For more than a decade, World of Warcraft has ruled online gaming. It doesn't matter how many fans your shiny new game has - their numbers pale in comparison to Blizzard's behemoth. World of Warcraft is the game that all other massively multiplayer online games strive to be - and, for the longest time, it seemed as if nothing would ever take the MMO crown from Blizzard's poster child.
However, as the years went on, subscribers began to fluctuate more and more. Other high-profile MMOs ditched the subscription model for more flexible options while introducing new and innovative ideas to the genre...which made it seem like World of Warcraft was becoming a relic, though the recent Warlords of Draenor expansion seemed to reignite many fans' passion for Blizzard's aging MMO.
Unfortunately, it seems as if that wasn't the case: despite the praise it received for Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard can't seem to keep subscribers hooked on World of Warcraft, as the game lost roughly 3 million subscribers in just the last three months alone.
During an earnings call from Activision-Blizzard (via Business Insider), the publisher revealed that World of Warcraft's subscriber base had dwindled to just 7.1 million subscribers. Granted, having 7.1 million subscribers is still a massive accomplishment, but World of Warcraft sported 10 million subscribers back in January, meaning that the game lost roughly a third of its players in just three months.
So, what happened? Well, the most likely cause of the sudden drop is because players have simply done everything they wanted to do. Warlords of Draenor was extremely well-received, but players aren't going to keep playing if there's nothing new to find. Blizzard's seen this sort of ebb and flow before: when a new expansion is released, tons of players restart their subscriptions, only to cancel once they've exhausted all of the new content. It's just that this recent loss is on a much larger scale than usual.
So, is World of Warcraft doomed? No, of course not - the game's still got 7.1 million subscribers, and Activision-Blizzard raked in $1.2 billion in just a single quarter. That being said, it could be a sign that more and more gamers are looking for something new, something different from the traditional World of Warcraft formula. After 10 years of playing the same game, who can blame them?
If you're looking to check out World of Warcraft yourself, you can head on over to Blizzard's official store.