The number of paying subscribers for Blizzard's fantasy MMO World of Warcraft has dropped for the second financial quarter in a row.

Having peaked at 12 million subscribers, WOW's falling figures have prompted some observers to question if this means the beginning of the end for the world's most popular online game.

So, is World of Warcraft on the wane or is this just a temporary blip in the world of Azeroth?

MMO memo

WoW provides a major revenue stream for the Activision-Blizzard, which noted recently that digital revenues from properties such as World of Warcraft were up by a 27 per cent increase from the same quarter a year ago.

"It's normal to see some declines, the team is currently working on our largest content update since Cataclysm, which will hit later this year," Blizzard Entertainment chief executive Mike Morhaime said this week.

The company launched World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, in China last month and has also made World of Warcraft free to play for the first 20 levels of the game in an attempt to attract new subscribers.

"We have seen an increase in new account creations as a result of that. It's still too early to tell on conversions to subscribership, but I believe that is an important direction for us," said Morhaime.

With Diablo III on its way, Blizzard Entertainment is also working on another massive online game that it has still to announce. More on that one when we get it.

Via Venturebeat