Can WoW Be Free Now?

17 09 2008

I found THIS ARTICLE to be interesting indeed.  The juicy part of this article is that Blizzard announced that over the last five years it has only cost them $200 million in upkeep.  Now at first glance this looks like a lot, but let’s put things into perspective.  5 years is 60 months.  World of Warcraft currently has something like 10 million subscribers (I think it’s actually about 12 mil now) paying about $15 a month.  (They can pay $1 or $2 less if they pay for multiple months at a time)

So this is about $150 million they are making a month.  150*60=9000.  So they’ve made $9 billion dollars from monthly fees alone.  So in other words, only about 1% goes to upkeep.  Interesting.

Update: Let’s look at something else, shall we?  How many subscribers, paying $15 a month, would they need to break even after five years?  Well, $200 million divided by the 60 months is about $3, 333, 333.33.  Not divide this by $15 (for the monthly fee), and you get 222,222.22 which would round to 222,223 subscribers.  They currently have more than 10 million.  I’d say they did Ok.

Now let’s look at one final thing.  What if they took a method like Guild Wars did and only charged for the main game and expansions.  Well, $50*$10 million gives you $500 million.  Then you can pretty much double that considering the Burning Crusade expansion pack.  Again, looks like they would be Ok.  Hmmm…it does seem like the subscription model isn’t necessary.

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5 responses

17 09 2008
Tesh

No surprise there. I’ve written a few times positing that not only could WoW be free now, but that it should be. I have an inherent distaste for the subscription model, and something like this underlines the gross imbalance that it causes.

To be fair, non-American subscribers don’t wind up paying quite as much for subscriptions because of distribution deals and currency differences, but the numbers are still staggeringly lined up on Blizzard’s side. It’s blatant leeching, and it is warping the genre.

17 09 2008
22 09 2008
Telythugy

Just like Tesh said, non-American don’t pay to play, so I would really like to know what the numbers are for American players only paying $15 a month.
What I really want to know is if Americans are really the only ones paying, are we paying for the upkeep of the game and servers so other can play for free? Is the rest of the world playing on our money?

22 09 2008
lukargo

Actually, Europeans do pay to play. (Or at least that’s what it looks like after browsing their forums.) And between the US and Europe, that’s probably more than 70% of their players.

I must agree however, that the subscription model sucks. Something tells me WoW would be doing fine with a model more like Guild Wars, considering the fact their number of subscribers would likely jump. I know I’d play WoW more if I didn’t have to pay monthly.

5 11 2008
chase

i play on EU… and yes of course we have to pay and more, Euro is the european currency as ye probably know! if america has to pay 15 dollars monthly we should be paying 11 euros because they’re the same.. but we pay 15 euro which is the same as 19 dollars.. lol get me? ^^

anyways ya we do have to pay! 😀

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