Blizzard: WoW subs base decreasing, looking to deliver content updates “faster”

Tuesday, 10th May 2011 08:40 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Following the launch of its last big expansion late last year, Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has confirmed that World of Warcraft has lost some of its userbase. That’s right, subs are actually going down.

Morhaime confirmed in Activision Blizzard’s Q1 2011 financial call last night that WoW’s sub base was at 11.4 millon, down 600k from the 12 million figure that was reported before Cataclysm launched.

“During the first quarter of 2011, as players have eagerly consumed the new content, we have seen subscribership return to prelaunch levels in the West,” said Morhaime. “We finished the quarter with more than 11.4 million subscribers worldwide. ”

The subs level is expected to pick up with the launch of Cataclysm in China, though, with Morhaime confirming that NetEase is “continuing to drive towards launching” the expansion in the country “later this year.”

In terms of new content, Morhaime added that Blizzard would looking at ways to introduce it faster, saying that players have become quicker at finishing new content quicker with experience.

“As our players have become more experienced playing World of Warcraft over the many years, they have become much better and much faster at consuming content,” he said, answering an investor’s question.

“And so I think with Cataclysm, they were able to consume the content faster than with previous expansions. But that’s why we’re working on developing more content. We launched our first update last week and we have another update that’s already in test. The response that we’ve gotten so far from players has been very positive and we really think that we need to be faster at delivering content to players.

“And so that’s one of the reasons why we’re looking to decrease the amount of time in between expansions.”



  1. Gadzooks!

    A lot of the WoW guys and gals I play with have moved over to Rift. It seems to do everything WoW does but makes the world feel a bit less static.

    I do miss the WoW sense of humor though. Rift plays it totally straight faced.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Grimrita

    Subs are going down because the game is dull and extremely generic. Blizzard only have themselves to blame for its decline. Instead of making ‘new content faster’, which means keep on re-hashing the same old crap but use a different colour palette, they should make the game more challenging.

    ‘Youve scratched your arse, 100XP’ – its just too easy to play. Although I dont think SWTOR will have any impact on WoW, they will need to do something when some of the more exciting offerings are released.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. silkvg247

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if cataclysm was the end of wow? I very much doubt the game will die anytime soon with the still quite insane number of subs.

    Even I still have an active sub. Must get around to cancelling it at some point. So many things are messed up in wow now compared to vanilla, especially in pvp, I could write a 5 page rant about it.. but I’ll refrain.

    That said the “new oldworld” content is now amusing. Maybe that’s why I still have a sub. hmm.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. viralshag

    They are still introducing some decent features with new patches and content but the game as a whole feels “old” and done. I have recently been trying to get back into it but it doesn’t hold my attention well at all. Then again, neither does Rift.

    The MMO scene needs a good shake up and a change of pace. As much as I want TOR to be that change of pace I have a feeling it won’t. Guild Wars 2 looks like it could offer some of what is needed.

    I love MMOs but they are all way too stale for me at the moment.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Grimrita

    TOR simply wont bring anything new to the MMO table apart from story. The entire game is playing it far too safe for my liking.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Hunam

    @5 A lot of the previews say the same thing. I’ll get it but I don’t think the PvP or Dungeons/Raids/Instances will be that good to be honest.

    I think the main problem is the gaming is obviously going to be sub, but having a sub will kill the game. Like DCUO, if they went guild wars instead of WoW with the pricing they’d do loads better. Only the very top games or super hardcore can have subs or it’ll bomb.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Dralen

    To me something feel’s wrong about Cataclysm. I just wasn’t enjoying playing it anymore. I loved the way “The Burning Crusade” felt and the same goes for “Wrath of the Lich King”, maybe they felt fresher to me because they were set in entire new zones.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. TheWulf

    Why couldn’t Deathwing look like the concept art in the game? You know, as opposed to what he currently looks like – a stocky robot chicken that’s barely any bigger than any other dragon in the game, or the players fighting him.

    I loved the concept art of Deathwing, but the in game realisation was… embarrassing, really. They could learn something from ArenaNet in this regard, they really could.

    Shatterer Concept Art
    Shatterer In-Game

    Part of that ArenaNet are managing to make their game look a hell of a lot like their concept art is part of why I’m so interested in Guild Wars 2. And Blizzard? More expansions isn’t the answer. Innovation is. ArenaNet gets this with its personal storylines, dynamic events, huge cities (instead of outposts called ‘cities’), fun social minigames built into the cities, players having their own personal district where choices they make visually impact the game, killing off the holy trinity, and removing grind. If you really want to know how to keep the subscriber count up, just copy ArenaNet. I mean, yer good at copying, aen’cha Blizzard? :P

    #8 4 years ago
  9. OlderGamer

    I moved to Rift, skipped Cati all together.

    Wow was so much about grinding for gear at end game, that, to me, it felt more like a choar then something I enjoyed. And to be what? The same spec, same build, same geared, same enchated as every other player of the same class that I was?

    Bagh I needed something fresh. I enjoy Rift. But not as much as I was hoping. At this point it kind of feels like a Wow with different graphics. I like the toon development in Rift MUCH better then Wow. Mix and match classes means much more variety in each players char. but at the end of the day it still uses Wows formula and it still feels like a grind to play.

    I know its not a MMORPG, but I am looking more forward to playing Diablo III then anything else. I will give GW2 a shot too.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Ireland Michael

    The single problem with Cataclysm is this – while it refined everything that was already there to within an inch of its life, it added *nothing* new.

    I got bored about half ways through the new levelling content. I haven’t touched it in three months, and new patches and content don’t offer me any sort of desire or incentive to come back in any way whatsoever.

    #10 4 years ago

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