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.”