In a conference call with investors on Thursday, Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime credited Funcom's Age of Conan with a strong launch that stole players from his own MMO, World of Warcraft.
"Age of Conan released with some initial success a couple of months ago, and we did see some of our players leave to try the game," said Morhaime, as reported by Edge Online. Age of Conan garnered 700,000 accounts in its launch month.
"However, we've seen about 40 per cent of those players return to World of Warcraft," Morhaime added, backing up the anecdotal evidence that many Conan players didn't stick around long.
He reassured investors that WOW's constant content updates gave it a permanent head start over new rivals. "Any massively multiplayer online game that launches today isn't just competing with the amount and breadth of content that we launched with back in 2004," he said, perhaps moving to head off concerns about the imminent Warhammer Online launch.
He added that he expects more WOW players to return come the release of Wrath of the Lich King.