Blizzard is experiencing something that they really have not seen before with World of Warcraft, which is a downturn in subscribers. In the satellite TV business and cell phone business this is called subscriber “churn,” and this is something new that Blizzard is dealing with. Blizzard believes that the churn is due in part to WoW players becoming more skilled at the game and not as engaged to ongoing playing once they have completed the latest expansion pack.
To address the issue Blizzard will be speeding up development so that there is not such a long period between expansion packs. By delivering more content to players faster, it is believed that this is the best strategy to keep players engaged and playing the game.
Whether speeding up development means less content per expansion pack, this is anyone’s guess. We suspect, however, that shorter timelines could contribute to less content per expansion pack; but that is unconfirmed and remains to be seen. There is no announcement describing how Blizzard intends to space out the release of these expansion packs, but we expect to hear more about this soon.