Mists of Pandaria sales show 30% decline over Cataclysm sales, says analyst

Thursday, 4th October 2012 22:09 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Mists of Pandaria sold 2.7 millions digital and physical units combined its first week, Blizzard announced today, but sales of the expansion are 30% below those of Cataclysm, the previous expansion, according to figures derived by Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst Colin Sebastian.

Speaking in an industry note, Sebastian noted the 30% decline in unit sales was “directionally consistent” with the difference in the subscriber base: 12 million subscribers in Q4 2010 vs. 9.1 million in Q3 2012 during the respective launch periods.

Blizzard announced today the subscriber base is now over 10 million compared to the global subscriber base of 9.1 million for World of Warcraft reported in Q2 – which is the first increase in subs since Cataclysm was released in late 2010.

Sebastian said sales for Mists of Pandaria were in-line with Robert W. Baird’s estimate of 3 million units for Q3 2012.

Sales and subscriber numbers will go up once Blizzard reports sales data for China – which Activision usually always highlights in its calls to investors. The expansion for WoW launched in the region this week on October 2. Sebastian believes the expansion will be successful in terms of retention, as “feedback suggests it is not as difficult to play as Cataclysm,” he said.

As far as Activision is concerned as a whole, the analyst firm expect solid “Q3 2012 results, with good visibility for Q4.”

“While the video game industry is mired in a challenging selling environment, we believe that Activision on a relative basis remains well positioned for Q4 with key holiday releases Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Skylanders Giants,” said Sebastian.

“We also expect Q3 results to be in-line or slightly ahead of guidance.”



  1. OlderGamer

    I think they are going about this all wrong, most of the figures we have seen are only for boxed versions. I was at Walmart two days ago an dthe shelf for the xpac was full, hardly looked touched.

    But I think the bulk of the sales are digital. I don’t know anyone that buys it at the store, they all download it from Blizz directly.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Stephany Nunneley

    Yeah and analysts said last week a lot came from the Diablo 3 deal, but Sebastian noted in his email that the sales were for digital as well. China figures should be released next week I imagine, or in the next call to investors. I expect sub and sales to both go up substantially once they are figured in.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. OlderGamer

    I agree Steph, I know that my wife, my brother inlaw, his wife, and myself, all bought the Diablo III deal. We also use the digital stores when that is avalible.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. roadkill

    “Mists of Pandaria sales show 30% decline over Cataclysm sales” What? Some people are growing brains!? No way!

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Graymatter

    There are a couple of small problems in the article:

    1) Cataclysms sales numbers would have been about 4 million at the end of one week so the actual decrease is more like 33%.
    2) While China is not officially active, there won’t be any more sales from China because they don’t buy expansions.
    3) Because of point 2, the 10 million figure is likely to include a large number of Chinese subscribers because they would have signed up for WOW again in anticipation of the release. It’s almost like their version of a pre-order.

    To me it looks like the subscriber numbers will probably remain at around 10 million until the end of the year at which point they will start to decline again.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Stephany Nunneley

    @5 I am not sure where the analyst firm came up with the 30% figure, that’s just what was noted in the email. Activision almost always notes the sales and subs for China in its quarterly calls to investors. We should hear something on these in November.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. John117

    So far I would say that MoP reminds me a great deal of Wotlk in regards of how easy heroics are + the daily quest farm. Compared to Cata which just put me off at the start due to the lack of fun things to do, I would think MoP might be able to hold on to the players longer. For christ’s sake, they put farms and pokemon in the game, it’s bloody addicting!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. jacobvandy

    Bottom line, Blizzard used to announce how many millions their expansions sold in the FIRST DAY of being available… That they had to wait an entire week before being satisfied enough with the figures to issue the press release says it all.

    @7 And that’s when you know they’re in trouble — they start throwing in kitchen sinks comprising little more than other games’ proven popular ideas.

    #8 2 years ago

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