World of Warcraft could face its toughest test when Star Wars: The Old Republic launches in December.
More than a million players could trade Azeroth for the Galactic Republic, according to a recent survey of World of Warcraft subscribers.
The survey polled a relatively small number of Warcraft subscribers (381 people), but found that at least half of them plan to buy the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO, and an additional 38 percent of the poll subjects had an interest in checking out the game.
The poll results, combined with the recent reports of Warcraft losing nearly a million subscribers over the last three months, has prompted at least one market-analysis firm to downgrade Activision Blizzard stock. In their decision to downgrade the stock, Lazard Capital Markets predicted that Warcraft will likely lose anywhere from 900,000 to 1.6 million subscribers to The Old Republic when the latter launches in December.
However, it’s worth pointing out that Warcraft has weathered competition from various projects over the years without suffering too greatly. Still, The Old Republic not only carries the “Star Wars” name, but it’s also rumored to be one of the most expensive games ever created — so it’s not the typical competitor.
Of course, even with The Old Republic looming, Warcraft will likely find departed players returning to the game once the next expansion is released. “The Mists of Pandaria” is currently in development with no release date set at this point.
The survey predicts that 33 percent of departed Warcraft subscribers will find themselves back in Azeroth once the new expansion is released.