Activision Blizzard conference call announcing the company's first quarter results, the massive publisher announced record profits. This was achieved despite a small decline in World of Warcraft subscriptions from the previous record of 12 million to March's 11.4 million players, a number that has barely changed since 2008. The call included not only discussions on the financial state of Activision Blizzard but also plans for Blizzard's ongoing MMO development. During the call, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment Michael Morhaime confidently answered questions from participants on what the future holds for its industry-dominating title.
As the financial details and subscription numbers presented in the call were collected in March, the question of how RIFT's launch in early March had affected WoW's playerbase inevitably came up. Morhaime was quick to point out that while a percentage of players have historically left WoW to try out each new game released in the MMO market, a healthy proportion of them tend to return. Blizzard expects the same to occur with RIFT, pushing players to take a break from WoW but ultimately keeping them as long-term customers.
"We knew that this year was going to be a year where we faced new competitors; this isn't the first time, though, that we've had strong competitors enter the MMO market. What we have seen in the past is we tend to see our players leave for some period of time, try out the new MMOs, and then a good percentage of them historically have come back to World of Warcraft. So far, I haven't seen anything to indicate this will be different."