Churn, or the amount of subscribers leaving, has slowed down a little
for World of Warcraft
. For the previous quarter, they are now at 11.1 million subscribers, which is still a lot of monthly subscription money coming in. Still, companies want to minimize the churn rate and Blizzard's got some new content coming to help stem the tide.
Blizzard says that because WoW players are a lot more experienced nowadays, they can go through an expansion pack much faster than before and thus, they drop off until the next pack, albeit this time a little faster than before. That's why they're working on more content.
Making the game free to play and capping that aspect at level 20 has helped slow down the churn rate. Blizzard is also banking on expansion in other areas such as China.
Let's face it, World of Warcraft is seven years old and it's had a stranglehold on the MMORPG genre for a very long time now. It has surpassed Everquest in terms of the amount of time being the #1 MMORPG for a very long time now. I'm sure Blizzard's been hard at work on their next big MMORPG because you can only stay on top for so long with the same product. Churn rate's going to be unavoidable on a game that's been out this long so something new's got to be in the works.
The last part of the article where Blizzard says they are investing more into unannounced projects should give you an indication that they are preparing for the future, perhaps a game that will start to become their next big MMORPG.