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World of Warcraft loses 1.3 million subscribers over three months

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Massively multiplayer online title World of Warcraft lost approximately 1.3 million subscribers over three months, Activision Blizzard announced today in an earnings report.

According to the company, the game "remained the number one subscription-based MMORPG in the world" and retains more than eight million subscribers. However, users declined by more than a million across the globe between January and March. The drop-off was seen mainly in the East, but there were declines in the West as well, the company said.

"And while we do believe further declines are likely, and we expect to have fewer subscribers a year than we do today, World of Warcraft remains one of the most successful franchises in the history of entertainment," said Kotick.

Kotick said that the company plans to release more content for World of Warcraft more frequently, and make it easier for lapsed players to pick up the title again and keep current players engaged.

"We believe in the long-term value of this franchise and will continue to commit substantial resources to World of Warcraft," he added.

Blizzard describes World of Warcraft subscribers as players who have paid the subscription fee, have active prepaid playing cards or who have purchased the game and are currently within free access for a month.

In 2010, World of Warcraft subscribers numbered 12 million. Early last year the number fell to 9.1 million. As of October 2012, World of Warcraft's subscribers were over the 10 million mark. The numbers were bolstered by sales of the Mists of Pandaria expansion, which sold 2.7 million copies during the week after launch.