The Old Republic threatens to take subscribers from Warcraft

Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft has been the king of the MMORPG since launching back in 2004. Despite numerous attempts by other developers to dethrone it since then, Warcraft has remained on top.

In advance of EA and BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic though, Warcraft is losing subscribers. And there are signs that the standard setter’s ranks may continue to thin.

A survey by Lazard Capital Markets found that 50% of current Warcraft customers plan on buying The Old Republic. In addition to the loss of subscribers suffered in recent months, Lazard estimates that Warcraft could lose around one million more subscribers following the launch of the BioWare game.

Of course, there have been counter measures taken by Activision Blizzard to stem the tide of customers headed for the exit. Warcraft is now free to play until players reach level 20. There’s also a Mists of Pandaria expansion in development. These expansions typically lead to players coming back to WOW, but it remains to be seen if Pandaria is enough to halt the impending exodus.