Activision Blizzard has announced during its investor call that World of Warcraft subscriber numbers are back above the 10 million user benchmark, Joystiq reports.
The numbers are less precise this time around, and we’re not sure whether World of Warcraft barely scraped into the 10 million range or has seen more significant growth. In August, it was revealed that a massive 1.1 million users had left the game. That made for 9.1 million users, significantly lower than the peak of 12 million.
This gain of at least 900,000 subscriptions was without doubt caused by the release of the game’s fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria, in late September.
The exoduses in 2010 and 2012 came at the end of expansion lifecycles, when Blizzard had failed to release enough content to keep players entertained for sustained periods of time. This has been addressed to some extent in Mists of Pandaria, with launch content taking significantly longer for players to complete and faster, smaller content patches forthcoming.
But the price of MMO games has also become an issue — at $15 per month, after an initial investment of as much as $100 for the game and expansion licenses, the standard model has become less appealing with the increasing number of high quality free-to-play games.
Whether Blizzard’s content strategy patches up World of Warcraft’s leaks or whether the company will have to rethink their pricing model remains to be seen, but it seems that the game has a few expansions of life left, even if it can’t make it back to peak numbers.