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Posts with tag millions

Guardian talks to Chinese goldsellers and UK buyers

UK paper The Guardian has a look at what life is like at a Chinese goldselling company. It's interesting, but we've basically seen it before -- the small room of young people working almost 24/7 to make and deliver gold in-game, the concerns about worker livelihood and the supposedly large amounts of money going through these businesses (there's one figure quoted of £700m, which is about $980 million, but that's an estimate -- no one really knows how much these companies are making).

But what's really interesting about this piece is that it seems to treat goldselling as more of an "opportunity" than anything else. The people running the companies are making money, the employees are getting a roof over their head and a steady paycheck, and even the guy making the film talks about how governments should start taking a cut of this industry. Nowhere is it actually mentioned that Blizzard considers these companies to be against the terms of service, or that many times the gold obtained by these companies isn't earned through simple grinding, but by hacking, keylogging, and exploiting. Even if (emphasis on the if) these companies are making millions of dollars a year, they're stealing accounts and cheating in-game to do it.

Rowenna Davis also did interviews with both the gold farmer and a player in the UK buying money from him (bannz0red?), but again, there's no insight at all from the player whose account was hacked and bank was looted, or the player who is able to earn as much gold as they need and have a life outside the game (there are plenty of those to go around). Would have been nice to see the issue from players who aren't actually breaking the game's terms of service.

Thanks, Bryn!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Leveling, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW generates half of Acti-Blizz earnings

The folks over at CVG picked up an interesting note on our Activision-Blizzard overlords' 2008 fiscals. According to Arvind Bhatia, World of Warcraft probably generated 30 cents out of each 60 cents per share of earnings. Put another way, that's about $400 million for shares at the end of the fiscal year ending this past December.

Now, this is kind of the best guess of Mr. Bhatia, who works under the firm Sterne Agee. (And they certainly have a reputation that says we could probably believe them.) But even without Sterne Agee's reputation, a little back-of-the-envelope math shows that his analysis probably bears fruit. We already know that WoW has 11.5 million subscribers. At $15 dollars a pop per month, you're already looking at $172 million each month. But we know that a lot of folks have discount plans, and the charge isn't the same across the globe. I can easily believe a $400 million yearly earning from subscriptions, and am actually surprised it's not higher.

Of course, Bhatia has recently lowered some of his other estimates for ATVI, and warns that the consensus estimates predicting $5.2 billion in revenue are probably too high. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, this does say that World of Warcraft is doing just fine. We can feel free to threaten to quit over the latest nerf, the lights're going to stay on while we're out the door.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

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