Activision-Blizzard got out in front of the press today to talk about quarterly results.
In an unsurprising turn of events, World of Warcraft subscriptions dropped from 7.6 million in Q1 to 6.8 million in Q2 of 2014 as the long wait for Warlords of Draenor continued. The last patch, Siege of Orgrimmar, is going to be celebrating its anniversary soon.
The availability of the WoD pre-purchase and the immediately available insta-90 boost for a single character did not hold the line on subscription front as much as I thought it would. My working theory was, “Who pre-purchases and expansion then unsubscribes from a game?”
Or maybe the pre-purchase and insta-boost did help. The company said that most of their subscription losses were in Asia. Specifically:
As of June 30, 2014, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG, with approximately 6.8 million subscribers. There was a decline in subscribers quarter over quarter, which was disproportionately concentrated in the East and was similar to the seasonal decline experienced during the second quarter of 2012, prior to the launch of the most recent expansion later that year.
But then they always seem to point to Asia when there are losses, to the point that I wonder if there are any customers left there. But there was no pre-purchase over there. And Activision-Blizzard did bring in $658 million for the quarter, up $50 million from the same period last year, with a record 73% of those dollars coming in via digital sources. That is a lot of people buying the Diablo III expansion, digital versions of the latest Call of Duty, and the Warlords of Draenor pre-purchase, which topped the 1.5 million mark. That is about $75 million in the bank for Blizzard and so far they can only give us a date for when they will tell us the date the expansion will likely release.
Now the question will be how will the subscriber base fare with Warlords of Draenor still clearly in the fourth quarter of this year. It has been a long summer and while the beta will no doubt spark some interest, it will likely take something more to hold the line, much less boost numbers.