World of Warcraft subscriptions continue to decline; majority in the east

During Activision Blizzard's investor relations call earlier today, Blizzard boss Michael Morhaime revealed that subscriptions for the hugely successful MMO have dropped to 10.3 million active subscribers for the end of the company's fiscal third quarter. Approximately 800,000 users have walked away from the WoW universe during the period, based on Activision Blizzard's fiscal second quarter investor relations call, where Morhaime noted subscriptions for the game had dipped to 11.1 million.

Though Blizzard doesn't divulge forecasts on "subscribership levels," Morhaime noted that "the majority of the declines were in the east." Morhaime added that China still represents "more than half" of World of Warcraft's global player base.


Speaking with the investors, Morhaime attempted to reassure them on dropping numbers for Blizzard's MMO. "Historically, December has been a very good month for subscriber trends." A number of "initiatives" and "agressive" marketing promotions are planned to help entice gamers into the realms of World of Warcraft, but Activision Blizzard would not detail them during the call.

"The announcements at BlizzCon were incredibly well-received," Morhaime said, speaking specifically to the Mists of Pandaria expansion and other changes to World fo Warcraft. The content in the next WoW patch is currently in test, he revealed, and the company is "very excited" about that content.

The apex for World of Warcraft's subscription base hit in October 2010, when Blizzard announced the title had achieved "12 million subscribers." Since then, the MMO has slowly lost active users. Blizzard has said it plans to speed up expansion development to reduce lost subscriptions and has since revealed a new promotion that gives users a free copy of Diablo 3 if they commit to a one year subscription to its MMO.

Regardless of falling numbers, World of Warcraft is still the king of the MMO castle that so many publishers have attempted--or are attempting--to storm.