Diablo 3 has sold 10 million, WOW subs drop by 1 million in three months

COD Elite has "at least" 2.3 million paying subscribers.

Diablo 3, the fastest selling PC game of all-time, has rocketed to 10 million copies sold overall, Activision Blizzard announced in an earnings call last night.

Granted, 1.2 million of these were from player who got the game for free by having World of Warcraft annual passes.

But Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime accepted that "we did experience some challenges" launching Diablo 3.

"Due to the unprecedented influx of players, a number of service issues arose that we needed to work around the clock to address," he said (transcript courtesy of Seeking Alpha).

"The vast majority of these issues were ironed out within a couple of weeks of launch. As I mentioned in a letter to players recently, we're not satisfied with just breaking launch records. We want people to play and enjoy Diablo 3 for a long time.

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"We've already made a number fixes and updates including the activation of the Auction House, which provides a convenient way for players to trade items with each other. The Diablo team has also been working on improvements to end-game rewards and having a player-versus-player mode, which we hope will enhance the value and longevity of the game."

Blizzard also revealed a further drop in World of Warcraft subscriber numbers to 9.1 million (as of 30th June) - down from 10.1 million at the end of March. That's a hefty loss of 1 million subscribers in three months. World of Warcraft's highest point was October 2010, when there were 12 million subscribers.

Morhaime said the "majority" of the decline came from the East. Blizzard explained the dip as something that tended to happen before WOW expansions (Mists of Pandaria arrives in September), and that "a number of players took a break from World of Warcraft to play Diablo 3".

Blizzard hopes Mists of Pandaria will bring lapsed WOW players back, and also hopes Diablo 3 may have a positive effect, as "there are a surprising number of Diablo players that have never tried World of Warcraft".

Morhaime also revealed that 16.9 million people logged in to Battle.net during July to play either Diablo 3, WOW or StarCraft 2.

"There are a surprising number of Diablo players that have never tried World of Warcraft".

Mike Morhaime, president/co-founder, Blizzard

Elsewhere, Activision Blizzard revealed that Call of Duty Elite now has "at least" 2.3 million premium (paying) members and 12 million registered users.

But sales of Call of Duty DLC are slowing down.

"We've had introduced a lot of changes in behaviour for our fans," said Eric Hirshberg. "One consequence is the fact that a la carte DLC sales have not performed as well as in years past.

"Our overarching goal is to provide all of our players with the best possible community platform. With that goal in mind, we're always evaluating ways to improve and optimise the service to create the best experience for our fans and the best return on our investment.

"We look forward to sharing more details on this with you in the future."

Activision Blizzard expects Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 to be the biggest entertainment launch in history, which would be the fourth consecutive year a Call of Duty game has managed such a feat.

Also revealed during the call, Skylanders was the best selling console game of 2012, if one includes the toys that go along with it. Activision also noted that the Skylanders figurines outsold the best-selling action figure lines in the US and Europe so far this year. Synergy!

The publisher seemed very hopeful about its impending sequel Skylander's Giants due on 19th October.

Activision Blizzard big boss Bobby Kotick addressed the buyout rumours surrounding the sale of Vivendi's huge stake in the company. He couldn't comment on Vivendi's behalf, he said, but none of this will alter the company's focus on "strong execution" and "the delivery of great games".

On that topic, Kotick also had a dig at rival publishers' produce of late, which he said had been "less than adequate". It's dragging the whole market down, he said. But what games could he mean?

"I also think you've had, unfortunately, a stream of products that are less than adequate from some of our competitors," he said. "The demand in the marketplace is for great quality products. If you look at the success we're having it validates that there is an opportunity for great quality products but I think at this stage in the cycle, it's challenging for anything other than great quality products."

All-in-all, Activision had a "better than expected second quarter", amassing $1.08 billion in net revenue during the quarter (down a little on last year's Q2 take of $1.15 billion).

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