World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment's massively multiplayer online role playing game, has become a household name over the last six years. Last October WoW may have hit its peak at over 12 million worldwide subscribers. This is following the successful launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the game's third expansion pack that sold 3.3 million copies worldwide in its first 24 hours. Today during Activision Blizzard's latest financial call, they confirmed that impressive amount of players has gone down to 11.4 million subscribers. A miniscule number, really. Could it be that the MMO behemoth is finally losing steam?
The answer, according to Blizzard Co-Found Mike Morhaime, is not really. Morhaime has said in the past that WoW's subscriber base generally hovers around the 11.5 subscriber mark, so 11.4 million seems to be right on track. Morhaime also mentioned that as of March subscribership returned to pre-Cataclysm levels and that Blizzard plans to continue delivering new content faster than ever before, something that's somewhat of a step away from how the "slow and steady wins the race" developer usually creates content.
Morhaime also acknowledged new competitor MMOs stealing World of Warcraft's subscribers, the main one right now being RIFT and probably Star Wars: The Old Republic in the future. He said even though new games and competitors are surfacing, Blizzard is used to their players leaving for a time period to try the new games out and then coming back to World of Warcraft, "So far, there is nothing to indicate that this is any different," he said.
Morhaime also noted that World of Warcraft: Cataclysm isn't even out yet in China, a region where millions of players currently reside, so when the expansion hits over there it might bring even more gamers back to Azeroth.
In any event, yes WoW might have hit the peak amount of players that are interested in a MMORPG, but that doesn't mean it's losing steam or interest with its core players, all 11 million of them. What do you think? Have you moved on from World of Warcraft, or do you plan on moving on when new MMOs come out like The Old Republic or Guild Wars 2?
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