PC News

WoW surpasses five-million

Festive joy at Blizzard

There are now more people playing World of Warcraft then live in my home country of Scotland. Blizzard's phenomenally successful MMO has reached yet another mind-boggling milestone. There are now over five million people subscribed to WoW, so many people that if you stacked them on top of each other you would have a very wobbly human tower that would probably stretch out of the planet's upper atmosphere.

WoW was released just over a year ago in North America and Australia. In the intervening times it has gone on to successfully appear in Europe and Asia. More fresh subscribers have joined the fight from the new territories of Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong. A release on the International Space Station is expected this April.

World of Warcraft's dominance of the online world looks in no imminent danger. When you acknowledge that the five million mark excludes players from freebie trials and cancelled or expired accounts WoW's market lead looks insurmountable and is surely a very daunting figure for any MMO developer looking to make some money from their latest endeavours. Unless the upcoming expansion takes as long as some fear (late 2006 is the only date given so far) as well as introducing the kind of game-breaking 'enhancements' that brought about the fall of SWG the lands of Azeroth will continue to be the most heavily populated virtual universe in history.

Mike Morhaine, president and co-founder of Blizzard had these words to say: "World of Warcraft's growth continues to exceed all our expectations. We want to reiterate our thanks to the millions of players worldwide and to all the retailers who have enthusiastically supported the game over the past year. Our commitment to continue growing World of Warcraft is stronger than ever, with development on future content patches and on our 2006 expansion, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, well underway. We look forward to offering even more content for current customers in the months ahead and welcoming new players into the world this holiday season."