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Role Playing (Games) Businesses

World of Warcraft Sales Figures Soar in Europe 57 has the word that the sales figures on release day for World of Warcraft here in the states have been exceeded by the game's European launch. Slagged servers crumpled and the account creation site on the Blizzard Europe homepage was taken down for a few hours on release day. From the article: "According to figures released by the developer, the subscription-based MMORPG sold more than 280,000 units on day one - more than it sold on its first day in the States - before sales rose to 380,000 by the end of its first weekend on sale."
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World of Warcraft Sales Figures Soar in Europe

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  • by deanj ( 519759 ) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @03:41PM (#11680345)
    I can't speak about WoW, but in Everquest, there are a lot of things that go into the game beyond what's there at the initial launch. (I don't count bug fixes, or game mechanic adjustments).

    In Everquest, a lot of things go in. New quests, new gear, new tradeskill items, new spells, new zones open up, etc.

    When a LOT of new stuff goes in at once, they do it as an expansion. Expansions were usually $20-$30. There's an upcoming "expansion" (although it's hard for me to call it that), that will be about $5. It's a very small, targeted sort of thing.

    People that aren't into MMORPG usually see the monthly charge and recoil in horror. I played EQ1 just about exclusively for 5 years. I played nearly no other game during that time. Before that, I'd buy a $50 game every month or so. I spent a lot more on games before EQ, that's for sure.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @04:06PM (#11680652)
    Most companies think of Europe being "just some" market after the US and Asia.

    However, considering many customers hence feel like "second rate", many don't fall for the products.

    Now a good one comes here, not looking like a "cheap" European version of some game (like Mythic -> GOA DAoC), and people are surprised ...

    Thinking seems to be harder than I though.
  • by UDGags ( 756537 ) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @04:20PM (#11680853)
    I doubt they are overcharging gamers. The game sells for $50/$80 but that is not what Blizzard gets back. There are a few middle men/businesses in between that get a good portion of that revenue. I would say that the money they made from the buying of the game covers developement costs or close to it. Let's assume they have 500,000 active accounts per month at $15 a month. That is a total of $7.5 million dollars monthly. They have probably around 200 servers. Their bandwidth I would assume would be extremely large including the game and websites. Buying the servers and maintaining the bandwidth is not cheap. Along with the people running the servers, making patches, secretaries, artists, etc...If you think for a moment at how much each person makes it adds up quickly. They also need to invest in their future so they have money at downtimes. Also as new hardware comes out and games advance servers need to be upgraded. I would agree they are making some money but I do not think it is a huge amount. Plus at $15 a month say you play 1 hr a night that is $0.50 an hour. Most people play more then this. It is not like they are ripping you off.
  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @05:13PM (#11681678)
    What's more, the "correct price" is almost always higher than the minimum price necessary to get everyone to buy the product. For example, a company could give away their product for free, and pretty much everyone who was offered it would take it, but the company would still make more money if they charged a million dollars for it and only one person bought one.

  • by zyzko ( 6739 ) <kari.asikainen@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @05:18PM (#11681774)
    It's great to see WoW being such a great success also in Europe, however Blizzard should really do something about their servers.

    Right now logging in is impossible to many European servers (just check the EU tech support forums...) and people have been experiencing disconnects and signup-problems from day one not to mention the huge queues on some servers.

    The ridiciously short beta and the problems they had in the US should have warranted a more thorough analysis about what is required to serve the big audience. For a subscription (time) -based game this is quite unacceptable.

  • by njfuzzy ( 734116 ) <ian&ian-x,com> on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @05:18PM (#11681781) Homepage
    I think you are confused. Businesses are allowed to make a profit. Taking in more than you spend isn't a crime, it's the *point*. You are confusing capitalism with overcharging.
  • I'm sure they'll append additional playtime to all those who suffer from downtime. They did that for the US server users.

    But yes, they should have learned from their mistake... But I can imagine their thought process.

    "Wow, we did amazingly well in North American, it blew our servers out!"
    "Yeah... let's hope we do half as well in Europe" ...
    "Holy crap, we did even BETTER in Europe... That was unexpected *servers go boom*"
  • by ringbarer ( 545020 ) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @06:01PM (#11682457) Homepage Journal
    I will start this out by saying that if any blizzard fanbois respond to this with a're just trolling and are even more out of line than you consider me to be.

    I will save the whole "my history in mmo's" speech and instead cut to the chase...

    I bought WoW about 3 weeks after release expecting to find a game that does what it says: caters to the hardcore and casual gamers equally. I played WoW for about 2 months only to find out that this game caters to one kind of player: non-mmo vets looking to get their feet wet in the genre. Don't argue's dead on spot true.

    When I first started playing I noticed how this game had phenomenal graphics (anyone who says otherwise is on crack or blind), awesome characters, an immersive world, and many many many different ways to customize your characters skill/abils as well as equipment.

    However, as time marched on I made the following realization about WoW: If I play more than a few hours a day I can ding lvl 60 with virtually NO hold ups. I never have to unlock any zones, never have to do anything in any order.....hell, I don't even have to do a quest to hit the cap. That's not an MMO, that's some kind of RPG/Action hybrid aimed at appealing to what is in fact the average wow gamer: a high school kid who loves the idea of playing an mmo, rotting on the forums etc...but has never succeeded at one before. WoW takes your fifteen bucks and then hands you the key to instant uberness. When I stand around in IronForge I see DOZENS upon DOZENS of people running around at the cap, pissing and moaning about the game being to easy and that they have nothing left to do except retreat old ground. This has got be the first MMO that hit this state in less than 3 months.

    Added, that for a game that boasts PVP and BG content as it's selling points, and as the main things that make it "better" than other mmo's, there's really nothing in the way of purposeful pvp and BG's are probably another 6 months away. And 6 months is realistic....blizz has recently stated that they plan on releasing the first expansion roughly 12 months after release. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say they release it on time...which would be a first for the genre. That's another 9 months out. Ironically...this week blizz has stated that they feel it would be in the game's best interests to hold out BG until that expansion. So, as you see, my stating of 6 months for battlegrounds isn't even realistic, that's how hopeful it is. 9-12 months is much more realistic. Imagine if this is the way it really pans out...there will be half a million lvl 60's with nothing to do, and nothing to make the GREAT and HARDCORE players stand out in any way shape or form. That's not an MMO.

    I understand that you'll point to sales numbers and tell me how wonderful wow is doing...the bottom line is this: It's selling at the rate it is b/c of it's mass appeal. It does something other mmo's have never done, and for the purpose of not ruining the genre like every other gaming genre has had happen to it. It appeals to gamers who really don't belong on an MMO. They want instant gratification, instant uberness, and instant action. Problem with that approach is it always will equal instant burnout within weeks, and at best months.

    Purpose of this thread is not to bash be honest, a part of me is asking for advice on why wow is worth it long term. I own and subscribe to both wow and EQ2 and as of now, I give 100 percent of my time to EQ2 because of the following reasons: I know, that no matter how good I get, or no matter how much progress I make any night...I'm just scratching the matter WHAT I do. There are so many enemies and so many "goals" that people won't even come across for another two years, that I truly feel that I'm one character, in a whole world of heroes. EQ2, EVERY (and I mean EVERY) single thing that you do is recorded on the web as YOUR achievement and then ranks you against all those on your server, as well as all those in th
  • by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <`gro.derdnuheniwydnarb' `ta' `em'> on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @11:53PM (#11685705) Journal
    How could it possibly be construed as over charging?

    They sold over a quarter of a million copies in a day. Things are worth what people will pay for them.

    The only way the customers are ripped off is if a monopoly is being abused, or they are fooled.

    Blizzard doesn't have exclusive MMORPG rights, and they are being upfront about the costs.

    It is not like EA selling shitty football or Sony using their past reputation to trick people.
  • by DerWulf ( 782458 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @08:44AM (#11687578)
    From my personal value standpoint, I have to say this: seeing as no game guarantees a month worths fun and indeed, many 50 games I bought didn't even last 2 weeks for me, I'd say that WoW is a pretty good deal, considering that the first month of online play is free. I just know (and have known from the beta) that I'd certainly enjoy this game longer than 4 weeks. But of course there is no argueing about such things, if the price is to high for you, you're right with not buying it.
  • Re:WoW experiences (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shepuk ( 588339 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:07AM (#11688091)
    > Were Blizzard worried that people were going to
    > buy dozens of copies of the game and make automated
    > scripts to register them all? Oh, the horror, the horror.

    More likely they were worried that people would make automated scripts to brute-force themselves a valid retail code... in which case, smart move by blizzard, imho.
  • by mcbevin ( 450303 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @11:52AM (#11689023) Homepage
    How do you figure they are ripping you off exactly? If a million people are prepared to pay for it using the current pricing scheme, it makes no sense for them to lower the price to appeal to say a few thousand people who take your stance or simply can't afford it, as the total income they'd get would be less, and they're not a charity.

    So accepting they're not a charity, and that their sales figures justify the price, you should accept that the overall price they're demanding is reasonable. Regarding how they balance this price between the monthly fee + initial price, they could of course drop the initial price, but they would then have to raise the monthly fee correspondingly. Or vice versa. But neither option would neccessarily make you any better off. Based on their sales figures, I'd say they've probably found a good balance. Even if the balance could be better, thats just a problem for them and their business model - if they get the balance wrong then less people will purchase the product, however it doesn't equate to them 'ripping' you off.

    For example, I buy very few CDs any more, and won't until the music companies find a more sensible business model (i.e. charging me a monthly fee for unlimited or a large number of album downloads - a business model which makes use of the possibilities the internet provides, and doesn't force me to pay for the unneccessary distribution network and associated costs associated with CDs). However I don't say they're ripping me off by sticking with their old distribution model - rather if anything they're ripping themselves off, as rather than receiving a potentially large monthly fee from me they receive next to nothing.

    By 'refusing to be ripped off' however you're only hurting yourself (presuming you really do like the game and think the total price is worth it for you), as a million other users have already declared that blizzard isn't ripping them off with the prices by purchasing the game so blizzard isn't going to care if you don't buy it.
  • by JavaLord ( 680960 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:27PM (#11689392) Journal
    It's that it has both that pissed me off. If there going to charge me a monthly fee to play the game should have been free or more (in real world logic) $25 - $35. If there going to charge me $55 then I dont want to pay a monthly fee to play. The games a hit though so my opinion is deffinitly in the minority.

    So which do you think should be free, the development of the software, or the updates and maintainence of the servers/game? I agree that it would be nice if there was a digital distribution system ala steam and the software price got knocked down a bit, but the fact remains you must pay for the software development (this game probably was in development for like 3 years) and for the server mantainence and patches. So you pay $15 a month. If you play just 15 hours a month, you are paying a dollar an hour. That is cheaper than a movie, a trip to the arcade, going out to eat in a decent resturant, etc. I don't think the fee is unreasonable.

    Plus, how many players play a lot more than 15 hours a month? I'd bet most people are paying as little as 50 cents an hour to play. Compare that to any arcade you've ever been to.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban