World of Warcraft lost 100,000 subscribers in Q3 2015, bringing the total to an almost 10-year low of 5.5 million. The announcement of the next expansion, Legion, last August almost certainly helped to reduce losses. It was also probably no coincidence that flying in Warlords of Draenor was finally implemented in September, as Blizzard has a long history of releasing patches on the last month of a quarter. Still, many, including myself, were somewhat surprised by this low sub loss. I had been expecting a drop of a million or more. Blizzard fans cheered this news as an indication that the horrendous losses over the past 2 quarters had finally stabilized.
But there is a far bigger story than the sub numbers themselves. Blizzard announced that they will no longer be releasing those numbers after this quarter. You read that correctly. Blizzard announced that they are no longer going to tell us how many subs they have. Instead, they are going to use some as yet undisclosed metric to indicate the health of the game. This has 2 very important implications. Continue reading