October 7th, 2010
Can World of Warcraft get any bigger? Yes it can.
After plateauing at 11.5 million subscribers for the last two years, total World of Warcraft players have reached 12 million worldwide, Activision Blizzard announced today. The culprit: The Chinese launch of the latest expansion pack (Wrath of the Lich King) and growing anticipation for the upcoming Cataclysm (Dec. 7).
The number of "payers" doesn't include expired or cancelled subscriptions, by the way, meaning the fine folks at Blizzard are making an average of $168 million per month; more than $2 billion per year. (Monthly World of Warcraft subscriptions average $14 per month, depending on the length of membership.)
When compared to the longest-running MMORPG (Everquest), World of Wacraft is on pace to see 480 total expansion packs, says this guy. At least, that's what Blizzard is capable of milking the franchise for, provided the world doesn't end first.
Since debuting in 2004, World of Warcraft has become the most popular subscription-based MMORPG in the world. It was the bestselling PC game for four consecutive years through 2008, and finished in two of the top five spots last year. As a mainstream reference point, the game is basically the Facebook of choice for fantasy PC gamers.
What do you think of the news? That is to say, what do you think of the ongoing-still-relevant-time-suck that is World of Warcraft?