It looks like something of a double celebration for Activision Blizzard as the company announces a sizeable uptick in World of Warcraft subscribers (they're back above 10 million) and a settlement in that shareholder case. Party hats at dawn...
First up, the subscriber situation:
Subscriptions were always going to see a boost in the wake of the Warlords of Draenor launch as players whose interest had tailed off stuck their heads back through the portal to see what the expansion's deal was – it was just a matter of how big that surge of interest would be.
Over the summer subscriber numbers were still on the decline and hovering somewhere around the 6.8 million mark. According to Blizz, as of the first 24 hours after release the subscriber base had swollen to over 10 million. The launch wasn't without problem, though, as the influx of new and returning Azeroth inhabitants encountered gameplay issues and formidable server queues, forcing Blizzard's tech team to work on hotfixes, increases to server capacity and so on.
I don't have the exact number but, taking an account to symbolise one person, Azeroth now has roughly the same population size as somewhere like Portugal.
Boring fun fact: subscribers don't actually map one-to-one with paid accounts as Actiblizzard's definition also includes people who bought the game and are within their free month and players accessing the game via game rooms.)
The other bit of Activision business news relates to their shareholder case. It started when Activision Blizzard was looking to separate from its parent company Vivendi last year. The bare bones of it was that several shareholders including Douglas Hayes and Anthony Pacchia took action against the corporation with Hayes' suit claiming that a sale of shares as part of the deal would "unjustly enrich [Brian] Kelly, [Bobby] Kotick and other participants".
The action didn't ultimately stop Activision Blizzard leaving Vivendi (I'm imagining Vivendi doing an emotional rendition of I Will Survive. "Go on now go! Walk out the door. Don't turn around now - just take your Warlords of Draenor...") but the suit still needed dealing with. According to an announcement from the corporation they have now reached a settlement (subject to the relevant completion procedures).
As per the statement, "Multiple insurance companies, along with various defendants, will pay Activision Blizzard $275 million. The Company believes the settlement, which acknowledges no wrongdoing by any party, is in the interest of all stakeholders."
So there you go. That's all the news from Actizzard today. We picked through investor press releases so YOU didn't have to!