World of Warcraft subscriptions have nearly halved since 2010

World of Warcraft has experienced a hefty population drop since 2010, with Activision Blizzard announcing during an investors call today that the MMO currently hosts 6.8 million subscribers. That's nearly half what the MMO boasted in 2010, with 12 million active subscribers recorded during that year. Nearly a million of those have departed since July last year, if you compare the figures .

Yes it's a steep drop, but 6.8 million is still a huge number for a game nearing its tenth birthday. Recent market research conducted by Superdata shows that World of Warcraft still holds the lions share of the MMO market at 36 per cent, with its closest competitor Lineage 1 holding only 9 per cent.

If the decline continues at this rate (ie, does not accelerate) we still have five years of World of Warcraft, assuming the forthcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion doesn't significantly boost numbers. 2012 expansion Mists of Pandaria lead to a boost but it was fairly short lived.

With the subscription-based MMO widely believed to be in decline, it seems increasingly unlikely that a true usurper to World of Warcraft will ever emerge. Now seems a better time than ever to partake in one of the biggest gaming success stories of all time. On the upside, Diablo III and Hearthstone continue to be riproaring successes for Blizzard. All up, is up 40 per cent in terms of active users, year-on-year.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.