Some World of Warcraft fans were surprised to find out that Blizzard is already announcing a new expansion when the latest, Warlords of Draenor, just hit last year. But new numbers released today as part of Activision's second quarter 2015 financial results may explain why the developer is rushing into what's next.
According to the press release from Activision, World of Warcraft is at 5.6 million subscribers as of the end of the second quarter, which is June 30, 2015. The press release stresses that the game's latest update, "Fury of Hellfire," just arrived on June 23 and "helped stabilize the subscriber number towards the end of the quarter."
In a call to investors, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime noted that the Warlords of Draenor expansion brought more returning players to the game than any previously. He said the company is focused on increasing the pace of content to help retain players, and also that he believes next year's World of Warcraft movie may help bring in new players.
World of Warcraft's subscription numbers dropped as low as 6.8 million during the Mists of Pandaria expansion, but the company has not reported numbers as low as 5.6 million since 2005, just one year after World of Warcraft released.
Blizzard recently added in the ability for players to pay for their monthly fee using "WoW Tokens" rather than real money. Presumably these numbers are included in World of Warcraft's overall subscriber numbers.
World of Warcraft's sixth expansion will be announced on Thursday, and Polygon will be reporting on the news as it hits.