might be weathering the sting of a 600,000 subscriber loss
in World of Warcraft
this quarter, but the studio's separation from Vivendi
could be the salve to soothe the hurt. Following the news that Activision Blizzard is buying back shares
to take away Vivendi's controlling stake, stocks have surged 18% in pre-market trading
Baird Analyst Colin Sebastian
says this is nothing but good news: "This looks like a win, win, win for Vivendi and Activision
shareholders. It's a better outcome than a special dividend to Vivendi, and I expect Activision will function even better as an independent company without the overhang of a struggling parent."
Blizzard is also taking steps to counter its subscriber drop. VentureBeat reports
that the studio has increased its WoW
development team, "lowered the barrier" for returning players to catch up to friends, and created an in-game proving ground so players can learn to heal or tank. We also have word that a new buff-centric class is being considered
, although no specifics have been revealed.