As part of its financial earnings release for the first quarter of 2014, Activision Blizzard revealed with World of Warcraft is currently sitting at 7.6 million subscribers. That's down from the game's all-time high of over 12 million subscribers, but that's not what is important about the current numbers. Impressively, Blizzard has been able to pull the game out of its decline and find a new middle ground; World of Warcraft has been performing at a similar level since June 2013. Either way, that's far above most of its other competitors, especially in the lull before an expansion's launch.
According to Activision Blizzard, the Warlords of Draenor expansion is doing well for itself in the pre-order department. It's been pre-ordered more than 1 million times already.
"Blizzard Entertainment expects to launch World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, which is already one of the fastest selling expansions in the franchise’s history based on pre-sales, in the second half of 2014," said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in the earnings release.
During the earning conference call, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime said that he believes the expansion's pre-sales are brisk due to the free level 90 character boost that players gain access to by pre-ordering. Previously, Blizzard gave the expansion a release window of Fall 2014, but Morhaime updated that today with a promise that players would see the new content "no later than December 20, 2014." Why December 20 as opposed to the end of December? No clue.
If you're wondering how the current subscriber numbers compare with World of Warcraft's past, here's a simple timeline:
- November 2004: World of Warcraft Released
- May 2006: 6.5 million
- November 2006: 7.5 million
- January 2007: Burning Crusade Released, 8 million
- March 2007: 8.5 million
- January 2008: 10 million
- May 2008: 10 million
- July 2008: 10.9 million
- September 2008: 10.9 million
- October 2008: 11 million
- November 2008: Wrath of the Lich King Released, 11 million
- December 2008: 11.5 million
- October 2010: 12 million
- December 2010: Cataclysm Released, 12 million
- December 2011: 10.2 million
- June 2012: 9.1 million
- September 2012: Mists of Pandaria Released, 10 million
- October 2012: 10 million
- December 2012: 9.6 million
- March 2013: 8.3 million
- June 2013: 7.7 million
- September 2013: 7.6 million
- December 2013: 7.8 million
- March 2014: 7.6 million
Blizzard Entertainment defines World of Warcraft subscribers as "individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their freemonth of access."