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Posted by: Matt Vella on January 22
Blizzard Entertainment announced today that its juggernaut MMO, World of Warcraft, has reached 10 million subscribers. The announcement is a note to would-be competitors – listen up Age of Conan, Pirates of the Burning Sea, and Warhammer Online* – the 800 lbs. gorilla keeps getting bigger.
Not only does that subscriber number far surpass the proportions fathomed by MMO-makers pre-WoW, but Blizzard also clarified what the company means by “subscriber.” Specificity further underlines the credibility of the 10 million figure. (The number doesn’t include unused pre-paid cards, for instance.) Blizzard also noted that the game’s first expansion, The Burning Crusade, was the best-selling PC game of 2007, holding the record for fastest-selling PC game of all time. Nearly 2.4 million copies flew off store shelves in its first 24 hours it was available.
Writing this, it strikes me how much WoW seemed like a side project when it was originally announced. Compared to the massive popularity of Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft, it seemed, well, marginal. Of course, now the blockbuster title far overshadows any of those franchises. For the time being, in any case.
[*Note: For more on potential WoW killers, check out this great Wired piece.]
No longer child's play, the booming global games market is worth billions of dollars. In Games, Inc., BusinessWeek Innovation writer Matt Vella and Tokyo correspondent Kenji Hall analyze emerging business trends in video games and interactive entertainment. They’ll examine everything from button-mashing, chart-topping, console games to serious games commissioned by big corporations to train staff. They’ll also map the evolution of expansive virtual worlds and go behind the strategies at companies that are turning play into big business.