World Of Warcraft ended Activision Blizzard's fiscal quarter with 9.1 million subscribers, a drop of over a million in three months: at the end of March, 10.2 million people were paying players of the Blizzard MMOG.
Speaking on an investor call last night, reported by VG247, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime sought to play down the drop in subs, saying it was not unusual for player numbers to fall ahead of the release of a new expansion. Mists Of Pandaria, the fourth WOW expansion, is currently in beta and will be released next month.
Morhaime also admitted that WOW subs had been hit by players taking a break in order to play another Blizzard game. Diablo III's ten million sales meant that this was Blizzard's best quarter ever, papering over the cracks of WOW's continued decline.
In a week in which EA announced a free-to-play option for its Star Wars MMOG The Old Republic - making WOW the last high-profile MMOG left clinging to the monthly subscription model - it's amusing to hear Activision describe its game as the world's "number one subscription based MMOG". It's like pointing at the last apatosaurus and calling it the biggest animal on the planet.