World of Warcraft subs fall 100k in three months

Blizzard's MMO now has 7.6 million subscribers across the world; "significant and exciting new content" coming to the game.

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World of Warcraft now has 7.6 million subscribers, Activision Blizzard announced today, down only 100,000 from the 7.7 million figure reported in July. This subscriber drop is far less precipitous than the quarter before, when player figures fell from 8.3 million to 7.7 million.

Blizzard Entertainment's MMO retains its status as the top subscription-based game in the industry, Activision said. It is also one of the only major subscription-based MMOs on the market, with many competitors opting for a free-to-play business model instead.

During a post-earnings financial call, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said "significant and exciting new content" is coming to World of Warcraft. No further details were announced. Blizzard Entertainment recently trademarked "Warlords of Draenor."

The World of Warcraft subscriber figure came as part of Activision Blizzard's latest earnings report for the quarter ended September 30. Net revenue for the period was $657 million, compared to $751 million last year. Overall, Activision Blizzard posted a profit of $56 million for the quarter, compared to a profit of $226 million last year.

Net revenue from digital channels during the quarter were $399 million and made up 61 percent of the quarter's total net revenues, Activision Blizzard said. Call of Duty: Ghosts, released yesterday, generated $1 billion in shipments on its first day, though this is not factored into Activision's earnings report today.

"Our third-quarter results exceeded our expectations, and we are able to raise our outlook for 2013 net revenues and earnings per share," Kotick said. "Robust continued engagement with our core franchises drove digital revenue, which constituted a majority of all revenue. This quarter demonstrates that games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft engage and entertain our fans year round."

During the quarter, Activision Blizzard became an independent company for the first time in five years through a share buyback from Vivendi officially approved in October.

Activision Blizzard will hold an earnings call to discuss results and answer questions beginning today at 4:30 EDT. Check back later for more.

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