World of Warcraft Subscriptions Down 1.7 million Since October, Fall to 10.3 million
Activision Blizzard's CEO Mike Morhaime revealed in an earnings call last night that Q3 2011 saw a decrease in 1.7 million World of Warcraft subscribers since October 2010. The decrease brings the current subscriptions to the once dominating MMORPG to a total of 10.3 million. World of Warcraft has seen a steady decrease in subscribers since October 2010, where it reported a high point of 12 million subscribers.
Morhaime did say, "While the majority of these declines are coming from the East, World of Warcraft continues to be one of the most popular online games in China and remains by far the most popular subscription-based MMO in the world."
Looking beyond the next free update, Activision Blizzard announced at Blizzcon a Mists of Pandaria expansion introducing the Pandarian race to World of Warcraft. The planned expansion will introduce new dungeons and raids, new environments and areas insprired by Asian culture, a new Monk class, and a new Pandaren race who remind us a lot of Kung Fu Panda.
With the arrival of Star Wars: The Old Republic in December, it's hard to predict that the aging World of Warcraft will regain those lost subscribers, even with the new expansion. While it might continue to grow in Asian, I think the Western MMORPG market is ready for something else.