Blizzard blames Star Wars: The Old Republic for latest WoW dip

Blizzard says World of Warcraft is seeing a drop in subscriptions because of Star Wars: The Old Republic's release.

Blizzard points to Star Wars: The Old Republic as the latest culprit in World of Warcraft's steady decline from its 2010 peak in popularity of 12 million subscribers, according to a Eurogamer report.

Speaking to the site, senior World of Warcraft producer John Lagrave said that they've seen a dip in subscriptions and that has to "at least be attributable to The Old Republic." He also said some of that dip is because some people want to wait and get the latest addition to the massively multiplayer game, Mists of Pandaria.

But which subscription dip is Lagrave referring to?

World of Warcraft has been on a steady decline since hitting a high of 12 million subscribers in October 2010. The first reported drop hit in May 2011when Blizzard told folks their subscriber base was down to 11.4 million. Steady drops continued through to the end of this year when Activision Blizzard mentioned in a quarterly report that World of Warcraft's subscription base was at 10.2 million as of Dec. 31, down from 10.3 million on Sept. 30.

Wow-subscriber-base-timeline

That's about a 15 percent drop since that 2010 peak. But The Old Republic didn't hit stores until December 20, so it's likely that most of those drops had little to do with the new Star Wars massively multiplayer online game.

Perhaps Lagrave is referring to a continued drop of subscription numbers since the announced year-end 2011 total. We've reached out to Blizzard to ask.

There's certainly something going on. Earlier this month Blizzard announced the lay off of about 600 employees, mostly in customer service and they've since launched a new campaign to try and entice former Warcraft players back into the fold. While sources tell us that Blizzard's Scroll of Resurrection plan has proven very popular, it's hard to tell if it will be enough to stem the drop in players.

We do know that previous drops in subscriptions have been attributed to a drop-off in the game's "Eastern" markets and a "return to pre-Cataclysm levels in the West."

We'll update this story once Blizzard responds.

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