Buried within another press release about the development of a Spanish language version of World of Warcraft (WoW), Blizzard Entertainment has announced that the popular massively multi-player online game is truly massive. WoW now has topped six million players which is up 500,000 from just over a month ago when we reported on January 19 that the game has 5.5 million active players.
According to Blizzard, “World of Warcraft’s European customer base is currently at more than 1 million players, with the worldwide total now at more than 6 million players.” Blizzard said it does not include free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled accounts in their figures.
In an effort to curtail long wait queue times to enter certain servers, Blizzard temporarily suspended new character creation on several realms a few weeks ago. This for the most part has been successful and players are not seeing the 30+ minute wait times they did in January 2006. In addition, many players are sticking around for the upcoming 1.10 patch which will include weather effects, talent changes for Priests and several new armor sets.
As more people sign on to play, WoW is increasingly being played by mainstream techies and even executives. A recent PC Magazine article even compared WoW to golf, a place where people in power can get together to exchange ideas and deals.
The success of WoW has helped Blizzard’s parent company Vivendi Universal Games turn around its balance sheet. In 2005, the company earned $49 million Dollars, which is a significant improvement over the $242 million Dollar loss in 2004.