Friday, September 08, 2006

Warcraft Conquers The World

Less than two years after its introduction, World of Warcraft, made by Blizzard Entertainment, is on pace to generate more than $1 billion in revenue this year with almost 7 million paying subscribers and has become the first truly global video game hit since Pac-Man in the early 1980s, The New York Times reported.

That makes the massively multiplayer online role-playing game one of the most lucrative entertainment media properties of any kind, the newspaper reported. Almost every other subscription online game, including EverQuest II and Star Wars: Galaxies, measures its customers in hundreds of thousands or even just tens of thousands.

Warcraft has more players in China, where it has engaged in co-promotions with major brands such as Coca-Cola, than in the United States: There are more than 3 million players in China and slightly fewer than 2 million in the United States. And as with most video games, a clear majority of players worldwide are male.

There is also a rabid legion of fans in South Korea, which has the world's most fervent gaming culture, and more than a million people play in Europe.

Since the game’s introduction in November 2004, the company has expanded to more than 1,800 employees from around 400. Almost all of the additions have been customer-service representatives to handle World of Warcraft players.

There are servers customized for six written languages: English, both simplified and traditional Chinese, Korean, German and French. Spanish is in development.

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