First off, I would like to say to all of those people claiming "LOL 600k thats like 5% pff thats nothing" that you obviously have no concept of business or math. Please stop posting your "opinions" on any topics related to that.
For everyone else who actually wants to understand how that works, please see below.
I will start my estimations based on first quarter of 2010 announcement. This follows the recovery track after China rejoined, and the announcement of CATA release the following December.
In January of 2010, there were 11.5mil subscribers. In October, there were 12mil. An increase of .5mil over 3/4ths of a year (roughly). Which is .667mil/year. This was a pretty steady growth as can be found on mmodata.net.
In early May, Blizz announced the loss, meaning they are at 11.4mil subscribers. But this is only half the story.
I give you this argument. The trolls who state that 5% decrease is nothing, WOULD BE RIGHT, if NO ONE JOINED WOW between October 2010 and May 2011. So Imagine that over a period of (for simplicity) 6 months, no one person opened an account. None of us believe that. So, here is what happened.
We take the estimated growth from between Jan - Oct of 2011, average it out (.667mil/year or .333 mil/ 6 months).
Next we add that to the 12mil announced in Oct. - 12.333mil. Why? Because this would be the total of subscritions we would estimate based on steady growth observed over 3/4ths of the year before 12mil to carry on until the announcement made in May.
So, assuming that people joined wow at a steady rate and left at a steady rate (new accounts > cancelled accounts) Blizzard should have announced that in May they had 12.333mil subscibers.
But, they said their new total was 11.4mil and they claimed they lost 600k subscriptions. THAT IS A LIE. BLATANT LIE. Those who do not know any better, would take them at their word.
Everyone else would be like: So Blizzard, you mean to tell me that you stopped taking new subscriptions? o'rly? You closed wow to new people? LIAR YOU HAVE RECRUIT A FRIEND.
Now that we all know that was a lie and people kept joining and given all same conditions blizzard should have 12.333mil, but they have 11.4 mil. SOOOOO the actual loss over the period of OCT - MAY is roughly (guestimated, on the low end, as in, it could be higher than this).
933k Subs LOST
Not such small potatos anymore? Is it? As less and less people joined, more and more people left creating a deficit.
I hope more people understand this now.