Blizzard has posted its third quarter (Q3) subscriber base as 10.3 million. That is down from a reported 11.4 million at the first of the year (Q1) and over 800,000 less than the company’s second quarter (Q2) total of 11.1 million.
The announcement of membership losses came as part of Blizzard’s quarterly earnings call with investors. CEO Mike Morhaime blames the lackluster reaction from users to the WOW Cataclysm expansion that existing users burned through much faster than developers had anticipated.
In the Q2 earnings call earlier this year, Morhaime had pinned high hopes on the game’s planned Chinese expansion as a recovery tool. So far, that hasn’t panned out, but the company is working on it, says Morhaime. They are also studying ways to make content updates more engaging and long-term with users.
Morhaime says they have a lot of faith in the new Mists of Pandaria expansion, due to release early next year. The expansion is obviously attempting to cater to and bring in Chinese players.
Meanwhile, the company has been working to retain players for longer terms by offering free copies of the upcoming Diablo III title to those who purchase a full year of WOW up front.
With the high competition in the MMO RPG gaming industry today, Blizzard will have to scramble to keep the top spot with its aging game title.