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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Online gaming: Jedi v Orc | The Economist

Dec 16th 2011, 14:10 by T.C.

CALLING “World of Warcraft” (WoW) a mere video game is seriously underselling it. The virtual world, in which millions of players cooperate to conduct quests, delve into dungeons and slay dragons, is both a commercial and cultural phenomenon.

Released in 2004, the game has now more than 10m active players, each of whom pays a monthly fee ($13-15 in America). Industry analysts estimate that Activision-Blizzard, the game’s publisher, rakes in annual revenues of well over $1 billion from WoW alone. On top of that are sales of “expansion packs” for the game, which come out roughly every two years.

But WoW is not just about playing online. An annual convention in Anaheim, California, called “BlizzCon”, attracts tens of thousands of WoW fans. There are popular sidelines in novelisations, comic books and card games. Occasionally, there is even talk of a film.

Online gaming: Jedi v Orc | The Economist

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