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World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (PC)
at 3:08AM PST on January 24, 2009.
RE: How WoW works in China
When Burning Crusade launched in China, it was bundled with the CD-Key (i.e. activation) for the main game.
So any new players post Burning Crusade launch would automatically have access to the BC expansion.
However, and this is a big however IMO, if a player already had a CD-Key fo WoW, they would
have to purchase another one for the expansion. Even if they had not played WoW for a while. Presumably this move was designed to retain and re-attract old players.
If this situation is extended to the Lich King (and I've seen no confirmation of this, I just expect it to be) then 13.5m registered accounts would never have to purchase a CD-Key for the expansion but any new subscribers that get into WoW would automatically have "bought" it.
Now for sure, if you are expecting 4-5m
accounts in the region post the expansion's launch (i.e. double existing subscribers with new players) there's every right to be bullish on this but it's litterally going to take that many just to reach 12m or so even if you assume 70% of WoW subscribers everywhere else make a purchase (as China seems to represent approximately 1/3 of the userbase.)
As well as The Lich King expansion has done, it's only sold 500k more in it's first month or so than Burning Crusade despite the number of current subscribers being 11m vs 8m. Now that's not necessairly as straight-forward as it sounds, there maybe a few caveats to it but it's the only real solid data point that we have at present.
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