FEBRUARY 9, 2012 • Activision Blizzard reported that World of Warcraft subscribers declined 100,000 during the quarter ending Dec. 31. The loss was less than the 700,000 experienced during the previous quarter. The losses left the MMO with 10.2 million subscribers worldwide moving into 2012. Blizzard Ent. announced on Feb. 29 that it was cutting 600 jobs worldwide.
Impact: DFC Intelligence has been tracking the decline of World of Warcraft usage that started in late summer 2011. A decline in usage will often mean that consumers will not renew their subscription when it comes due. Blizzard ran several promotions to try and drive renewals over the holiday season. But in the absence of a major expansion pack it appears likely that more users are choosing not to renew. In 2010, World of Warcraft had the Cataclysm expansion to drive renewals. The interesting question is whether these users are just taking a break while waiting for the Mists of Pandaria expansion or instead have moved on to other products like Star Wars: The Old Republic. Another factor is there are many more major F2P MMOs available to sap WoW subscribers. This is something DFC Intelligence will be closely tracking in the coming months as it will have a huge impact on the overall industry.