Next WoW Expansion to be Announced August 6th, Just After Subscriber Numbers Get Released…

Blizzard has announced that they will be doing a big reveal of the next expansion for World of Warcraft at Games at Gamescom on August 6th.

Mana for a slow news day...

Mana for a slow news day…

So maybe August won’t be such a slow news month after all.  That will give people plenty to talk about, analyze, and project their wishes and dreams upon.

The venue is a bit odd.  Not to dis Gamescom, but this sort of thing is usually reserved for a BlizzCon keynote speech, when all the faithful are focused on their game of choice and it can serve as a lead-in to a whole range of panels to dig deeper into the details.

But really, it isn’t the venue we should be thinking about, it is the date.  Aside from an unfortunate correlation with a 70th anniversary (who will complain that Blizzard is upstaging that on purpose?) and my parent’s wedding anniversary (go ahead and upstage that, please!), the date seems set to come in just after we get the Activision-Blizzard quarterly results for the second quarter of 2015 and, most importantly, the WoW subscription numbers that will come with it.  That hits on August 4th according to the investor relations site.

For the first quarter of 2015 the subscription numbers were down to 7.1 million.  Now there is a rush to get the next expansion announced early in August, a slow news month, well before BlizzCon, and just after the quarterly report?

I love me a good conspiracy theory, and this one has all the makings of such.

Is Blizzard trying to drum up some good news and sugarplum visions of the future to offset bad news on subscriber front?  Is this Blizzard in a panic or not?

What do you think the subscription numbers will come in at?  Stable at 7 million?  6.5 million?  6 million?  5 million?  Less?  More?  Here, have a poll!

[Added after the post went live.]

I guess we know what the WoW panels at BlizzCon will be focused on at least.

17 thoughts on “Next WoW Expansion to be Announced August 6th, Just After Subscriber Numbers Get Released…

  1. Fenjay

    I’ll go on record for 6 million or thereabouts. I bet they are losing some as Warlords recedes, as usual, but not precipitously.

    I just hope, for their sake, that the release date isn’t August 2016, which is roughly in line with the previous expansions’ announcement to release period.

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  2. Atherne

    I hadn’t seen this. August is looking good indeed. I should start checking my email in case they send out Beta Invites in the near future. You never know!

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  3. Dinaer

    I’m guessing 6 million. Maybe 5.5.

    I don’t see the conspiracy though. They can’t wait until Blizzcon if they want to get through the announcement – beta – release cycle in a reasonable timeframe. Once they announced that there would be no more content patches, this announcement was somewhat inevitable.

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Dinaer – Two days after the Q2 numbers are announced Blizz will break tradition and announce the next WoW expansion at a venue other than BlizzCon. If you can’t at least see the possibility, then you just aren’t looking. A good conspiracy theory doesn’t have to be real, it just has to have enough evidence to make it feel like it could be real.

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  5. WhatMeComplain?

    I suspect that whatever they announce will have a huge tie-in with the movie release next summer, which from the footage I’ve seen so far will be another massive failure for the franchise. Too little too late. After 10+ years you’d think a few lessons would have snuck in and hung around but the current direction just feels sloppy and the level of execution half-assed. Patch 6.2 had all the content the original 6.0 expansion should have had and let’s not get into the whole flying fiasco. My druid weeps for lack of flying form.

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  6. Pingback: Next Expansion Surprise | In An Age

  7. SynCaine

    Certainly a panic move, which to me suggests sub numbers might have taken a dive. I think 6m is the safe guess, but I would not be surprised if they are down to 5m or so, or 2m ‘real’ subs and 3m Asia timer accounts.

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  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @dachengsgravatar – I read that post you linked. You certainly predicted something, but none of what you predicted had anything directly related to any of the material facts presented above. You want to see a prediction, Talarian called new expansion announcement at Gamescon early this week. That was “predicting this” not talking about lore and a tie-in with the movie.

    You only get to say, “called it!” after the announcement, if you’re right.

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  9. Random Poster

    I can definitely see the case to be made that it was a panic move, but i also can see the case for the fact that maybe they are FINALLY actually going to live up to the promise of quicker expansion cycles.

    It helps that mainstream media has Blizzard on the Radar due to the movie so it make a certain amount of sense to announce this now. I do not think the expansion will have anything to do with the movie itself, but they would both benefit from the expansion being announced sooner rather than later.

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  10. Jonathan

    I’m voting “more than 7 million.” Mainly because my wife and I just received “free 1 week” passes for lapsed subscribers — we haven’t played WoW in years, but are somewhat tempted to pop in and at least see if our names are still there. I suspect that if we do, we’ll count.

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  11. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jonathan – Blizzard has said in the past… I can’t find it right now, but I swear I remember this… that they only count current paid subscribers and not people in on promotions or free passes or lapsed pay-as-you-go accounts, as they have in China, that haven’t logged in for the last 30 days.

    I do wonder how WoW Tokens will factor into customer retention. Accounts using WoW Tokens count as paid because somebody paid money for that account to remain active, even if it isn’t the owner of the account.

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  12. Fenjay

    @Wilhelm: This is what you are probably thinking of: “World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet Game Room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees’ territories are defined along the same rules.”

    Found at the bottom of http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/press/pressreleases.html?id=7473409 (and likely any other sub numbers press release)

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  14. dachengsgravatar

    Ah, I get it, Wilhelm. You didn’t actually follow the link to see that what mamytwink were coyly promising were spicy new announcements from Blizzard at Gamescom.

    After I had mentioned that, I then said: “My take on all this is that Blizzard will be announcing a new expansion to release at the same time as the film.”. I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m saying that Blizzard’s spicy new announcements at Gamescom will be of a new expansion to release at the same time as the film. But I can quite see that if you didn’t notice that the mamytwink link was specifically a heads-up about Blizzard’s announcements at Gamescom,, you might not realize that I was referring to this, either.

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