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During the Activision Blizzard conference call on Monday, one of the more interesting announcements made came from Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime who pointed out that World of Warcraft’s subscriber numbers had fallen back to pre-Cataclysm figures of 11.4 million, down from it’s peak of 12 million announced shortly after Cataclysm’s release.
Morhaime went on to explain the decline, attributing it to how quickly players are completing content and that Cataclysm’s content has been completed faster than any previous expansion before it. The 600,000 subscriber dip was as of March, a good four months after the expansions release and without any new content during that time.
However, the point that makes this announcement even more interesting is that the company’s overall profit has increased, meaning that the company is making more money with a smaller subscriber base. While losing a substantial amount of customers due to content stagnation (or the launch of RIFT, which occurred in March, around the time these numbers were taken) is never good, the fact is is that it costs Blizzard less to manage the accounts and activities of those individuals, so making more money with over half a million fewer customers is a move in a positive direction.
In addition to it all, 11.4 million customers still puts WoW eons ahead of any other MMO on the market, so a dent like that will likely have little effect, as the company hasn’t lost any money due to it. Now, when players return, it only increases the company’s bottom line further.
So if you panicked when you heard WoW lost 600,000 customers, don’t. They’re even better off than they were before.