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World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (PC)
at 3:13PM PST on February 10, 2010.
RE: Blizzard: WoW's stopped growing at 11.5m
Subscribers do not equal sales. (i.e. more people will have bought / played WoW than there will be *current* subscribers
On the other hand, not all subscribers, current or otherwise will have bought the expansion packs
The 11.5m figure includes China, where the game currently can't sign new customers and has been offline for long periods in the last FY. Blizzard do not break down subscribers by region, so it's possible that any reduction in Chinese subscribers has been offset by growth elsewhere (i.e. WoW is still growing outside China). However, he did also mention that China was 50% of the userbase in the same call which is consistent with what it was before so perhaps that hasn't changed.
And yes, that's 50% of subscribers (and is reasonable to assume sales) that haven't "bought" Wrath of the Lich King yet. It's not coming out any time "soon" and the Chinese authorities are not going to start playing nice, just ask Google. How many players will have lost interest or gone on to StarCraft II by the time they get this sorted? (forgetting the still slim but not impossibile chance they might not)
Even though China is 50% of subs, it's in the mid-single digits range of WoW's revenue, so it's not the priority for Blizzard it might appear. That said, it's very much a priority for NetEase who essentially bet the farm on it.
You'll keep buying this up anyway but food for thought.
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