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Role Playing (Games)

World of Warcraft Hits 10 Million Subscribers 450

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that's-a-lotta-bored-paladins dept.
technirvana writes "Blizzard Entertainment, owners of World of Warcraft, announced today that the game now has more than 10 million paying subscribers around the world. Online gameplay costs an average of $15 USD per month. Those 10 million paying subscribers include 5.5 million players in Asia, 2.5 million in the US and 2 million in Europe. The Warcraft brand was first introduced in 1994 and World of Warcraft was launched in 2001."
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World of Warcraft Hits 10 Million Subscribers

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  • 2001? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gigiya (1022729) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @08:48AM (#22152274)
    2004.
  • by ip_freely_2000 (577249) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @08:50AM (#22152288)
    ..and making the game more interesting.

    Once I hit 70, my desire to grind for 20 hours to get that shiny new +1 Int cloak gets a little tedious.
  • munnies! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by legoman666 (1098377) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @08:50AM (#22152294)
    10,000,000 subcribers x $15 a month = $150,000,000 a month. $150,000,000 x 12 months = $1,800,000,000 a year. From WoW alone. I bet blizzard/vivendi are happy campers.
  • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:04AM (#22152496)

    ..and making the game more interesting.

    Once I hit 70, my desire to grind for 20 hours to get that shiny new +1 Int cloak gets a little tedious.
    I understand that you're complaining more about the mechanics and gameplay rather than what they're doing with the money, so maybe my response is a bit off-topic... But WoW is one of the first MMOGs I've paid to play where I actually felt I was really getting my money's worth.

    Blizzard is constantly rolling out new content for free - new dungeons, new raid zones, new quests, new factions... All sorts of new stuff. Compare this to something like old-school EverQuest where your money just kind of vanished and every single new addition was through a paid expansion pack.
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:06AM (#22152510) Journal
    ...there are going to be dozens of posts about how WoW sucks, and (game x) is so much better.

    Maybe (game x) is better by some specific subjective metric, but in terms of the overall 'package', I'd have to say that in this case Adam Smith's measurement is the best objective general measure of value.

    I think WoW is particularly strong in terms of ease-of-play, progression speed, reward vs. time, variety of experience, replayability, and yes, even balance. Other games might have advantages such as a better crafting system, better pvp, and better graphics but each of these involves a tradeoff that Blizzard has perhaps deliberately accepted in favor of more mass-market acceptance (in the above examples, I'd say the tradeoffs are learning curve, playability, and system requirements, respectively).

    There are LOTS of specific things to complain about WoW, but commercial success on this scale is hard to dispute. They had no particular advantage in the marketplace compared to other developers (aside from a well-earned reputation), but they have come to utterly dominate the MMOG market to the extent that their 'ownership' of that market space has leaked into popular culture.

    Now that WoW is so dominant, it has become the benchmark in ways nobody could have anticipated 5 years ago. They not only pull in more subscribers, they've transformed the "computer gaming" activity almost singlehandedly from nerdville to nearly-mainstream, particularly with 20-somethings and under.

    Unfortunately that means they are also able to exert an influence (large, although I'd hesitate to say disproportionate) on other games - I for one believe that WotLK (the next expansion) has been done or nearly done since before the end of the year, and that they are waiting to unleash it a month or so before the 'next big competitor' (I believe Age of Conan) is released.
  • Re:I wonder (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:10AM (#22152548)
    Yes they can!

    Because in the first times of WoW on linux they banned ppl because the WoW Guard (anti-cheat feature/spybot u name it) accused ppl on wine+linux of cheating.

    Since that doesnt happen anymore it means they have seperated the cheaters from wine+linux ppl therefore they know.
  • by techpawn (969834) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:13AM (#22152578) Journal
    There are 10 million people willing to pay to play a game they already payed once for? And all they get out of it is to complain about gold farmers and griding hours of their life away for another item that the company can just create (which in of itself is utterly useless to the rest of their life)?

    Wow! And I thought I was odd for selling fish to a raccoon to pay off my virtual house in bells... I kind of don't feel so bad because I'm not paying for it in real money each month... And I can take my DS with me...
  • Accuracy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UncHellMatt (790153) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:14AM (#22152594)
    I am a little curious about those numbers.

    From what I have seen, the use of multiple accounts by single users is not all that uncommon. Blizzard doesn't seem to actually delete accounts after they've been deactivated. If someone cancels their subscription, their account name, their toons, everything remains (much like AOL's method of fudging their numbers). So of those 10m subscribers, I'd be curious to find out if those are individuals, or simply active subscribers, or in fact accounts created but not currently subscribed counted in that total.
  • by DarkFencer (260473) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:17AM (#22152618)

    Blizzard is constantly rolling out new content for free - new dungeons, new raid zones, new quests, new factions... All sorts of new stuff. Compare this to something like old-school EverQuest where your money just kind of vanished and every single new addition was through a paid expansion pack.

    Except half the stuff they've rolled out was promised as part of the last paid expansion pack (Black Temple, Zul'Aman, etc).

    Late content that you paid extra for != free content.
  • by GooberToo (74388) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:18AM (#22152630)
    Blizzard is constantly rolling out new content for free

    I'm so tired of people making such statements. You get ZERO new content for FREE. You pay a monthly subscription which funds new development, among other things. You PAID for the new content. It is not free!
  • by Tridus (79566) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:30AM (#22152796) Homepage
    "The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards."

    What part of "excludes expired or cancelled subscriptions" don't you understand? Subscribers are people who are currently paid up to play the game, or just bought it and are in the free month.

    People keep spewing off this nonsense about how the numbers are fake with absolutely no evidence to back it up. The game really is as popular as they say it is. Anybody hitting a queue while trying to login in the last month despite there being something like 200 servers in the US alone.
  • by everphilski (877346) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:34AM (#22152840) Journal
    Maybe (game x) is better by some specific subjective metric, but in terms of the overall 'package', I'd have to say that in this case Adam Smith's measurement is the best objective general measure of value.

    No, It hits the least common denominator in gaming. Much like television, which has a way larger captive fanbase (and they generally pay more a month, as well), people can sit in front of WoW and essentially zone out. IMO.
  • by MadnessASAP (1052274) <madnessasap@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:36AM (#22152878)
    It's not really a good idea to just up and abandon an old MMO to go create a new one thereby invalidating 10 million subscribers hard work and effort. Anywyas both WoW and Eve (The biggegst MMOs I know of) are hardly the game they were when they were first released and are constantly changing and expanding.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:40AM (#22152950)

    But once you're done leveling, the game is over.
    Why shouldn't it be? I don't understand why people expect networked games to be ever-evolving, with awesome changes to keep them interested for a decade. Games work like this: you play it, you wrap it, and then you stop playing. The idea that a game should not "end" simply because you're too addicted to quit baffles me. If you've played for years and are level 9000, you're done. Maybe come back in a year once loads of new content is available. Don't hang around waiting desperately for the developers to drop you a few more crumbs.

    I played for a couple months and then stopped because I knew I'd never be happy with the outcome. The fact that I play for enjoyment is trumped by the fact that others are playing with 20 browser windows open calculating odds and following the step-by-step mold. Quite frankly, it's boring playing a game alongside people who are treating it like a life-or-death situation where every move must be made by the book.
  • Re:So What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:48AM (#22153066) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, but that's a boring grindfest, the perfect game for Asians (and especially Koreans) it seems.
  • by Fred_A (10934) <`fred' `at' `fredshome.org'> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:51AM (#22153092) Homepage
    So they're giving you for free what you paid for. :)
    They could make you pay again for what you already paid for or just not give you anything. It's been done before. At least the players get an evolving game.

    (Never played any MMRPG though since the few glimpses I got always made they seem horribly tedious to me, but to each his own)
  • by Das Modell (969371) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:51AM (#22153096)
    They could charge additional money for the content if they wanted to, and you're still paying a monthly fee even if they don't provide content updates.
  • by Martian_Kyo (1161137) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @10:08AM (#22153294)

    ...there are going to be dozens of posts about how WoW sucks, and (game x) is so much better.

    Maybe (game x) is better by some specific subjective metric, but in terms of the overall 'package', I'd have to say that in this case Adam Smith's measurement is the best objective general measure of value.

    maybe as a commercial model, but not as gaming experience. Using the same logic windows is the best operating system around Best music in late 90s and early 2000s was performed by Brittney Spears.

    WoW has hit critical mass, and new players are not joining it because it's still the best game around, but because they want to know what's all the fuss about. If you never played an MMORPG, and you wanted to play one, which one would you pick? WoW, of course. But not because it IS the best game around but because it's the most played game around. You would use the 'well 10 million people can't be wrong' logic, in picking your first MMORPG.

    That's classic example of herd mentality, not quality.

  • by Broken Bottle (84695) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @10:09AM (#22153306)

    I'm so tired of people making such statements. You get ZERO new content for FREE. You pay a monthly subscription which funds new development, among other things. You PAID for the new content. It is not free!
    That depends on how you look at the fees. WOW is a service. We pay for access to the game. There are costs associated with running the game day to day. They could just release expansion packs at retail if they cared to. THAT would be paying for new content. Obviously there are a myriad of reasons why that policy would be a bad idea, but you get the drift and I think that a fair number of people look at it like that too.
  • Re:munnies! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Silicon Jedi (878120) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @10:18AM (#22153396)
    Me too, but I'm not at risk of losing my job and wife any more.
  • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @11:22AM (#22154278)
    ...how long before M$ starts their own MMORPG, and then finds a small company that holds a patent on something in WoW, fronts them the money to sue the pants off Blizzard, while licensing the use of the patent-holder's IP? Or just goes the easy route and sues under anti-trust?

    First of all, your post is idiotic. Blizzard *sells* PCs copies of Windows for Microsoft, and Windows is more profitable than WOW is anyway. (I would guess, if you consider all factors.) And Microsoft doesn't pay Blizzard a thin cent for the marketing either.

    Secondly, in addition to your post being idiotic, you're an idiot. Microsoft ran Asheron's Call and Asheron's Call 2 for years. They sold it to Turbine after awhile, but they ran it for a very long time as part of their MSN Gaming Zone business.
  • Re:So What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @12:10PM (#22154910)
    It's all in how you phrase it. You can say Asians prefer grind games, or you can say Westerners prefer games which hand everything to them on a platter. Or if you want to be nice about it, you can say Asians prefer games where hard work (and time) is rewarded, while Westerners prefer games where entertaining solutions are rewarded.
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @12:12PM (#22154948)

    WoW is a friggin' phenomenon that crosses so many demographics unlike any other game I've played over my 25 years as a consumer. My guilds have had husbands and wives playing together, parents and children, mothers playing with babies on their laps (hi Bitters!), and even grandparents. I'm a lifelong addict and I had to FORCE myself to cancel my account to focus on renovating my house.

    Yet, there's still some confusingly high number of negative posts on Slashdot from people slamming the game. Yes, it has flaws, but nothing even close to other games I've played. My BF2142 installation crashes with BS memory and driver errors about 1/4 rounds. As a software engineer, I appreciate the design behind the game; efficient bandwidth usage, very few bugs which are addressed very quickly for a game, the well thought-out UI design and API, efficient code, a user-friendly interface. Blizzard has done a remarkable job on so many levels.

    Maybe they're pissed that no one wants to play D&D anymore, who knows? But, please, at least concede that WoW is a GREAT game!

  • by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:23PM (#22156916) Homepage Journal

    Well, you could probably only expect so much out of a single game. Probably time for them to start on WoW II.
    WoW II was delivered in December of 2006. It was officially called World of Warcraft patch 2.0.1 and was tied to the release of The Burning Crusade expansion (though it came out a month before the release of the expansion itself). What MMO vendors are starting to realize is that, no matter how disruptive a change to the technology might be, introducing a new game is orders of magnitude more disruptive to their player base (and many will simply never play the new game). This was the case with EverQuest and EverQuest II. People don't play the game for the game after 2+ years, they play it because they've developed a string of social relationships with the other players, and they wish to keep playing with them.

    WoW III will be coming out in the forthcoming months. It will be called either 3.0.x or 2.5.x.

    Incremental change to huge gaming infrastructures will be the wave of the future, not brand new games with the same genre. The only way I could see that playing out differently would be if someone published a game where the characters could be moved about freely between different games and still communicate with others that play the previous games. That would be hard to do right, but could resolve the problem to an extent.

  • Re:ouch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nuzak (959558) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @04:05PM (#22158632) Journal
    Now that's what I call AOE.

    Though from my POV, WOW is really more of a DOT on my bank account. To say nothing of a debuff on my social life.

  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Thursday January 24, 2008 @02:55AM (#22164332)
    I've seen hot chicks talk about their WoW chars so there's some non-geek people on there too.
  • Re:So What? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2008 @12:07AM (#22257908)
    If grinding doesn't require skill, then it's just work. Playing a game for a year just to make enough money to acquire an item of interest makes a game more challenging? Only if the primary measurement is patience.

    If Blizzard changed WoW to allow you to only gain one level a year and increased the experience requirement fifty fold, does that really make the game magically better? Because in order to reach level 60 you'd actually have had to play the game for 60 years STRAIGHT! Now that would be truly hardcore and totally show asians that they are too lazy to play like super hardcore americans!!!

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