For the first time in a fair while, the World of Warcraft subscription numbers are actually up again. Last time, in September 2013, Blizzard/Activision were reporting 7.6 million subscribers for the MMO behemoth (down from the October 2010 heydays of 12 million.) The figures from Activision’s latest financial report are 7.8 million subscribers, up 200,000 from three months ago.
What the bare subscription figures don’t say is that large (but undefined) numbers of those subscribers are now in China, where World of Warcraft has a radically different payment model.
Still, for numbers to increase prior to an upcoming expansion rather than afterwards is quite an achievement. The Warlords of Draenor expansion is expected to arrive later this year.
In other Blizzard news, the financial report says that Diablo 3 sold an additional one million units this quarter and now sits on a total of 15 million copies sold. Meanwhile, the Hearthstone open beta was described as having “strong engagement and monetization” which is horrible management speak for “people like it and spend money on it.”
Activision also has high hopes for Bungie’s Destiny, suggesting that they want it to be “the next billion dollar franchise.” Announcing a PC version might help with that.