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Blizzard's Warcraft Booty

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-that-kind-of-booty dept.

Role Playing (Games) 69

CNN's Game Over column tackles the big daddy of MMOGs this week, with a column on World of Warcraft's financial success. From the article: "By 11pm on Nov. 22, there were over 4,000 gamers queued up to be among the first to get a copy of 'WoW' (as it has become known). The problem was: there were only 2,500 copies of the game in the store, and no one had thought to hire security for the event. By raiding other nearby locations, the retailer was able to meet demand. And the Blizzard crew knew they had a hit on their hands, one unlike anything they had created before."

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A better solution (1)

Jorkapp (684095) | more than 8 years ago | (#13463947)

Bliz should have offered something similar to Valve with HL2 - some kind of system to let gamers download the game and use their accounts as CD keys. ...

To hell with that, Bliz should have used Steam. Would've saved a whole pile of money on release day. It's got integrated billing, server finding, IM (though shaky), and anti-cheat - why code something yourself when it's already out there?

Re:A better solution (1)

Leiterfluid (876193) | more than 8 years ago | (#13463991)

(to make up for my earlier, retarded post. I had a beavis moment) I agree, when I bought HL2, I really enjoyed having the ability to download content, whenever and wherever I was. I remember there were a lot of people early on in Steam's deployment that complained about its invasiveness, but quite frankly, the fact that I can run and download games from the same account on any of my machines without having to re-enter a CDKey is freakin awesome.

Re:A better solution (1)

DerWulf (782458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464065)

I rember epic threads, all around the internet, that took steam back out to whack it with a two-by-four. Granted, the frustration caused by not being able to play offline, because the online authentication server was down wouldn't arise with WoW. Still, steam would have introduced an other point of failure and whats worse: one that comes before the gameworld.
Also: WoW shipped on DvD, if I recall correctly. I don't like to download this much, especially if the whole civilized world tries to download at the exact same moment ;)

Re:A better solution (1)

HarvardAce (771954) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464192)

Also: WoW shipped on DvD, if I recall correctly. I don't like to download this much, especially if the whole civilized world tries to download at the exact same moment

WoW shipped on 4 CD's (A DVD version may have been available, I never saw one). I am almost positive that HL2 shipped on 4 CD's as well. So the downloads are comparable. What Valve did to help prevent a bottleneck was allow users to download the game before the release date and then on the release date lock it. Remember that there is a good week or more from the time the game goes gold to when it shows up available for purchase in stores.

Re:A better solution (1)

DerWulf (782458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464295)

yeah, true :) .. Still, I can understand blizzards reluctance to out-source what amounts to player happieness. When Steam is down, Blizzard would be the ones hearing about it and loose customers due to it.

Re:A better solution (2, Informative)

yasth (203461) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464904)

They didn't want to sell every possible copy. With the copies they realeased they had enough trouble meeting demand, physical copies in this case served another purpose, to restrict the number of players (at least initially).

Re:A better solution (1)

Zixia (534893) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465978)

And considering that the login servers couldn't cope with demand to authenticate users for about a day after release, I doubt that they had the infrastructure to support mass-quantity downloading of a 5GB game.

Re:A better solution (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13466359)

Well, for one thing, they already got more players than they could handle. More sales probably would not have been a good thing.

For another, remember how pissed Vivendi got about Steam? Guess who publishes Blizzard games.

Here's a lesson I wish more would take to heart... (4, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13463990)

From TFA:
When Blizzard published "Warcraft 3" in mid-2003, it made the conscious decision to chase the Chinese market. China has a very active gaming population, but software piracy runs rampant in the country. Legitimate copies of games sell for what works out to $15 in U.S. dollars. Pirated copies are $1 U.S.

Blizzard, despite the increased piracy it was sure to face, released the game in the country, but opted to drop its retail price to within an "arm's reach" of the pirate price.

"The idea was let's create a real market of authentic players and see if we can change the mindset," said Sams. "Let's see if we can change the mindset by showing we're willing to meet them partway."

The gamble worked. While there were still millions of pirated copies available, Blizzard sold 1 million authorized copies.
Perhaps other software companies should try to meet the users partway...

Microsoft, I'm looking at you.

You too, Adobe.

Meet the user partway in the US as well... (1)

Defiant00 (786745) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464097)

I'll definitely agree with meeting the user partway, but while Blizzard may have done so in China, it would be nice if they would do something similar over here, especially for a game with a monthly fee.

While I understand they need some sort of monthly fee to pay for the new content and work that always goes on in an MMO, what I think is unjustified is the initial $50 for the game. Personally I'd be much more likely to try multiple MMOs if I could pay for a month, download the client and play, and then unsubscribe if I didn't like it.

Of course, if you paid $50 for the game you're probably more likely to stay onboard for a while so you feel like you got your money's worth even if you don't enjoy the game as much as you thought you would, but I suspect overall companies would make more money if there wasn't the initial $50 barrier to get into a game that has a monthly fee. And yes, I realize $50 isn't that much, but I'd much rather just legally download the game and pay monthly than have that startup cost.

And I would just like to point out that this applies to most any game with a monthly fee. I have no problem paying $50 for Guild Wars, since I am not paying them anything beyond that to play. But for games with a monthly fee, having to still pay the full $50 initially seems rather high.

Re:Meet the user partway in the US as well... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464186)

"I'll definitely agree with meeting the user partway, but while Blizzard may have done so in China, it would be nice if they would do something similar over here...

They don't need to do that here, they have better copyright protection. You can bet your bottom dollar that they would sic the dogs on any large-scale piracy operation in the US.

Re:Meet the user partway in the US as well... (1)

Idealius (688975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464847)

You have time to play multiple mmo's?

I stick to the 1 MMO rule.

You can play 2 FPS's.
You can play 1 FPS and 1 MMO.
You can't play 2 MMO's.

They're too time consuming as it is. I couldn't imagine playing two.

Re:Meet the user partway in the US as well... (1)

Defiant00 (786745) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465072)

No, I don't have time for multiple MMOs, but I would probably go and try most of the current ones for a month each if I could just pay the monthly subscription. However, having to pay the initial $50 or so to try an MMO prevents me from doing so.

If I could try an MMO by just paying the monthly fee for a month I would be much more apt to try a few and find one that I really like.

Re:Meet the user partway in the US as well... (1)

toad3k (882007) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465538)

I'm the same, I looked at wow and it looks fun, but I know there is about a 70% chance I won't enjoy it. And I'm not willing to risk the initial investment to find out.

Of course I realize the 50 buck entry fee is there because the distributor wants it that way. Blizzard would sell it for under 20 if they had a choice in the matter.

Re:Meet the user partway in the US as well... (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474550)

play two like WoW, where time logged out nets you double advancement rate once you log back in.

Cheaper Tryout Option (1)

Allaran (557295) | more than 8 years ago | (#13466009)

I completely understand the concern about paying $50 for a subscription-based game that you might not like anyway. I agree that it would be best if you could just download for free. I also believe that the monthly cost should be based partly on time played, but that's another thread. However...

Each purchased copy of the game comes with a 10 day free trial that you can give to a friend. I used this method to sample the game, and knew pretty much within the first hour that I would like it, so hopefully 10 days would be plenty of time to make your decision. Chances are if you are a gamer, you have a friend who plays WoW by now, so I'd hit them up for the free trial if you are on the fence.

Re:Here's a lesson I wish more would take to heart (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464269)

Maybe music and movie companies should try a similar tactic too. I mean how hard is this? I get so sick and tired of hearing them continually complain about slipping numbers and piracy yet they do nothing to try to solve the problem besides suing 13-year olds and their parents.

A little OT but related. I am similarly amazed at how Americans sit and watch the reality shows about rich kids, celebs, musicians showing all their opulence and low IQ's... yet Americans still idolize these people that have IQ's on par with my shoe size and are not at all phazed by the fact that they have to work every day of their lives for a mere pittance while these folks barely fumble through mundane activities without a team of people to help them and then they complain that they are "losing" money.

I wish people could get their pritorities straight and begin to turn things around instead of being content to fund the coffers of these morons and not demand more. Honestly, most pop music and hollywood movies aren't worth the media they come on, I manage to feel cheated when I "waste" a blank CD or DVD that cost me 25-50 cents for most of the crap out there.

Re:Here's a lesson I wish more would take to heart (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464476)

Honestly, most pop music and hollywood movies aren't worth the media they come on,

That's why I buy a good deal of music at used books/music stores. Dead artists (I love jazz from the 40's) can't get the money I spend on new discs. The labels won't see my pennies. But I still buy the regular release of some CDs. Especially if they are independent artists.

Most smaller labels will actualy give artists their share of the profits, rather than hosing them with a massive overhead, and making them pay for services they could get MUCH cheaper elsewhere.

Oh, and I don't buy pop music...

Re:Here's a lesson I wish more would take to heart (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464560)

I don't buy pop music either, but that's not the point. Ever notice how some of those smaller lables don't fight piracy at all, don't have to, and don't care? It's because they have produced a good product that people are willing to pay for. I wouldn't dream of pirating an independant artist like a local Pittsburgh guy named Brad Yoder, I willingly pay him DOUBLE what he's asking when I'm at one of his shows and he is very appreciative. (he generally sells CD's at shows for $5-10) Why would I pirate anything that I can buy for $5 straight from the guy?

Re:Here's a lesson I wish more would take to heart (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465783)

Ever notice how some of those smaller lables don't fight piracy at all, don't have to, and don't care? It's because they have produced a good product that people are willing to pay for.

Just playing devil's advocate: wouldn't the RIAA claim this merely shows that if a label doesn't fight piracy, they can't grow? Maybe if they fought piracy, they'd be a bigger label?

Re:Here's a lesson I wish more would take to heart (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13466467)

I can appreciate the counter-argument, but I still just can't for the life of me ever understand the music industry. When the switch from Cassete Tape to CD came, Cassettes were still cheaper to buy. Even now there is simply no excuse for CD's to be much more than $5-10 tops. The whole thing is that you need to get your product to a price that makes the effort to pirate it a loss. You wil always have people who will pirate stuff no matter what, but if I know that for $5 I get liner notes, art, and a pressed CD all without any time investment on my part I'm all for it! And if the individual starving-artist can sell CD's at $5-10 then there is NO reason anyone else can't.

I'm really tired of seeing all these music and movie stars living in beyond the lap of luxury for doing nothing more than performing. The priorities in this country are quite skewed, and I just wish people put some thought and effort into what they watch and listen to. I mean I hear people say how good of a movie "The Day After Tomorrow" was, that movie was garbage and full of so many things that made no logical sense it was amazing. But I guess some people are able to suspend their belief better than me and/or have no thought process while watching a film. Same with most Pop/rap music. I mean when you stop and think about the premise of most of these "songs" it is about as pointless as can be. I just get fed up with what people accept, and expect these days... it ain't much.

Cash CoW indeed (1)

bartok (111886) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464012)

At over 4 million players multiplied by 15$ a month, that makes 720$ million a year. Almost a billion dollars.

Re:Cash CoW indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13464196)

Considering that Blizzard developed the game for five years, they owe a lot of money. WoW has been out less than a year. Blizzard likely hasn't yet broken even. Oh and those server farms are quite expensive to maintain.

I'm sure someone makes a post like parent once every hour at WoW forums.

Re:Cash CoW indeed (1)

bartok (111886) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464245)

Even if they invested 12$ million a year (a very geerous figure IMO) to develop the game and bought a huge server farm, they'd still break even in a month or two with that many clients.

Re:Cash CoW indeed (1)

Psychor (603391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464281)

Claiming Blizzard haven't broken even is obviously complete rubbish. Lets say they had 100 programmers and artists for a full 5 years (they probably had less). At an average yearly salary of $50,000, over 5 years, that's 25 million dollars. Assuming it costs them $10,000,000 a month for bandwidth and servers (will be much lower), it's still going to take them less than 1 month to break even.

Yes there are some extra distribution/shipping/support costs etc. but these are more than met by the initial income from the boxed game, which will also net Blizzard a vast, vast, profit, probably enough to meet development costs from box sales alone. I think it's pretty clear that even using very pessimistic figures, WoW is a huge Blizzard cash cow.

Re:Cash CoW indeed (1)

Quill_28 (553921) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464325)

Never ran a business huh?

Just because they received $50,000 it will cost the company 50-100 % extra for each employee.

Taxes, health insurance, etc.

I am not saying that Blizzard is not making a lotsa cash, but up the 25 million to 50 million.

I also think an average of 50K is low. So I would once again up the 50 million to 75 million.

Re:Cash CoW indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13464939)

Well consider that it's 4 million subscribers. Everyone bought the box for $50 US or so. It was $90 Cdn for me damn gougers. I cancelled within a month and I know plenty of others that cancelled too so they sold a lot more than 4 million boxes. That pretty much covered their dev costs.

Re:Cash CoW indeed (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464693)

Building lease and maintenance costs, electric bills, computers for all their programmers/artists/developers.... Things stack up, and profit tends to be a lot less than laypeople think.

Re:Cash CoW indeed (2, Informative)

MattW (97290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464305)

Um. How many copies do you think blizzard expected to sell? Do you think that their financial plans for the game were contingent on it being the most successful MMO ever? Not likely.

WoW has been a runaway hit, on a level that I doubt even the most pie-in-the-sky dreamer did not imagine. I'm not a fan; I played it for a couple months, got bored by what felt like repetitive and uninspired play, and quit. But there is no question that WoW is the breakaway hit of recent memory.

Not only is it surely profitable (the development cost was $72M; large, but not really when you think of 4M people buying a box and paying a monthly fee), it is, as the article said, a cash cow. This is the "wildest dreams" scenario.

Re:Cash CoW indeed (1)

Snake98 (911863) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464630)

Don't forget to add in expasions, I played eq, and if you wanted to even have a chance of becoming high level, you had to dump an extra 30-40 bucks ever six months for expansions. That adds on an easy 100$ million. What get's me is that you pay a subscription, buy the game, and you have to buy the expasion, isn't that what the subscription is for, for "improved content" or they say.

Re:Cash CoW indeed (1)

Datasage (214357) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464708)

Thats not quite accurate.

All though they have over 4 million subscribers, the subscription plans vary by region. North America is $15 per month, but i doubt thats the same in Korea or China.

Secondly, operations in China at least have been outsourced to another company. Blizzard still makes money on it, but probably less than they would if they ran it there as well.

Re:Cash CoW indeed (2, Informative)

Tilmitt (856895) | more than 8 years ago | (#13466683)

"At over 4 million players multiplied by 15$ a month, that makes 720$ million a year. Almost a billion dollars."

$720 million is not almost a billion. It's only 72% of a billion. That is no where near "almost" a billion, it is a significant amount less.

New definition of cash cow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13464033)

4 million subscribers X $15 a month works out to just under three quarters of a billion dollars in annual gross revenue from World of Warcraft.


Not unlike... (3, Informative)

KDan (90353) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464039)

Blizzard have had a fair number of hits, excellent games which were very well made and sold many copies. Warcraft 2 was a major hit. Diablo 2 is *still* selling copies. Stacraft - don't get me started. Warcraft 3 itself is hardly a failure. I'd say they're pretty used to publishing successful games. I doubt that WoW's success came as a shock to them.


Development plans (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464131)

FTA: "The gaming grapevine has it that "Diablo 3" was (and may still be) under development - though Blizzard will not confirm that. But given the success and profit of "World of Warcraft," it's not out of the realm of possibility that the company may create persistent world games revolving around its other flagships."

Except, of course, that they'd be competing with themselves.

I could see Blizzard publishing another MMORPG in a different genre, but it would be idiotic of them to publish another fantasy MMORPG until WoW has become a lot less profitable.

Any dilution of their subscriber base will hurt them in the long run... if MMORPG players explore a different product by Blizzard, they are more likely to try a product from a competitor.

IMO, Blizzard's best course of action (in the MMORPG market) is to continue strong support of WoW, publishing new content to keep the subscribers happy.

Re:Development plans (1)

thebosz (748870) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464194)

Alright, so maybe not an MMORPG based on Diablo. But what about an MMORTS based on StarCraft? It'd be enough different from WoW (Sci-Fi, RTS) that it wouldn't be competition with themselves.

Would they be the first to make a successful MMORTS? I think they'd have a good chance, as long as it was done right. Sure, you can play StarCraft online, but in a persistant, story-based setting? There's too many opportunities there to ignore.

Re:Development plans (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464474)

They would still be competing with themselves, just to a smaller extent.

I would love to play a MMORTS if it was done properly, I'd probably not play MMORPGs anymore. I just wouldn't have enough time to advance a character/civilization in both.

This would be a good move for Blizzard when WoW slows down.

Re:Development plans (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465025)

Would they be the first to make a successful MMORTS? I think they'd have a good chance, as long as it was done right.

That was one of my daydreams back in the golden days of UO. It would have to be simplified tactically, but more complex strategically. You'd have to choose carefully where to build walls and defense towers, but controlling every little action of your invasion force (like in Warcraft et al.) would get very tedious. Could be lots of fun to let players carve out their own kingdom. Add a serious political and economic layer, and you've got yourself an addictive game.

Re:Development plans (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#13467542)

One problem with a MMORTS game would be the fact that players control multiple units. With, say, Starcraft, players were restricted to 200 food units (although, if you played Protoss and mind controlled a builder of another race you could get up to 600). And an 8 player game where everyone had maxed out their units started to lag terribly. Just trying to imagine a game server with 1000 people all controlling 100+ units makes my modem cry.

Also, what happens when a player logs off? In MMORPGs, it doesn't really matter because their character can just vanish. In a MMORTS, you don't control a character, you control a whole swathe of geography. Does your part of the world vanish when you drop off?

Then there's the problem that the game can actually be one. In WoW, you can never really win the game, because even if you defeat every single Horde player, they just respawn and start again. In an RTS game, when you destroy a unit, the unit is, well, destroyed. This would mean that eventually one player would amass a huge army, and would be able to just roll over any new players. That's generally what happens in finite-time RTSes anyway. Either that or a number of players build up large armies and theres a apocalyptic final battle. Either way, the game is over.

These are just some problems Ive thought up. Would be cool if someone could solve them though.

Re:Development plans (1)

bartok (111886) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464301)

" if MMORPG players explore a different product by Blizzard, they are more likely to try a product from a competitor."

That sentence doesn't make sense. It's a sure thing that eventually, some players are gonna want to try something else wheter or not Blizzard makes another MMORPG so it's in Blizzard's advantage to try to keep them on a Blizzard game, whatever it is.

Re:Development plans (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464553)

"It's a sure thing that eventually, some players are gonna want to try something else wheter or not Blizzard makes another MMORPG

Which is why Blizzard needs to continue to release novel content -- keep them on WoW for as long as possible.

Do WoW players know there are other MMORPGs out there? Sure. But do they want to spend months leveling a character in that game, to get to where they are in WoW?

If Blizzard keeps producing novel content for WoW endgamers, their subscribers have less incentive to switch to a new game. Blizzard will retain its market share.

This is very similar to the cell phone industry. Much cheaper to retain subscribers than it is to find new ones.

Re:Development plans (1)

Mirlas (760973) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465275)

This response seems to exhibit a troubling assumption: that the "real fun" of an MMORPG comes after all the levelling is over, not in the process of levelling itself. That may be the case in most MMORPG's, but it is not good game design. The game should be fun at all levels and stages of character development, and the "new content" should address all levels and stages of character development. Also, a significant part of WoW's player base are new to the MMO genre. A number of them, myself included, play WoW because they trust Blizzard to do it well and because it promised to not be a "typical" MMORPG in some respects, specifically, the level grind was not the primary focus of the game. I think that Blizzard should capitalize on this atypical audience and design games to fit them. I would definitely play another Blizzard MMORPG before I would consider switching to another brand, as long as it provided a compelling game play experience from level 1 to n, with a good storyline to back it up.

Re:Development plans (1)

Low2000 (606536) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464768)

Which brings up another problem... ... If I was Blizzard, I would be afraid to release a Diablo 3. A lot of the people who play WoW used to play Diablo 2 but are now tired of it.

I'd say if they release a non subscription, Diablo game they would still be competing with themselves and whats worse, competing with a product that potentialy brings in less money. Only unit sales and not a subscription.

I predict Diablo 3 will eather be changed significantly so that it does not overlap with WoW fans, or that will will utilize a fee to operate on Bnet.

Re:Development plans (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465065)

You've hit the nail on the head.

The only way I could see them releasing Diablo III in the near future is if they set up a subcription service for all their online content. I see it operating similar to cable TV pricing structures:

$15 a month for all the "basic" games.
$10 a month for each "premium" game account.
$ALOT for all premium games.
Can't get the premium games without paying for the basic games.
When subscriptions for a premium game drop off, relegate the game to "basic" status.

If they provide good enough content, people will pay -- especially if they team up with other, non-competing, developers to offer diversified content.

Re:Development plans (1)

JVert (578547) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464820)

If they could create another development team that could take a manageable portion of the wow game, and recreate another genre game it would make sense for the blizzard style of small teams working to create big projects.

If players could play both games for a heavy discount they could keep the game from cannibalizing itself.

If they could just fix the PVP system so people could actually find a battleground easier then guildwars. Maybe they wouldn't find themselves developing an industry with a hunger they can't fullfill and watching them flock to inferior games that deliver what was expected. Mr ultima said this a while ago, and I see it more and more.

Re:Development plans (1)

Knetzar (698216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465188)

And then allow starcraft characters to go into warcraft. "My zealot will kill your orc."

Re:Development plans (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465388)

My only problem with that approach is that the other genre game would feel too much like WoW.

If Blizzard publishes another MMORPG, the gameplay needs to be innovative -- otherwise subscribers will still leave.

Are they or aren't they evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13464292)

Well, yesterday Blizzard was evil [slashdot.org], I guess today they're good?

Slashdot hypocracy at its best. Or worst. Or whatever.

No one said we should be playing (1)

MattW (97290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464320)

The article said the game is hugely popular; not that we should be playing.

Personally, I want to know how many of the 4 million accounts are chinese gold farmers who will move on to other games as demand for gold dries up.

Re:No one said we should be playing (1)

darkmayo (251580) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464607)

Demand for gold will never dry up.. but the ability of farmers to play for hours on end farming will with that new Chinese legislation that will limit the amount of time that can be played on these MMORPGs. The gaming companies are already on board (since they they had agree to various provisions in the first place to be allowed into the chinese market) and while I feel sorry for the legit Chinese players I wont miss the farmers if they do pack there bags.

Re:No one said we should be playing (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465097)

The farmers will not be bound by this limitation. I absolutely guarantee it. The legislation will divide WoW players into two classes: Those who are limited to playing five hours a day (which is supposed to be everybody in China) and those who are not. The farmers will ensure the system places them in the second classification. They will do whatever fraud is necessary to ensure this is so.

Chris Mattern

Re:No one said we should be playing (1)

PreviouslySeen (714752) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465204)

Well, assuming they dont find ways around the time limit (multiple accounts etc), these farmers will be soon be replaced by others. (unfortunately).

$60,000,000 a MONTH! (2, Interesting)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464393)

$60 Freakin Million A MONTH is what they are basically making with WoW. $14.99 x 4 million users. Now I'm sure it is a bit less overall, but honestly what other business affords this type of income in the gaming industry? It is almost obscene.

I was really hoping Guild Wars was going to be a runaway hit, it kind of has been popular due to the no monthly fee but after just a couple months people are GLAD to pay for a better more immersive game. Kind of had the opposite effect unfortunately.

I just wish a MMO could debut with a reasonable fee like $4.99 a month or even a tiered approach: $2.99 a month for 20 hours, 4.99 for 40hrs., 9.99 for unlimited. That way normal folks who work, sleep, bathe, date, etc. could play and not feel like they are getting ripped compared to the 1337 24x7 players. I mean I may get to log on and play 20-30 hours a month max, If I could pay a variable rate with a upper-end cap I'd be glad to. Months where I'm away or only get on for 5 hours should not cost me the same as a month where I play every day. There has to be better business models, but what incentive is there for MMO companies to even try?

Re:$60,000,000 a MONTH! (1)

omnispace (792135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465152)

Have you tried Tibia? http://www.tibia.com/ [tibia.com] You can play for free, however certain areas and skills are only for premium players. A premium costs about $40 for 6 months, about $6 a month.

Re:$60,000,000 a MONTH! (1)

Morinaga (857587) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465840)

At this point there is little doubt that Blizzard is doing very well. However, the math isn't always that simple and the profit structure behind the revenue is even more complicated.

$15 a month is very simplified, that's the fee for a month to month subscription. There are price points for three month and six months subscriptions that are less than that. No monthly payment plan is at a 100% return rate. You have bankruptcy, challenged payments (on credit cards), general default, collection issues and simple fraud. In the grand equation of 60 million a month vs 50 million what's the difference? Well, perhaps not much but for those MMO games that walk a much tighter line between revenue and expenses it can be a very big deal.

On these very boards the owner and operrator of Meridian 59 posted several times on the realities of expenses MMOs and what they have to deal with regarding infrastructure and the unique challenges they face in supporting it. http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=140914&c id=11811417 [slashdot.org]

He comments specifically regarding WOW and has some very insightfull thoughts on how the cost structure really works. Explore that parent thred and you'll find several more detailed posts on the costs associated with MMOs. Someone in this thred mentioned a 74 million dollar production cost. That's a very large investment risk. Sure, you can point to the Everquests and the World of Warcrafts as huge financial successes. Just as you could point to Titanic instead of Waterworld in the movie industry.

I was at the launch (2, Informative)

PhosterPharms (748413) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464753)

And it was insane. I was one of the first people in the door because one of my rugby teammates had set up camp near the front of the line. When three more of us showed up to join him no one really said anything. There were seriously a ton of people though. The line wrapped all the way around the store and out into the parking lot twice, and then snaked down the road into a residential area. The doors opened at midnight, and I heard some people didn't get in until four or five in the morning.

The whole thing was more than worth it though. I have a Collector's Edition box signed by the whole dev team, and the night was a lot of fun in and of itself talking to people about what servers they were going to be on and what classes they were going to play and whatnot. There was also a lot of chat about whether or not they were going to run out of games (which they did), and there was even a Tauren walking around trying to get people to make the best warcry.

If you want to see some pics from the launch, check out Blizzard's report on the launch here. [worldofwarcraft.com]

Re:I was at the launch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13467648)

When three more of us showed up to join him no one really said anything.

I think I speak for all polite people in saying:
You rude asshole, I hope karma bites you in the ass one day.

Genius! (1)

warmgun (669556) | more than 8 years ago | (#13464986)

FTA: "It's a global hit - and every publisher in the industry is furiously trying to figure out how to replicate it."

The trick to all this is so simple, so of course the big developers can't figure it out: just make a good game. What differentiates WoW from it's competitors is that it is a well produced, well thought out game. If developers put as much time into producing good products, then themoney will follow. It's that simple.

Re:Genius! (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 8 years ago | (#13465421)

not only that, but it comes from a rich and popular franchise, and from a company with a reputation for only releasing fun and incredibly well polished products.

Re:Genius! (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 8 years ago | (#13466131)

not only that, but it comes from a rich and popular franchise, and from a company with a reputation for only releasing fun and incredibly well polished products.
That point seems irrelevant. The success is from ppl coming in from OUTSIDE the traditional Blizzard fanbase. Reputation doesnt mean any more than the genre (See Sony's Star Wars). Fun matters. That being said, WoW could have been better (another grind?) but, in the face of other Mediocrity (see Dungeon Seige 2), it shines.

Re:Genius! (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 8 years ago | (#13470646)

well it certainly brought in a lot of players who had never played a mmorpg before, but i think most had played some incarnation of starcraft, warcraft, or diablo in the past.

I decided last week... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13466308)

If I was ever to somehow "inherit" the rights to a moderately popular MMORPG, I'd probably spend the next year or so pulling all sorts of money-grabbing stunts to see how long it would take for every last player to drop their subscription.

It would start off small, like a gradual inflation in monthly fees, then maybe charging for special weapons and spells. It would probably escalate to the point where players would need to pay a fee in order to reach a certain experience level. Maybe I'd make players "buy" a bigger wallet in order to hold enough money to purchase decent in-game items. I'd probably top it off by filling the game with tons of blatant,obtrusive advertising.

Most players would inevitably quit, but I'd make a fortune doing it. And I suspect that a sad few would hold on to their accounts for far longer than common sense would dictate.

Disclaimer: This isn't meant to be a complaint/satire/whatever about Blizzard, just MMORPGs in general. From what I've seen, Blizzard has done a pretty good job with WoW (comparatively), but as far as I'm concerned, the entire genre is a massively multiplayer scam.

heh (2, Insightful)

Solikawa (604301) | more than 8 years ago | (#13466804)

It would be nice if they turned that money around and put it back into the friggin game. The servers suck, the PvP system sucks and the game is buggy as hell.

Make that $59,960,000 addition to your bank account work for its self. It is BS that is has such ultimate potential and can suck so much.
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