World of Warcraft subs fall again to 7.7 million
Now down to pre-2007 numbers.
The number of World of Warcraft monthly subscribers has dropped to 7.7 million, Activision Blizzard has revealed.
That's comparable to the audience the MMO had in 2007, shortly before first expansion The Burning Crusade helped it break the 8 million mark.
Today's numbers are for the financial quarter ended 30th June (full report due 1st August), and are based on what should be pretty accurate internal estimates from Activision Blizzard.
It marks a notable decline for World of Warcraft in recent times, having fallen fairly steadily from a highpoint of 12 million subscribers in October 2010 - two months before Cataclysm.
How will WOW adapt - does it even need to? After all, 7.7 million subscribers is still massive. But there are signs of change: Blizzard announced earlier this month that micro-transactions will be coming to World of Warcraft, first in Asia and then the West.
In Asia there will be convenience items such as XP-boosters, plus things like pets and mounts. Blizzard gave a good indication of the things we can expect here by this week announcing a handful of vanity items for the game to be sold at the Blizzard Store (for now).
There are three fancy crowns at $15 each, which have no stats and are intended for transmogrification - to take on the properties of whichever helm you use. One has an icy crown with skull face, one has a pair of fiery horns and one has a hood with glowing red eyes.
There's also, according to Tentonhammer, limited-use Seesaw and Hitching Post items on the way. The Seesaw is a seesaw, the idea being to slam down hard and launch your friend into the air. The Hitching Post, meanwhile, allows you and up to 24 friends to ride ghostly Iron Warhorse steeds, and in Battlegrounds if you like. There's no benefit in doing so other than they look cool, and there's no mention of price.
WOW patch 5.4 is currently being tested on the Public Test Realm server. You can have a skinny at the patch notes on the official WOW site.