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

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."

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