This past May, Blizzard announced its World of Warcraft playerbase had declined to 11.4 million, a 5% drop from its post-Cataclysm high of 12 million. Predictably, the game's detractors pounced on the news, citing it as evidence of WoW's impending demise.

The company isn't worried that it's all downhill from here, however, according to The Market for Computer & Video Games interview with Blizzard Entertainment's VP and executive MD of internal operations Michael Ryder. Citing the game's impending launch in Brazil, growth in China, and the new free-to-play aspect of WoW (at least, free-to-play up to level 20), Ryder insists that the world's most successful MMORPG has room to become even more successful.

Spin? Perhaps. But still, even if subscriber numbers continue a slow decline, there's no question that WoW will be profitable -- and thus, still around -- for a long time to come.
Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Look at what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.

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