Well holy crap. Okay, so remember how it was expected the whole of humankind would soon be jacked into World of Warcraft 24/7 while Blizzard's robots harvested our unconscious bodies for bioelectrical energy and body heat? Well, that's not happening anymore. Yeah, sorry, plans are off.
Why? Because somehow World of Warcraft has stopped freakin' growing. Speaking at the Activision Blizzard full-year financial call, Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has revealed that WoW's base of subscribers is now frozen at 11.5 million users - the same as in December 2008.
Curious stuff, though not altogether surprising, I'd suggest. When World of Warcraft launched in late 2004, game consoles were still finding their feet where online gaming was concerned. Xbox Live was in its infancy, and the premier online games were generally on the PC. Five and a half years on, and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 each offer an excellent online gaming service (and the Wii offers ... a service), attractions that may have bitten into Blizzard's pie.
Not that things are all doom and gloom - Morhaime noted that the Chinese market has yet to receive add-on Wrath of the King, and considering China contains half of all 11.5 million WoW subscribers, that could make a big difference.