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World of Warcraft saw a drop of nearly 1M players in three months, says Activision Blizzard

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Blizzard continues to see a slow decline in World of Warcraft subscribers, confirming a drop of 800,000 subscribers since March 31, publisher Activision Blizzard said during the latest earnings call for the April-June quarter last night.

According to the company, the massively multiplayer game has had 6.8 million paying subscribers since June of this year. Comparatively, at its height in 2010 World of Warcraft saw a record high subscriber base of 12 million users.

Despite this drop, the company expects an influx of new users with the release of the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion.

"We anticipated fluctuation in subscribership due to seasonality and the fact that the current game content is at the end of its life cycle," explained Michael Morhaime, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc and president Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

"And as expected, we did see a decline in subscribers, which mostly came out of the East. This pattern is right in line, percentage-wise, with the drops that we saw at Cataclysm's cycle in Q2 2012. That drop in 2012 was followed by an uptick in subscribers just ahead of Mists of Pandaria's launch. So we're hoping to see players return once we draw closer to the release of Warlords of Draenor later this year."

Pre-orders for the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion now exceed 1.5 million, the publisher added; however, no release date has been offered just yet.

The expansion - the fifth for World of Warcraft - was announced at BlizzCon last November and will raise the MMO's level cap to 100. The expansion will also introduce the land of Draenor, home of the orc and draenei races as well as new character models and animations.