MMO-Champion - WoW stabilizes over 10M subscribers, down 100k in Q4 2011
Diablo 3 - Activision Blizzard Q4 Conference Call - Diablo III Planned for Q2 2012

WoW stabilizes over 10M subscribers, down 100k in Q4 2011
Activision Blizzard latest earning call revealed that World of Warcraft lost 100,000 subscribers last quarter, following the loss of 800k subscribers announced last quarter and 300k loss from the quarter before that. The game lost 1.8M Subscribers over the year but the number seems to stabilize over 10M and it wouldn't be surprising to see it go back up with the release of Mists of Pandaria this year.

World of Warcraft now has 10.2M active subscribers.


  • World of Warcraft lost 100,000 subscribers, down to 10.2 million. This was a total lost of 1.8 million for the year.
  • Diablo III should launch in Q2
  • More than one million Annual Passes have been sold in the West.
  • Blizzard is happy with how the subscription numbers held up during the most competitive quarter ever.
  • When asked about churn since the competitor's launch, "December was a good month for us."
  • There are ~50 million active Battle.net, Call of Duty multiplayer, Call of Duty Elite, and Skylanders WebWorld users.

This article was originally published in forum thread: WoW stabilizes over 10M subscribers, down 100k in Q4 2011 started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 583 Comments
  1. A Challenger!'s Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sephiracle View Post
    Have you talked to 'most' people? They might have known they would've subscribed anyways, but did they know there wouldn't be any new content past DS? Did they truly know 4.3 was the last of the expansion? I have a feeling they didn't considering that information was brought out less than a month ago.

    Even if you don't think it makes any sense it's a very wise business move. Blizzard already knew the following things when they announced the annual pass:
    1. 4.3 was the last major content patch for WoW
    2. SWTOR, GW2, and Tera will likely be released during the gap between 4.3 and MoP's release
    3. Subscriptions are already going downhill, they need something additional to entice people to stick around, which:
    a. The annual pass allows them to still 'count' in their subscription, even though they may not play again during the year pass, especially if the MoP beta doesn't even occur during the period.
    b. Provide incentives to stay, i.e. D3 and a MoP beta slot(which I believe most people have different impressions of what access this means).

    If you think everyone or even a good chunk of the people that are looking negatively on this annual pass business are blizzard haters, maybe you need to take a step back from your fanboyism.
    I do not hate Activision-Blizzard, but it is still a very crude business move. Like any good company, they want money. Activision-Blizzard is very, very good at making money, much more so than any other MMO company before them. That is the most impressive thing as a company they have done; it is not their "titan" of an MMO that changes nothing at all from within a stale genre, but their monopoly of the MMO genre, and their impeccable business sense.
  1. Cows For Life's Avatar
    It's just a shell game if people really did buy an annual pass to get Diablo III "free" assuming these people would have bought D3 anyway.
  1. Gilian's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by BrerBear View Post
    Apparently WoW is an "epic failure" if it does not continue to grow its subscription count forever.
    At least that puts it in good company... with every other game.
    Let's forget the fact that when they started to make this game super casual/streamlined people quit playing. Yes, that's epic failing. Going into a direction the company thinks is the best thing to do and then lose 2 million subs is an epic failure.
    (Please don't say that they would have lost more subscriptions if they didn't change things because that is just bullshit. You can't know that. The only fact is that when they made this game extremely casual and streamlined players started to leave more than ever before. And before that subscriptions only went up.)

    ---------- Post added 2012-02-13 at 09:28 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Into View Post
    And this is the final nail in the coffin for the hardcores who wanted Burning Crusade 2.0. Granted the Xmas season helped but LFR has been a massive success despite how controversial it has been amongst the raiders. Making heroics take 15 min again with fast queues for casuals and adding a super easy raiding mode has softened the blow for Blizzard. We can argue all day what WoW should be, but these numbers and this last year show that WotLK is really where this game should have gone toward to show growth, not go back to a ancient Everquest type model. All that bruhaha talk, all that "lets make epics matter again", all that elitism during Cataclysm beta has been showned to appeal to a minor audience Its 2012, the days of telling people to "raid or die" is over, LFR was just what this game needed whether we like it or not, numbers do not lie.
    LFR is just a patch for a short time. Just wait for MoP when people have done several tiers by doing LFR, it's going to get boring really fast. Or are you really going to spam your 10 alts through LFR just to gear them? How is that fun, doing the same crap over and over again? Standing in queue in Orgrimmar every week for the same boring dungeon or raid.
    If you make content this easy you better be ready to pump out three times as much content. Instead they give us less and they make you grind raids for months.

    Next quarter subs will be down 500k.
  1. nekobaka's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Into View Post
    And this is the final nail in the coffin for the hardcores who wanted Burning Crusade 2.0.
    I see it brought up that Cata was supposed to be BC 2.0 or going back to BC and I really dont see it as such. To me Cata is WotLK with less and lame content, with too many nobs turned in Blizzards attempt to cater to everyone.
  1. qqss's Avatar
  1. Callax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sephiracle View Post
    Have you talked to 'most' people? They might have known they would've subscribed anyways, but did they know there wouldn't be any new content past DS? Did they truly know 4.3 was the last of the expansion? I have a feeling they didn't considering that information was brought out less than a month ago.

    Even if you don't think it makes any sense it's a very wise business move. Blizzard already knew the following things when they announced the annual pass:
    1. 4.3 was the last major content patch for WoW
    2. SWTOR, GW2, and Tera will likely be released during the gap between 4.3 and MoP's release
    3. Subscriptions are already going downhill, they need something additional to entice people to stick around, which:
    a. The annual pass allows them to still 'count' in their subscription, even though they may not play again during the year pass, especially if the MoP beta doesn't even occur during the period.
    b. Provide incentives to stay, i.e. D3 and a MoP beta slot(which I believe most people have different impressions of what access this means).

    If you think everyone or even a good chunk of the people that are looking negatively on this annual pass business are blizzard haters, maybe you need to take a step back from your fanboyism.
    I can't remember where, but I'm almost certain that it was said that 4.3 would be the last major patch of Cataclysm was definitely not said less then a moth ago (4.3.2 is supposed to be the last patch of Cataclysm, I think you got them confused), I knew that when I got the annual pass. And if they had no idea what they were getting into when they bought the annual pass, then I the only thing I can honestly say that they should really actually READ something before signing it.

    Almost everyone I know who got the pass is enjoying WoW, except for this one idiot player who didn't read the stuff before subscribing to it, but maybe that will teach him to actually READ something before making a year long commitment.

    And I will say the majority who complain about the pass are blizzard haters, but there are some who are not haters and don't like it, that is their opinion and I respect that.
  1. Sephiracle's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Callax View Post
    I can't remember where, but I'm almost certain that it was said that 4.3 would be the last major patch of Cataclysm was definitely not said less then a moth ago (4.3.2 is supposed to be the last patch of Cataclysm, I think you got them confused), I knew that when I got the annual pass. And if they had no idea what they were getting into when they bought the annual pass, then I the only thing I can honestly say that they should really actually READ something before signing it.

    Almost everyone I know who got the pass is enjoying WoW, except for this one idiot player who didn't read the stuff before subscribing to it, but maybe that will teach him to actually READ something before making a year long commitment.

    And I will say the majority who complain about the pass are blizzard haters, but there are some who are not haters and don't like it, that is their opinion and I respect that.
    I did note that 4.3 was the last major content patch for cataclysm. That information was confirmed in early January by Dave Kosak. The annual pass/D3/beta thing was september or october? I think it's good people are enjoying their annual pass. I just hope they realize when that year is up they didn't really do anything during that time period that they couldn't do with just a few months of a subscription and unsubbing until MoP.
  1. Callax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sephiracle View Post
    I did note that 4.3 was the last major content patch for cataclysm. That information was confirmed in early January by Dave Kosak. The annual pass/D3/beta thing was september or october? I think it's good people are enjoying their annual pass. I just hope they realize when that year is up they didn't really do anything during that time period that they couldn't do with just a few months of a subscription and unsubbing until MoP.
    It was stated much before this that Deathwing would be the final boss of this expansion and I believe that 4.3 would be the last major patch. I'd dig through MMOchampion and find it just I'm lazy.

    And they better not give us a year of DS, no freaking way I'm doing another ICC and run this for a year. It's a good raid, but no fucking way I can do this for a year.
  1. joecool013's Avatar
    lets see how blizz recovers
  1. Sephiracle's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Callax View Post
    It was stated much before this that Deathwing would be the final boss of this expansion and I believe that 4.3 would be the last major patch. I'd dig through MMOchampion and find it just I'm lazy.

    And they better not give us a year of DS, no freaking way I'm doing another ICC and run this for a year. It's a good raid, but no fucking way I can do this for a year.
    Which is unfortunately, for you, is what you're probably going to get. Unless MoP is released earlier than their typical launch times, MoP won't be out til Nov. And I'm not sure what you expected to be honest if you knew Deathwing would be the final boss of the expansion. Did you expect a summer or late spring launch of MoP?
  1. Callax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sephiracle View Post
    Which is unfortunately, for you, is what you're probably going to get. Unless MoP is released earlier than their typical launch times, MoP won't be out til Nov. And I'm not sure what you expected to be honest if you knew Deathwing would be the final boss of the expansion. Did you expect a summer or late spring launch of MoP?
    Blizzard makes stupid decisions sometimes (IE: Releasing 4.1 with two dungeons), there is no way in hell they are dumb enough to release MoP in a year. Even if they do, I'll probably just not raid for awhile and do some arenas/pvp or maybe some Diablo, I still got some friends in my guild I hang out with anyways :P

    I'm expecting a late summerish launch for MoP, it appears farther in development and there is no way they will make the mistake (like they did with ICC) of giving us a raid for a year.
  1. Sephiracle's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Callax View Post
    Blizzard makes stupid decisions sometimes (IE: Releasing 4.1 with two dungeons), there is no way in hell they are dumb enough to release MoP in a year. Even if they do, I'll probably just not raid for awhile and do some arenas/pvp or maybe some Diablo, I still got some friends in my guild I hang out with anyways :P

    I'm expecting a late summerish launch for MoP, it appears farther in development and there is no way they will make the mistake (like they did with ICC) of giving us a raid for a year.
    Maybe, but according to the roadmap from a couple years ago, they're 2 quarters behind at least from D3 and HotS, and I have a feeling that they're pushing to get those out a lot harder than MoP. Granted, different people are working on those, but those games have also been in production a lot longer than MoP and have no reason to really be delayed any further. MoP however isn't even in a F&F beta that I know of, although that might have happened recently too.

    We're really just speculating times anyways.
  1. Callax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sephiracle View Post
    Maybe, but according to the roadmap from a couple years ago, they're 2 quarters behind at least from D3 and HotS, and I have a feeling that they're pushing to get those out a lot harder than MoP. Granted, different people are working on those, but those games have also been in production a lot longer than MoP and have no reason to really be delayed any further. MoP however isn't even in a F&F beta that I know of, although that might have happened recently too.

    We're really just speculating times anyways.
    Meh, Diablo 3 is definitely getting released this year, and if they have to choose between MoP and HotS, I think they'll choose MoP (unfortunately, I've been wanting HotS forever). I'm thinking MoP will be sooner rather then late due to them not having to redesign all of Azeroth and just having to make five zones (and of course raids and dungeons, but I'm pretty sure the main thing with Cata's dev time was redesigning the entire Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor).
  1. Sephiracle's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Callax View Post
    Meh, Diablo 3 is definitely getting released this year, and if they have to choose between MoP and HotS, I think they'll choose MoP (unfortunately, I've been wanting HotS forever). I'm thinking MoP will be sooner rather then late due to them not having to redesign all of Azeroth and just having to make five zones (and of course raids and dungeons, but I'm pretty sure the main thing with Cata's dev time was redesigning the entire Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor).
    I frankly have a really hard time seeing an expansion to SC2 that's been in production since SC2's launch not making it out this year is a bit crazy. It's just a RTS, it's really not that difficult to create an expansion for. I'm skeptical about the MoP release, but again, it's also very early in the development cycle to really figure out any dates, I'm just basing my opinion on trend.
  1. Callax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sephiracle View Post
    I frankly have a really hard time seeing an expansion to SC2 that's been in production since SC2's launch not making it out this year is a bit crazy. It's just a RTS, it's really not that difficult to create an expansion for. I'm skeptical about the MoP release, but again, it's also very early in the development cycle to really figure out any dates, I'm just basing my opinion on trend.
    Yeah, we can hope for all 3 games to be released. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that if Blizzard has to choose one over the other to be released, then it'll be MoP.
  1. Osmeric's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Gilian View Post
    Let's forget the fact that when they started to make this game super casual/streamlined people quit playing.
    People quit in Cataclysm when they made the game more difficult. When easiness hit in 4.3, the sub loss suddenly moderated.

    But this doesn't stop the hardcore and hardcore wannabees for blaming "game is too easy" for the problems. Fortunately, Blizzard will ignore you now that they know better.
  1. Worer's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pellaeon View Post
    So blizzard lost 1.8 million bad players that didnt like the changes and couldnt handle them in cata? Good!
    Cata is faceroll :<
  1. DavidMcGhan's Avatar
    It's interesting to think what that actually means for the company, 1.8 million x the subsciption is a lot of money, how are they managing that, was it all previously profit that they were investing into new ideas? Will they cut down on servers? Staff?
  1. Ashgar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Worer View Post
    Cata is faceroll :<
    They haven't had a tough expansion since Burning Crusade really. The whole new system is all about casual gamers. As for the total subscribers that's still somewhat misleading. Accounts in asia for instance don't pay for monthly subscriptions. They pay for so many minutes. If they have 10minutes or so left on their card it counts as an active subscription. I wonder how many of those are being counted as their current active accounts?
  1. Lora Twinblade's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Worer View Post
    Cata is faceroll :<
    I take it you have cleared everything in DS heroic then? If not, come back when you have. I really love people using the argument that cata was too easy and that's the reason so many left, because at cata's launch the heroics were designed to match in difficulty those of the burning crusade. Guess what people thought of this new finally added challenge, they hated it! Loads of people left and cried that it was too hard, there were those of course, like me, who loved this new challenge, but far far more who didn't. Blizzard tried making the game harder and people hated it and left, don't claim it's the other way around.

    However, Blizzard has already stated that there will be a third difficulty of sorts in 5 mans in mists, normal mode, heroic mode and what I think was challenging mode. The challenging mode will be that of burning crusade heroic, and not mandatory but purely for those who still want a challenge. (Sorry got no link for this but it wasn't that long ago they said it so shouldn't be too hard to find, I'm sure they will mention it again this Monday.)

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