It would appear that the rumors of World of Warcraft’s death among some in the MMO community have been greatly exaggerated.
Blizzard Entertainment announced today that subscriptions for its flagship MMO increased by 200,000 in the 4th quarter of 2013, giving the game 7.8 million subscribers.
The game was buoyed in the quarter by publicity from Blizzcon regarding the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion, a $4.99 sale for the game over the holiday season and a revamped Recruit-A-Friend program that featured new rewards.
It’s worth noting that the game did drop 1.3 million subscribers in the first quarter of last year and another 600,000 during the second quarter. But Blizzard’s plan to release new patches on a more frequent basis combined with some good publicity and promotions seems to have plugged the leak for now.
The game also made it easier for players to purchase in-game items via microtransactions and may be adding new options to that service very soon, providing parent company Activision Blizzard with some extra revenue to fall back on in the event that there is another slip in subscribers.
It will be interesting to see what happens by the end of 2014. The game is likely to see an increase in subscribers via Warlords of Draenor but will also have to fend off a lot of new competition with upcoming major releases like The Elder Scrolls Online, Wildstar and EverQuest Next on the horizon.