Activision-Blizzard not only launched Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 this week, it announced record profits for its fiscal third quarter thanks to millions of CoD: Black Ops map packs sold and record pre-order numbers for MW3. But beneath the avalanche of good CoD news, Activision also noted that its other gaming juggernaut, World of Warcraft, could finally be approaching its denouement. Blizzard president and co-founder Mike Morhaime revealed WoW has lost 2 million subscribers in the past year.
During its quarterly conference call, Activision first lauded the success of the Call of Duty franchise, noting that Modern Warfare 3 sold an astounding 9 million pre-order copies. It saved its World of Warcraft news for last.
“Our revenues for the third quarter 2011 are down versus last year, which included the record-setting launch of StarCraft II,” Morhaime said. “World of Warcraft finished the quarter with 10.3 million active subscribers worldwide, which is down from the previous quarter. While the majority of these declines are coming from the East, World of Warcraft continues to be one of the most popular online games in China and remains by far the most popular subscription-based MMO in the world.”
In October 2010, Blizzard announced that WoW’s subscriber base surpassed 12 million.
Morhaime said Blizzard hopes to rebound by implementing improvements that satisfy both hardcore and casual WoW players. He also noted that the next expansion for the MMO, Mists of Pandaria, is one of the most anticipated updates in WoW history.