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World of Warcraft subscriptions 'remain stable'

World of Warcraft subscriptions have remained stable over the last four months, Activision Blizzard has claimed.

The number of people subscribed to massively multiplayer online (MMO) role playing game World of Warcraft has remains at a steady level, despite reports the figure had dropped.

Its publisher, Activision Blizzard, has said that the title had 10.2 million subscribers at the end of March, which is a comparable to the number of players at the start of 2012.

The game has still lost around 1.8 million players in the last year, yet it remains the most popular subscription-based title on the market.

However, of late it has been facing stiff competition from Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is believed to have taken some of the World of Warcraft fan base. Although the Electronic Arts game, which is set in the legendary science fiction universe, has also seen 400,000 players vanish in two month.

As a result, Activision Blizzard's revenue is down in the first quarter by 24 per cent to $384 million (£234 million). Lower than expected sales of the latest Call of Duty game have also contributed to the dip.

The firm is expecting a boost in subscribers upon the release of the World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria expansion pack, which will add a new continent, increase the level cap and introduce pandas skilled in martial arts to the game.

But even with the new additions to the game luring fans back in, it will face competition from other upcoming MMOs, such as Guild Wars 2 and The Elder Scrolls Online, both of which already have a dedicated fan base from previous titles.

The release of Blizzard's Diablo III could offset some of the firm's lost income as the long-awaited action role playing game has already set pre-order records.

Diablo III features an innovative revenue generating model whereby an in-game auction house allows users to trade items for real cash, with the firm taking a $1 or 15 per cent cut.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801362421-ADNFCR