Is World of Warcraft Over?

Activision Blizzard’s latest earnings report reveals the number of World of Warcraft subscribers have fallen to 5.5 million. While that’s still a massive amount of users, it’s also 100,000 less than what they had three months ago.

World of Warcraft started 2015 with approximately 10 million users. By March 2015, that number fell to 7.1 million. Losing 2.9 million subscribers in a quarter is the biggest loss in a three-month period World of Warcraft has faced since the game launched back in late 2004. In August, Activision Blizzard made it known that they had lost another 1.5 million users.

During its call with investors today, Activision Blizzard announced it will no longer report World of Warcraft subscription numbers going forward. The company will instead focus on reporting other “meaningful metrics”. What these “meaningful metrics” are is unclear at this point in time. As of right now, it’s hard not to think of the discontinuation of reporting the number of World of Warcraft subscribers as Activision Blizzard covering up the decline of a flagship title.

The MMO continues to see the number of players actively paying to play the game fall, though this could be because there is no new content arriving ahead of the next expansion. Blizzcon is happening later this week and details on the latest World of Warcraft expansion Legion are expected, as is the debut trailer for the World of Warcraft movie. The drop off in users could easily be attributed to the dearth of new content. Or could this mean that MMO gamers are tired of the World of Warcraft after 11 years?

Blizzard’s other titles are still going strong. Diablo III sales have passed the 2 million mark in China, 7 million people have registered for the Overwatch beta, Hearthstone’s “key engagement metrics” saw a 77 per cent increase year-on-year and Destiny has added another 5 million players in three months. Add Activision Blizzard’s acquisition of Candy Crush for $5.9 billion and the publisher is still sitting pretty. But that doesn’t change the fact that World of Warcraft has spent a good chunk of 2015 haemorrhaging users.

Is the waning interest in World of Warcraft simply a by-product of expansion and new content delays? Or are we to believe that the World of Warcraft is losing its stranglehold on the MMO market? Will the 5.5 million users World of Warcraft still has stay faithful to the beloved MMO? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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