Despite its recently stagnated subscriber base, Blizzard doesn’t “at all” believe that World of Warcraft has hit its peak. On the contrary, executive VP of product development Frank Pearce figures the number of 11 million plus will begin to show signs of growth once China approves the troubled Wrath of the Lich King expansion and the west receives Cataclysm.
“No, I don’t think that at all,” Pearce said in an interview when asked if the MMO has hit the ceiling subscribers wise. “I mean, you can look at that number and if you look at some of the details around it… In China, for example, we haven’t even launched Wrath of the Lich King yet, and that expansion is already 18-plus months old. They’re still playing The Burning Crusade there, because we’re waiting for approval for Wrath from the appropriate agencies. And once we get that approval and launch Wrath in China then I think we will see growth.”
Same goes for western audiences and Cataclysm, which is coming along “really well,” as well.
“Whenever we launch an expansion we usually see some win-back from players who have set WoW aside temporarily. Hopefully we will get some people back from Cataclysm as well,” he added.
“I don’t think 11.5 million is a peak, necessarily, but there are certain things that we need to do and need to do well in order to see it go further.”
Cataclysm is still on for a 2010 launch, “if it’s ready,” Pearce also said. “If not, then we’ll hold onto it.”