Online game subscriptions up 43 percent in 2005

World of Warcraft's popularity helps boost MMO and casual gaming to a $2 billion international payday; console games to take 29 percent of OL market by 2011.

Whatever you think of World of Warcraft, there's no denying that it has reshaped the gaming landscape. As of last month, Blizzard Entertainment's massively multiplayer online role-playing game had over 6 million subscribers, making the population of its virtual world larger than many European countries.

The latest evidence of WOW's influence comes in the form of a report from DFC Intelligence. The San Diego-based game-industry research company has just issued a report which says that "subscription revenue from online games was $2 billion in 2005." WOW came out in November 2004 and has been among the top three games in DFC-rival NPD Group's weekly PC-bestseller list since it hit the market.

DFC cited WOW's publisher, Vivendi Universal-owned Blizzard Entertainment, as being a major factor behind the rise of MMORPG revenue in the US. That said, it correctly pointed out that currently "over 50 percent of online-game-subscription revenue in 2005 came from Asian countries outside Japan, most notably South Korea, China, and Taiwan."

In particular, it heaped praise on one of Blizzard's most bitter foes. "The Asian market has created some significant new players, led by South Korean company NCsoft, which had over $300 million in online-game revenue in 2005," read the report. Over the past few years, NCsoft has been waging an aggressive campaign to court US MMORPG players with titles such as City of Heroes and Guild Wars.

Despite its initial Asia-boosting, DFC said that the Western hemisphere is catching up. "North America is expected to pass Asia in subscription revenue, accounting for 35 percent of online-game-subscription revenue in 2011," read the report. At that point, the company estimates the worldwide-online-gaming pie as being worth $6.8 billion--$3.06 billion of which will be produced by the US and Canada.

However, DFC concedes that MMOGs aren't the only factor behind the rise of online gaming. It also said online casual gaming was a major factor and singled out Electronic Arts' Pogo games subsidiary--which topped 1 million subscribers last November--as a successful example.

Though online gaming is currently a mostly PC domain, DFC's report says that won't last. "In 2011, it is forecasted that 29 percent of worldwide subscription revenue will be from console systems," it predicted.

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56 comments
gamespotr0cks
gamespotr0cks

Now i see why the nickname is Everycrack. LOL

espme
espme

city of heroes was great,but if you are going to charge 15 a month then charge me 20 for the game brand new.

deadlycobra
deadlycobra

i started playing a 14 day trial disk i found last week and man...that stuff is crack! was playing night and day through the weekend and went to bed at 3 or 4 even each night. I had no control over it when i went home i wanted to play my WoW and now i am thinking of buying , those bas@#$ with their addictive substances it should be illegal . Overall it's fun, but put it this way i'm only typing this cause the server is full and im waiten in line with time to kill thinking of getting to lvl.20 and nothing else. So am i surpried they got to this much.....no i've seen what it could do and every man woman and child that ever had a taste of it's evil bought it unwillingly , but by blizzards evil hipnotism to try and take over THE WORLD!

Kastigador
Kastigador

Sheep, 6 million active subscriber is a big deal when you compare that to the numbers those games brought in(100,000's maybe?). It didn't change the genre, but it showed that you can make blockbuster titles that bring home huge revenue streams despite the large up front investment required to develop and roll out a MMORPG. That changes the landscape, aka, a whole hell of a lot of capital is going to shift to that market now and you're going to see all sorts of new entries to the market as a result. Other comments, As for people obsessing over alternate lives online... it's no different than any other addiction, it's people distracting themselves from their problems and the stresses of every day life by doing something in excess that would otherwise be okay in moderation. Nothing new there.

thefjk
thefjk

mo people play online... i think i am gon do it too!

Sheepofevilz
Sheepofevilz

Reshaped the gaming landscape? Wasn't it Everquest, Asheron's Call, and Ultima that actually reshaped the gaming landscape? Wasn't it just WoW that copied those games and attracted a bigger audience than the others? Big deal.

the_real_jspark
the_real_jspark

ive been playing wow since it came out... and its the only thing in my life that im willing to accomplish with effort. even tho i have grown incredibly skinny, weak, and all my muscle has vanished... ill keep playing cause its fun. we all die and no one is special, i dont see a point in building "social lifes", just get rid of all the dam rogues farming gold!!!!

townsenda1
townsenda1

That is a whole lot of people playing on line. But I can't say that I'm surprised about it.

xhunterp
xhunterp

Interest in console MMO's will never be what it is on PC's, but that doesnt mean they can't be good. Anyone remember Phantasy Star Online for Dreamcast? Or the re-release, the only game to ever use Gamecube's online function? Amazing games, and despite low populations, they proved that console MMO's are viable, and fun.

BoltActionBoris
BoltActionBoris

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

popper
popper

All i know from what i heard today, that im a RPG & MMORPG freak and those who has nothing better to say hasnt found a hobby yet so leave us game freaks alone not everybody likes to do a little of everything in this world, i choose to play and if i have to spent the money for it i will. I rather do this than be outside spending money on bullcrap (drugs)and keep my family company at home where its safe so THANK YOU BLIZZARD for a kickass games, keep it up and hurry up with The Burning Crusade :)

soulknight63133
soulknight63133

It doesn't have to, Savoy. But other X360 owners and myself are anxious for a RPG MMO for our system.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I don't think that interest in console MMORPGs will ever top the interest in PC MMORPGs.

brilhasti
brilhasti

"I haven`t played this game but the images look horrible the graphics seem to be a crap and the charakters look horrible hmm I wonder why plp pay money to play something thats not that great " Gameplay. Oh, wow, you mean graphics aren't EVERYTHING?!?! Get a clue.

ShirkDawg
ShirkDawg

I still haven't played an MMORPG that i've liked. I like RPGs but i think all these games have been mediocre. First of all i don't have time to get into them but even if i did i wouldn't play them at this point in time. I have some great ideas for what could be in these games but no company has ever used them. I was disappointed that Square just decided to copy the other online rpgs out there at the time and just throw in the job class system. They could have done a whole lot more. WoW was the best one yet but I still didn't think it was fun. It doesnt' feel like it has any purpose. This probably won't happen for awhile since blizzard is raking in the cash from WoW but they should bring out SCII already.

hungus00
hungus00

i have neither the time nor the commitment required to get into this game.

rbarahona
rbarahona

It will be interesting to see what consoles will have to offer and how much they will charge for their service.

4esth
4esth

"Everyone who has wanted to play FF XI is already playing it on PS2 or PC. Why would anyone pay more money so they could play it on the 360? " Hmm I haven't played it yet. I heard it sucked on the PC so if it's any better on the 360 I would consider picking it up. Therefore your statement that "everyone who wanted to play is already playing it" is not true. I would also never play a PS2 MMORPG. I couldn't stand to look at the PS2 graphics for that length of time.

abelmaestro
abelmaestro

I haven`t played this game but the images look horrible the graphics seem to be a crap and the charakters look horrible hmm I wonder why plp pay money to play something thats not that great

Seraphim_24
Seraphim_24

Its sad, I want WOW and city of heroes so bad, but I can't give up Final Fantasy XI and can't afford to take on more than one subscription! :'(. I hope eventually more people will take the Guildwars route and offer free online play. Its true that I barely ever talk to anyone in Guildwars, but it's nice that I can solo. I need more time for MMORPGS anyway...

Fatality4u
Fatality4u

When you have a game like WoW you will find an increase in the MMORPGs.

Oni
Oni

All you people are wierd. These games are addictive .. period. Most MMO's are, if they never updated it people would stop playing. Some of you people are just way too soft. This guy above me is acting like before MMO's came along, "normal" games didn't do any of the things he listed. You sir are a idiot.

Paganstar
Paganstar

I have to disagree with CaptainCrazy. MMORPGs in themselves can be quite thereputic. It allows you to release stress, you have social interaction with a very diverse cultural mix (In my guild we have people from all over the US, Canada, Middle East, Singapore, Britan, and Australia. We all have very different view points on things but can discuss them rationaly and as adults which helps us all grow. The problem is when people do not use moderation in their games. Anything when taken to extremes will be unhealthy. But if a person uses their head and some time managerment skills and tools (many of the mmo games now have built in timers) it can be a fun and growing experience.

Sabtura
Sabtura

six million subscribers times approx $14 a month times 12 months a year is $1,008,000,000. That's not even including the money they'll make of the game or the money they'll make off the expansion later this year! It's time to lower subscription prices or for Blizzard to buy a small country!

doodleschmidt
doodleschmidt

FFXI is only coming to the 360 to try and boost sales in the Asian countries where it's taking a beating. M$ needs to put Asian-centric games on it so it doesn't get slaughtered over there - like it currently is. All M$ wants to do is take a small bite out of the Nintendo and PS marketshare.

SilV3RSix
SilV3RSix

While its admirable that a few of you are concerned about the moral fabric of America, it wasn't exactly high grade silk before this gaming boom came along.

Sinister904
Sinister904

I want WOW and try to play a game online via a computer because xbox live don't excite anymore

easy33
easy33

its intials says it all........WOW

decebal
decebal

"enough of WOW, I want Starcraft 2 , Diablo III, or Warcraft 4"

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

i'm sure not a part of any online subscription.......for ploping $$$$ for the game in the first place, it should be free. They can make more $$$ off of expansions if they feel poor.

dastuff4U
dastuff4U

I feel like the only person in the world that doesn't like this game. And even if i did i wouldn't get it, its a complete rip off!!!

Tuor7
Tuor7

I disagree with CaptainCrazy. I think that the family unit and certain types of socialization have been in decline for some time. Yes, MMORPGs only make those trends worse, but I do not believe they *cause* such trends. IMHO, many of these people of whom you are speaking would find something else to occupy themselves -- maybe something far worse to themselves or even society -- if MMORPGs did not exist.

Igiss
Igiss

Console MMORPG? Ok, agreed, their share will increase a bit, but why 29% if everyone is used to playing these games on PC?

Zaxex
Zaxex

That's what they do, the more addictive a game is the more people will want to pay them, and online games are commonly more competitive then other games so people will play even more until rather then a hobby, the game is their life and normal life is their hobby.

Gohanmohan
Gohanmohan

I agree with CaptainCrazy. Take a friend of mine for example; he's lvl 60 on the game (max level) and in order to reach that level he spent almost every hour of every day getting to that mark. He was one of the first people to do so but as a result he did sh*t in his exams and fifn't go to university. The game rewards the time you spend online rather than your skills and that is kinda sad really. I'm not saying that its a **** game, I'm just saying that a lot of us have lives to lead you know, and we do not have that kind of time to chuck away on a game when we have much more important things to do.

ChargEd
ChargEd

"making the population of its virtual world larger than many European countries. " Ehm, right... 6 millions is a lot of players but it sure doesn't beat MANY European countries. The Vatican perhaps... :P

CaptainCrazy
CaptainCrazy

Since games like WOW are designed to consume as much of a person's time as possible in order to keep them playing (and paying), I don't think MMO games are healthy at least from a social standpoint. I know they have many social aspects but surely, people's real life family and friends must come first. But to truly accomplish anything in these games you must devote a huge amount of your time that many other important things are neglected.

zhuojloh
zhuojloh

enough of WOW, I want Starcraft 2 , Diablo III, or Warcraft 4

Rubin42
Rubin42

I see PC MMORPG continuing to lead in the long run. XBox Live changed console gaming forever and the other boys are going to be playing catch up for along time.

Briantb_2008
Briantb_2008

Does it really surpise any of you that this happened. Look at some of the asian countrys. China in preticulary. They where ready to ban some people from playing online games because it consume so much of there time. I think it was people younger then 18.

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

That is a lot of people playing WoW, and a lot of cash coming in from it... can only be good for the gaming industry.

Jedi_Osborn
Jedi_Osborn

hmmm, didn't nintendo say no one was interested in online gaming? keep your head in the sand nintendo and keep churning out kirby games.

yanks26wsw
yanks26wsw

I wonder what PS3's online is gonna be like?

xJackelx
xJackelx

Those who don't have a pc but want the better graphics setup? Ps2 Died? Lots of reasons.