Sustainable Business Model? Look to WoW

WoW grew quickly at first, from one million subscribers in February 2005, to five million subscribers by December 2005, then eight million by January 2007, and 12 million by January 2009. And that was the peak: since then WoW seems to be holding steady at roughly 11-12 million subscribers around the world — a small fraction compared to Facebook, which currently has a global audience upwards of 475 million. At a time when any social network with less than double-digit growth in users is deemed a failure, one might conclude that WoW had run its course. But oh, one would be wrong.

Because WoW’s user base is highly engaged, completing some 16.6 million quests and bidding in 3.5 million online auctions every day. And WoW subscribers actually pay to play, ponying up a monthly fee of $14.95, month after month, year after year, to fight those orcs or elves or what have you. According to the company, 4.5 million subscribers in Europe and North America alone produced $800 million in revenue in 2009. Meanwhile, server costs come to about $140,000 per day, or just over $50 million a year, and I can’t imagine other expenses come to much more than another $50 million… so that leaves $700 million of gravy.

via MediaPost Publications WoW Reaping Quiet Bonanza 07/02/2010.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.