WoW Factor

6:00 PM -- The World of Warcraft expansion, The Burning Crusade, sold 2.4 million copies in the first 24 hours of its life, WoW owner Blizzard Entertainment announced today.

BC retails for $40 a shot, so that's a $96 million revenue day. To put it in geek perspective, that's nearly twice the opening-day take for Revenge of the Sith (which was about $50 million).

Blizzard doesn't get every dime of that, since you can buy the game elsewhere. (Right now, you have to; the Blizzard site says they're out of stock.) But just to have fun with the numbers... The games division of Vivendi , Blizzard's owner, reported third-quarter revenues of €182 million ($237 million). One day of BC is equal to about 40 percent of an entire quarter.

Now, FiOS TV and U-verse certainly are worthy projects. But their big triumphs are tied to future demand. In the here-and-now, there's a not unrelated revenue stream already flitting across the network. Yes, casual games make up more total revenue than massively multiplayer fare. But WoW represents a kind of brand and audience that, so far, the big carriers can't tap.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 3:15:58 PM
re: WoW Factor I just read somewhere that something like 0.1% of the world's population plays WoW. And not only are they paying $40 a shot, but they continue to pay $15/month.

Too bad WoW (rather ingeniously) doesn't require much bandwidth.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:15:57 PM
re: WoW Factor One dream scenario for someone like AT&T, I guess, would be to set up a premium game service -- a world like WoW in hi-res, requiring an ultra-hi-bandwidth, better-than-your-neighbors', connection, preferably on the AT&T network.

It could even be a walled garden service, although that seems like suicide; better for AT&T to sponsor the thing, cash in on a share of subscription fees, and enjoy some marginal increase in broadband users.

But they'd need a different brand name, a hip sponsor, behind it. Because I'd imagine that for most gamers, the phrase "an exciting virtual world from AT&T" would be akin to "an exciting action-adventure series premiering on the Hallmark Channel."
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:15:52 PM
re: WoW Factor
There are many services a carrier could provide for gamers but more bandwidth is not one of them. Lower latency would help, but not more bps.

The graphics limitations of games are those of the gaming system whether it is a console or a PC. There is no point in moving graphics across the network.

Adrasteia 12/5/2012 | 3:15:47 PM
re: WoW Factor One dream scenario for someone like AT&T, I guess, would be to set up a premium game service -- a world like WoW in hi-res, requiring an ultra-hi-bandwidth, better-than-your-neighbors', connection, preferably on the AT&T network.

AT&T should stick to their core competency, providing last mile IP networks.

Geriatric teleco execs who know nothing about either game design or the artistic process blowing hundreds of millions of shareholder equity developing lame walled garden clones of Second Life isn't just suicidal, it borders on criminal negligence.
CoolLightGeek 12/5/2012 | 3:15:46 PM
re: WoW Factor BrookSeven,

You are right on the money about the importance of latency to interactive gaming:

World of Warcraft has a hot spot on the main screen for checking latency.

Xbox Halo Servers list of servers has a latency column that many people sort on to decide which game to enter.
Less than 25 ms delay is considered primo, over 180 ms is considered painfully sluggish.

Its nice to know that SONET and WDM backbones and well managed servers can keep the numbers low. Highband download channels from satellite are worthless when in comes to interactive gaming.

If you think its bad when the channel up key on the cable box has a 400 ms delay, then consider that type of delay can cost you your virtual life!

Game geeks choose their broadband connection by latency above all other metrics.

jepovic 12/5/2012 | 3:15:45 PM
re: WoW Factor I've heard of a special DSL ISP for gamers, but I can't find it.

As far as WoW bandwidth, it's far from negligble. Even though the bit rate is typically only tens of kbits, it is continuous. Web surfing is not even near their average bit rate. Also, the users play many hours a day. With millions of concurrent users, I would guess we're talking average total bit rates in the neighborhood of 10s of Gbits. Only the biggest ISPs have that kind of numbers.

It wouldn't surprise me if the total WoW traffic now exceeds that of web surfing or email. I'm sure there's some institute of whatever who could show some numbers - but I'm not the journalist here...
somedumbPM 12/5/2012 | 3:15:44 PM
re: WoW Factor Also take into account when you BW number crunching on a MMORPG that these games are global. The numbers of peeps online at the same time rotate geographically along with the timezones and the BW hits the network accordingly. Also many of these companies host servers in other countries to improve the performance and experience for the end-user.

I;d wager that Youtube puts a larger strain on a single or group of network interfaces.

Latency (lag) is surely the prime network issue that affects the end-user experience and many, including me, would be willing to fork over a few more bucks to have some type of improvement in that area.

Although many of the newer MMORPGs have little to no penalty for your toon dying as they try to cater to the new players, including WoW, the potential loss of anything in the older "hard-core" games would drive many to take this option if it were available. But most new games seem to have the training wheels firmly attached along with a HANS device as well, so I suspect the better target may be the Madden Online type of crowd - head-to-head XBOX/PS3 players and the FPS crowd.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:15:44 PM
re: WoW Factor
I think the point of the bandwidth commentary is not the load on the Internet but the need for a higher speed access network for supporting of real-time, 3D gaming. From an MMORPG standpoint, I have guildmates that are still on dial-up even for TBC. This would be a lot less exceptable for FPS type twitch games like Counterstrike. All of us have died to lag at some point, but for me it is rare to do so (I am on a cable modem - fyi).

What I would like to see are things like Guild Pages, DKP calculators, Vent or TeamSpeak servers, etc. available from carriers.

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