Print 116 comment(s) - last by curiousgeorgie.. on Nov 25 at 9:41 PM

Wrath of the Lich King breaks day one sales records

When it comes to the world of video games on the PC, some of the most popular games available are MMORPG titles. These same titles also offer the most profitability for the game studios thanks to monthly subscriptions and intense fan bases for the titles.

Blizzard recently launched the second expansion pack for the wildly popular World of Warcraft MMO called Wrath of the Lich King. Blizzard officially acknowledged this week that Lich King has broken the sales record to become the top selling PC game ever in its first 24 hours of release.

Lich King sold a whopping 2.8 million copies in its first 24 hours of availability. Interestingly, the previous first place for day one sales was the first expansion pack for World of Warcraft called The Burning Crusade.

The subscriber base for World of Warcraft is massive at 11 million players globally making the title the crown jewel in the Blizzard games catalog. Blizzard says that over 15,000 stores opened at midnight globally to participate in the launch of Wrath of the Lich King.

Unlike some popular midnight launch events, there are no reports of anyone being shot waiting to get a copy of the game. However, one boy in Europe did collapse after playing the expansion for 24 hours straight without taking a break or eating. Some UK officials and parents fear that the game is too addictive for young players to handle.

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RE: First
By ThePooBurner on 11/25/2008 1:19:28 AM , Rating: 2
One thing you fail to take into account is history. Lets look at some facts that were relevant to the time when the game came out:
1) All MMOs charged 15$/month period.
2) The largest subscriber base ever reached on any MMO was 400,000 subscribers
3) It took 10 years to reach that number.
4) WoW had been in development for around 5 years.

Looking at this information Blizzard decided
1) They should also charge 15$
2) They should plan on having 400K subscribers in around 2 years
3) We have spent a crapload of money on development and servers and BANDWIDTH and want to recoup it while also developing more content, maintaining the servers, and hiring a huge support staff to provide 24/7 support to customers.

When the game came out they had server capacity for 400K people, which they thought would give them plenty of time to expand. They had 250K at the end of the first 24 hours, and 500K by the end of the week and 1 million by the end of the month. The game was wildly more sucessful than anyone could have anticipated. They had to buy more servers, and fast, and hire more support staff fast, and they needed more bandwidth and fast. Getting all of those things, fast, takes a lot of money. For those around at the beginning we all remember the lag and the poor gaming experience that was to be had because the servers could not handle the load at all, the poor response times to problems, and the really long maintenance periods where they had to move their entire infrastructure to a new location that could handle the bandwidth demands. Blizzard also doesn't outsource and does everything in house. This means they also needed more office space. Office space isn't cheap. They have since moved into a much larger location than they used to be.

Also since the game came out they have added even more servers, more locals, more translations, Upgraded the servers to the point where 3 times the previous max load is now considered a light load (that is a very big and costly upgrade), added loads of new content, 2 expansions, as well as started development of 3 new games, hired more and more people, and much much more.

So sure, they may be making a shload of money, but they are also spending a lot of it. Not all of it, that would be stupid to not leave yourself plenty of cash on hand, but still a good chunk of it goes to operating expenses. And they may be making a lot more than they ever thought they would. Does the fact that the product was more sucessful than anticipated (allowing for more freedom to do what they do best, make more games) mean they are obligated to change their profit plan? No. If 11 million people think 15$ (or 13$ if they buy 6 months at a time) a month is worth paying, why should they lower the price? If the product sells extremely well in its current price bracket and continues to set new sales records there is no reason for them to change what so ever. On the contrary they have been enabled to do what they haven't ever before been able to do: making 4 games concurrently. Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, WoW & Co, and the unannounced but confirmed to exist MMO set in a new gaming universe for the company. Previously they had 2 games going at once, max. With the new source of revenue the success WoW has brought they have been enabled to do more of what we want them to. Make good, quality, entertaining games. They still support and make patches for all their other titles still too.

Sure i may be padding the companies pockets, but i do that no matter what product i buy. Also, with them i know for fact that they are going to do with my money what i want them to: Make more games that i love. I can't say the same about many other companies.

What we have here is the laws of economics and capitalism working at their finest. *Everyone* is happy. I get to play great games, the employees of the company get to make great games (which they love to do). It's win win.

RE: First
By elgueroloco on 11/25/2008 10:24:55 AM , Rating: 2
I totally agree. Blizzard puts out a great product, and paying for it enables more great products. I can't even count all the happy hours I've spent playing Blizzard games with friends and family. Blizzard is one company I don't mind giving money to.

As for the value, think about this: A movie ticket is $10.50 where I live. Add popcorn and a drink and it's easily $15.00. An average movie lasts 1.5 hrs. So, going to the movies, you get 1.5 hrs for $15. Playing WoW, you get pretty much as many hours as you want for a whole month for $15. Much better value, IMO.

RE: First
By ThePooBurner on 11/25/2008 2:11:14 PM , Rating: 2
I think the best math I have to support this is the following:
All my characters= ~100 days played time.
(14*15$=210$)/(100*24=2400hrs)= 8.75 cents per hour of entertainment. That isn't counting all the free time i've been given as compensations either. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

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