Azuriel from In An Age, analyzes the recent Activision Blizzard earnings call giving his opinion on what the call really means.
The last time I talked about an Activision Blizzard earnings call, I had just quit the game myself. Now in Q3, you have undoubted heard that a further 800k subs were lost, bringing WoW down to 10.3 million. For those keeping track at home, the last time WoW was at ~10 million was in 2008 right during the release of TBC in China.
While sites like MMO-Champion and WoW Insider are nice for giving us summaries, I’m interested in the nuance inside the earnings call itself. Feel free to read alongside me at home (curtsey of Seeking Alpha).
- 1. Majority of the sub loss is occurring in the East.
- You have probably already read the above bullet-point summary, so I’m here to assure you that Morhaime does not get more specific than this.
- 2. Implicitly, the difficulty of Cataclysm content was the cause of sub losses.
- Feel free to try to read something different from these paragraphs (emphasis added):
That said, we know there are improvements that we can make in gaming content. The level-up content in Cataclysm is some of our best works. But it was consumed quickly compared to our past expansions set, Wrath of the Lich King. Once players reached max level, the end-game content in Cataclysm is more difficult. Balancing this content for our diverse player base can be very challenging.
Our development team is constantly analyzing the game, and we’re continuing to explore ways that we can adjust the game to better satisfy both hard-core and casual players. To that end, our next free major content update for World of Warcraft is already in testing and will be available for players in the coming weeks.
Now, the funny thing about this is how Blizzard may have cost themselves millions of dollars in lost revenue by pushing Cataclysm on the Chinese instead of letting Wrath work its magic. After all, Cataclysm was released in China on July 12th whereas Wrath was out in mid-August of 2010, a difference of 11 months. I am not sure whether Cata heroics came pre-nerfed like they ended up in the West, but even if they did it would still be worlds different from how it was in Wrath.
Which, no matter your feelings on the expansion, gained ~1 million subs and largely kept them until Cataclysm.