Blizzard IS Vivendi.  Vivendi decides the business model.  From what I read it sounds an aweful lot like you're implying that WoW will drag them down and that they're afraid of that happening, which Vivendi does not.  They will shed A/B and move on.

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

 @nathangray  @NotCeo 2.6 million is more then respectable lol That puts it at more subs and active players in the US alone then it's closest competitor GW2 which has sold 2 million copies. WoW is a behemoth. I was playing TOR's free trial for kicks the other day and the server page was pathetic. Less then a dozen servers in the US and none of them "heavily" populated. I remember when I played WoW you could scroll for 5-6 pages to pick from servers in the U.S. WoW may be slowly dying but I think it has more to do with the fact that it's been out for 8 years now. Nothing stays around for ever but 9 mil is still more then 4 times it's closest competitors. Wow could bleed Subs for years and never have to worry about not turning a profit.