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‘World of Warcraft’ loses 1.3 million subscribers in three months

World of Warcraft
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Activision-Blizzard’s Q1 2013 earnings report reveals that World of Warcraft lost 1.3 million subscribers in the first three months of 2013. The massively multiplayer role-playing game’s subscriber count is down to 8.3 million, though the company notes that WoW is still the most-played subscription MMO in the world. Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in an announcement that the declines came mostly from Asian markets, but that players dropped in the West as well.

“Looking forward, our objective is to deliver new game content at a quicker pace to improve engagement,” Blizzard CEO and president Mike Morhaime said. “Our next content update will release later this month and we will continue to invest in additional updates and improvements to continue to evolve the game.

“More specifically, we’re examining ways we can ease the transition back into the game for returning players. We’ve always seen players come and go from World of Warcraft. Smoothing out that transitional period is something we’re studying, as we adjust our approach to player behavior and preferences.”

The company also reported that Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm was top-selling PC game of the quarter.

Overall earnings in Q1 2013 rose year-on-year from the same period in 2012, up to $1.32 billion from $1.17 billion. Multiple factors, including “the disappointing launch of the Wii U” and the decline in WoW players, “raise concerns” for the rest of the year, Kotick said in the announcement. Nonetheless, between Skylanders, Call of Duty, and the firm’s other successful properties, Activision-Blizzard predicts a profitable year.

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