Lazard Capital Markets has downgraded Activision-Blizzard stock from “buy” to “neutral” after the announcement that World of Warcraft has lost yet more subscriptions. Blizzard’s third quarter results were lackluster and given the year-long trend of the company losing subscriptions to its largest MMO, WOW, the investment analysis firm re-evaluated the stock.
Given the continued “hemorrhaging” of subscribers, analyst Atul Bagga of Lazard Capital says, and given the age and increased competition in the market, it’s doubtful that Blizzard will be able to restore WOW to its former glory. Lazard bolstered this finding with a small survey of 381 active online gamers.
The survey found that more players are planning to abandon the game and many doubt that anything Blizzard does will change their minds. Lazard predicts a further 1 million or more subscribers will leave in the next year due to the launch of games like Star Wars: The Old Republic – half of those surveyed said they would be ending their WOW subscriptions in favor of SWTOR.
The survey found, however, that half of those asked would also stay with WOW or re-up their subscriptions if Blizzard were to run a special and 33% plan to at least stay to try Mists of Pandaria when that expansion is added.
All in all, however, not good news for Activision-Blizzard.