Activision probably won’t have the numbers they really wanted during the fourth quarter of 2009 according to Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey. One of the reasons being that he thinks StarCraft II will see a 2010 release instead of the Blizzard-predicted 2009 release, referencing the information from SC2 lead designer Dustin Browder that the SC2 beta will last “four to six months.”
According to Hickey, a further than predicted release of the anticipated RTS isn’t the only thing Activision should worry about as World of Warcraft may hit some speed bumps. Though plenty of Warcraft players reside in China, the current downtime in the region due to the transition to another provider leads the analyst to suspect that the subscription numbers will take a hit. Hickey also notes upcoming NCSoft MMO Aion as a possible threat to World of Warcraft. Regardless, Blizzard is in quite the position. Though World of Warcraft has 11.5 million subscribers and that number hasn’t increased since it was announced in 2008 (the first time in a few years that World of Warcraft hasn’t experienced an increase in subscriptions numbers over the course of almost half a year), it hasn’t decreased either.