Ever since being launched by Blizzard Entertainment at the tail end of 2004, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft has proven monumentally popular. Its original installment set global sales records upon launch, selling 240,000 units in its first 24 hours. That number was reproduced tenfold with its first expansion, The Burning Crusade, which sold 2.4 million copies in its first day on the market.
With Vivendi reporting 9.3 million global subscribers as of mid-November, and the recent launch of The Burning Crusade in China, it comes as no great shock that World of Warcraft has reached the 10 million subscriber milestone. Breaking down its subscriber base today, Blizzard claims to have acquired more than 2.5 million North American and 2 million European players, with another 5.5 million Azerothians plugging in from Asia. WOW's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, is expected to arrive later this year for the PC and Mac.
WOW is currently available in North America, Europe, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, with a Russian version expected to launch later this year. Blizzard noted that the term subscriber encompasses those who have paid a subscription fee, have an active prepaid WOW card, are within their first free month of game access after purchasing the game, or have logged into the game from an Internet cafe within the last 30 days. The tally does not include expired or canceled subscriptions, or those playing under free promotional accounts.