Strange things are afoot at Blizzard Activision.
Even while the studio is preparing for BlizzCon and the trailer reveal for the Warcraft movie, it announced that World of Warcraft has dropped another 100,000 subscriptions during this past quarter to end at 5.5 million. The studio said that this puts the game’s population in a “relatively stable” state. WoW lost almost 3 million subs between Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 and another million and a half by the Q2 2015 report.
For those counting along at home, that brings the total to 4.5 million subs lost in 2015, meaning the subscriber base has dropped by 45% in nine months.
Blizzard says this is “the last quarter that [it] plan[s] to provide subscriber numbers” because “there are other metrics” — so-called “engagement” metrics — “that are better indicators of the overall Blizzard business performance.”
Those 5.5 million players have a new baby brother in the Blizzard family, as the studio acquired Candy Crush developer King Digital Entertainment (with its 1,600 employees) for $5.9 billion in equity value. Yes, billion. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said of the acquisition, “Mobile gaming is the largest and fastest-growing opportunity for interactive entertainment and we will have one of the world’s most successful mobile game companies and its talented teams providing great content to new customers, in new geographies throughout the world.”
The studio said that Hearthstone continues to do incredibly well, setting a new quarterly record and improving 77% year-over-year. Diablo III isn’t doing too shabbily, either, having passed two million units sold in China since its debut in that country.
Finally, Blizzard revealed that seven million fans signed up for the Overwatch beta — which doesn’t include China.