World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft lost more than a million subscribers last quarter, is still bigger than everything ever

Ian Birnbaum at

MMORPG behemothWorld of Warcraft lost 1.3 million subscribers over the first quarter of 2013, as revealed by Activision Blizzard in an earnings report and call to investors today.

Though it once boasted over 12 million active subscribers in 2010, WoW has seen its numbers dwindle slowly but steadily—aside from a bump in the fall of 2012 when Mists of Pandaria was released and sold 2.7 million copies in its first week alone.

Current subscribers are now measured at 8.3 million players, which is still more than enough to make WoW the most popular MMORPG in the world, a distinction for which it actually holds a Guinness World Record.

Will WoW ever regain its former glory? As quoted byPolygon CEO Bobby Kotick had plenty of nice things to say about WoW that nevertheless sounded a lot like praise for a champion about to retire.

“While we do believe further declines are likely, and we expect to have fewer subscribers a year than we do today, World of Warcraft remains one of the most successful franchises in the history of entertainment,” Kotick said.

Activision reported better than expected revenue this quarter thanks to strong sales from Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. Falling subscriber numbers from their MMO cash cow, though, had Kotick downplaying expectations about revenue for the rest 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,” he said.

Read the full press release for Activision Blizzard’s first quarter of 2013here (PDF).