Activision Blizzard, through an earnings call press release [PDF] on Wednesday, revealed this bit of information and according to the company the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) saw a decline of over 14 per cent subscribers in the first quarter of 2013, the total now standing at 8.3 million. Launched back in 1994 2004 as Warcraft: Orcs & Humans the MMORPG saw a boost in 2012 with the launch of Mists of Pandaria when it sold over 2.7 million copies in the first week itself.

World of Warcraft has been in limelight on and off for both right as well as wrong reasons. Back in October 2012 entire cities in World of Warcraft were found dead – the reason for which was believed to be an in-game hack. Blizzard acknowledged that an in-game exploit was used by miscreants and fixed it before more users started using the exploit.

The gaming publisher isn’t optimistic though and believes that the numbers will decline as time passes. According to Activision executives the subscriber base of WoW is expected to dip further as more and more free-to-play games emerge on the internet.

WoW’s declining subscriber base won’t be leaving too deep a wound for Activision as it’s not the only franchise that is making money the gaming publisher. There are other franchises like the Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm alongside the bestselling Call of Duty series that Activision Blizzard will be counting on to recuperate the loss of subscribers.

According to the earnings call, Activision registered sales of $1.32 billion in its first quarter as compared to $1.17 billion year-on-year and managed to rake in a net income of $456 million – an improvement of $72 million year-on-year.