Blizzard’s MMORPG World of Warcraft is never ending seemingly, even after is lost almost two million subscribers throughout 2011. Diablo 3 launched during the second quarter of 2012, and has caused the MMOG to lose two million subscribers. Blizzard says the drop is temporary, but what damage will upcoming competing MMORPGs do?
Is Diablo 3 finally faltering? Probably not, but there’s serious competition emerging
During 2011, Blizzard saw a drop in subscribers every quarter for World of Warcraft. It wasn’t time to call World of Wacraft a demo MMORPG, but there was cause for concern. Incentives introduced by Blizzard remedied the drop, and the company doesn’t seem concerned about the 1.1 million drop in subscribers recently.
People leaving the game was mainly in the easte, due to the launch of Diablo 3 from Blizzard. The company announced it sold 10 million copies of the title, despite a host of issues. 1.2 million copies were sold through the World of Warcraft Annual Pass, a year-long subscription for the MMORPG.
The drop in numbers happened because of the waiting for the latest expansion, Mist of Pandaria, launching September 25, 2012. Blizzard announced the release date of Pandaria shortly after the release date of Guild Wars 2 got announced, seen as a reaction to the game by many.
Blizzard also said there’s no definite release date for an eastern Mists of Pandaria launch, despite wanting to launch the expansion as soon as possible. However, the company confirmed it would be post-Q3.
Activision Blizzard also looked towards upcoming releases Skylanders Giants and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, releasing later this year. Skylanders has been a surprise hit for Activision, even if in-game content is effectively bought from retail stores. The two games took the first and third spots in retail for the first half of 2012, across North America and Europe. What took third place? Diablo 3, another Activision Blizzard release
Blizzard also revealed in the earnings report the Heart of the Sawm expansion is entering beta for Starcraft 2 soon. Multiplayer is playable at Gamescom, the video game trade show running later this month.
I wouldn’t be surprised over World of Warcraft losing subscribers. There’s going to be an inevitable slowdown as the MMORPG becomes older, and competition like Guild Wars 2 will draw people away. On Guild Wars 2, the MMORPG developed by ArenaNet, the release date is 22 days away (and 19 for pre-purchasers). The title is presenting a noticeable challenge to World of Warcraft, with its lack of subscription and tweaking of traditional MMORPG mechanics making the game very fun to play. There’s still the need for classes to specify roles within a group, such as a healer or tank, but I don’t have to choose the class specifically.