Feeds

World of Warcraft upkeep costs only $200m

Total. Since 2004

Security for virtualized datacentres

Blizzard Entertainment is indisputably making money hand-over-fist with its massively popular online RPG, World of Warcraft. But surely maintaining a game with some 10 million active subscribers worldwide takes a serious bite out of profits?

Not so, according to Blizzard on its Analyst Day conference call on Tuesday. The game maker said it has spent only $200m (~ £110.24m) on upkeep since the game launched in 2004.

That $200m figure apparently includes payroll for the entire staff, hardware support, and customer service. The news comes care of gaming blog Kotaku

While Blizzard doesn't say exactly how much it makes off WoW, let's try to put that into some perspective.

Blizzard estimates the game has over 10 million subscribers worldwide. Rates depend on the region, and things like free guest passes and discounts make things tricky. But let's use a conservative three quarters of that figure to play around with - 7,500,000 users paying month-to-month - and let's say their monthly subscription rate is $15 (the US rate).

That would mean the company is pulling in a total $112.5m every month. That's $1.35bn (~ £743.5m) per year in revenue from subscription fees alone.

Not bad for a four-year investment of only $200m.

And of course, that $1.35bn number may rise to new heights with the release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack in November.

Sure there's plenty of other revenues - and expenses - that factor into the equation, but the point is that Blizzard has hatched itself a golden egg. Or [Azerothian Diamond] perhaps (no wait, those are pretty much vendor trash nowadays.)

Let's beat this dead horse. Consider The9, owner of six of China's fastest privately-owned computers and regional publisher and server host of WoW in that country. In August, the company said it earned $66.3m in its second quarter. About 90 per cent of those earnings were from running WoW.

Basically, you're in the wrong racket. Quit your day job and make the world's most popular online game instead. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.