Specifically the part that gets quoted the most:
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, an MMO from EA’s Mythic Entertainment studio, sold 1.2 million copies in the quarter – with over 800 thousand current players.
The confusion is about two aspects. The first is whether 800k are real active, uncanceled accounts, or just registered accounts. The second is whether the number is as of 30 October, the day the report was compiled, or 30 September, the end of the second quarter that is subject of the report.
The first aspect is rather obvious if you just read the title of the PDF:
As you can see, it clearly states “Registered Users” and not active subscriptions.
The second can be inferred by looking at the other two press releases.
in the first week since launch over 500,000 new players have registered
today announced that 750,000 players have registered
Now, if the Fiscal report was limited to the 30 September then we would have a time paradox since Warhammer had 500k registered accounts as of 26 September, then 800k as of 30 September and finally 750k as of 10 October.
Obviously the 800k is to be put later than the last press release and probably closer to the day the fiscal report was compiled, so the end of October.
But there’s also another point to consider: gold sellers.
Let’s subtract from the 800k all those fake accounts that gold sellers made. 13k are just those that Mythic caught and banned. I expect the total number to be much, much higher.
If the CD-key system was cracked then they can create unlimited accounts, and so the number of active accounts is not in any way indicative of the success of the game.
Moral of the story: we need to wait for active subscriptions to see how successful the game is (my guess is that they are south of 500k and that they’ll have a very hard time passing that number, with WotLK release in a couple of weeks).