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Posts with tag analyst

Study: MMOs bringing in $1.4 billion a year

If America's bankers want to get back into Moneytown, apparently they could do a lot worse than designing a hit MMO -- a study by a group named Screen Digest says that the MMO market is hotter than ever. After dropping down to a total of $701 million in 2008, games like World of Warcraft are seeing their revenues rise again, up to a total of $1.4 billion. And not surprisingly, WoW is still leading the charge -- while their overall market share is dropping very slightly, from 60% of the market down to around 58%, they're still making more money than ever. And while other games are picking up some numbers, according to Screen Digest, they're not really stealing players from Azeroth -- they're actually pulling new MMO players in.

Which is understandable -- during times of economic downturn, online games like MMOs are actually positioned to do very well. Why spend $15 on one night at the movies when you can spend it on a whole month of entertainment? World of Warcraft may have brought the MMO monster to the surface, but according to numbers like these, this is a game genre that's going to be extremely popular (and profitable) for a long time to come.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Making money

Analyst: Wrath will sell five million copies

Here's our first analysis of Wrath sales (actually second, if you count Mike Morhaime's take on the subject): someone thinks it's going to sell big. Gamasutra reports that Mike Hickey of Janco Partners is predicting sales of five million copies for Wrath's first month in stores, which would basically make it the most popular expansion pack of all time. Burning Crusade, a pack that just barely beat out The Sims, sold 2.4 million copies in the first 24 hours, and 3.5 million within the first month, and so Hickey is looking at a little less than double that for the Northrend expansion.

Huge numbers indeed, and yet they don't seem that surprising -- WoW's population has grown since Burning Crusade was released for sure, and while pretty much everyone agrees that not all players will be buying the expansion right away (our own informal poll has about 13% of our readers waiting, not to mention all of the players in other markets around the world), but if even 1/4 of WoW's 11 million players decide to pick up the game on launch, we're still looking at 2.75 million copies, more than BC.

No matter what, Blizzard will make a lot of money, and very likely break all records anyway next week. Wrath of the Lich King will be huge.

[via BigDownload]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Activision doing well, Blizzard has spent $200M in upkeep on WoW

Activision Blizzard (the parent company of Blizzard Entertainment) held an Analyst's Day earlier this week (in which a bunch of stock analysts sit down to crunch numbers and predict the future), and they came out of it really well -- according to those in the know, Activision Blizzard is set to do very well in the future. Buoyed by Blizzard and their other big franchises (do we have to name them by now? Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, etc.), 99% of analysts give the stock a "Buy" or "Hold" rating, and many were impressed with what Activision told them about their releases in 2009.

And we got another interesting insight into just what kind of money Blizzard is looking at -- they reported on the call that since 2004, they've spent $200 million on the upkeep of World of Warcraft alone. That includes things like payroll, customer support, and hardware updates, of which there have been plenty of those. $200 million does seem like a lot, but of course when you consider just how much revenue they've pulled in via subscriptions (ten million players paying up to $15 a month, though Blizzard has all kinds of different subscription plans around the world), $200 million over four years isn't all that much.

We're told, though, that that money doesn't include any development costs (pre-release, and we're not sure if it includes patch/expansion development or not, either). And it certainly doesn't include Blizzard-wide costs, like their new HQ, or what they spend on advertising, promotion, and those big events held around the world. There's no question, however, that there's plenty of money coming both in and out of Blizzard's doors.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Making money, Hardware

Analyst: Activision is a better investment than EA

We'll start this one off with the caveat that these days, you can find an analyst to tell you anything you want, so just in case you want to hear that Activision is apparently a "better investment" than Electronic Arts, Deutsche Bank analyst Jeetil Patel is your man. He says that Activision (the company that's merging with Vivendi/Blizzard, doncha know) is "way ahead" of its big competitor EA in terms of profitability.

His comments are more of an attack against EA than a compliment for Activision, however -- he mentions Call of Duty and Guitar Hero as big franchises for Activision, and they are, but he doesn't say a word about the Blizzard merger at all. And on the EA side, he leaves Rock Band off the list completely (EA is distributing it, not publishing it), and makes no mention at all of Madden or any of EA's other big franchises). Plus, he's been down on EA for a long time.

In short, this isn't going to change anyone's mind. If you're a fan (or stockholder) of Activizzard, then great, there's a bright future in it for you. And if you're not, and you'd rather embrace EA, this guy is just biased enough that he's not going to change your mind. But we're all for competition anyway -- it can be good games time now?

[via Joystiq]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Making money

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