China’s Rise in WoW

Posted by awolfe :: Emerging Business Models | Online Gaming

World_of_warcraft_the_burning_crusade_sm There are a lot of people in China.  Most of them are poor. The CIA Fact Book estimates there are 1.3 trillion people in China, with an average gross domestic product per-person of $7,600 (in purchasing parity, so the real figure would be lower).  Of all these people, Next-Generation estimates that 0.6% are World of Warcraft players.  (I think that’s probably a little high, but let’s continue for a moment.)

That means that nearly half of the world’s 8 million WoW subscribers are in China (3.5 million). 

All I can say is, “holy crap! Really?” Are there really more Chinese-based players than US?  I’ve heard about people setting up accounts in China for mercantile purposes, but it that industry really this big? I would think if it was, it would wreak havoc on the gameplay, so I have to assume that the vast majority of the 3.5 players are legitimate gamers.

If that’s the case, Blizzard’s deal with online game operator The9 to bring The Burning Crusade expansion pack to China should be a very profitable venture.

In the end, I guess we all know why China recently made the cover of Adweek: there are a lot of people in China, and it only takes a fraction of a percentage point worth of them buying your product to double your sales.


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