Officials from Blizzard Entertainment have announced that massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of WarCraft
has now surpassed one million customers in Europe, for a total of 5.5 million customers worldwide.
The figure of 1 million customers is more than four times the previously estimated size of the entire European MMORPG market. According to data from Media Control and GFK panels, plus internal studies and account data from Blizzard itself, the company is also claiming that World of WarCraft
was the best selling full price PC game in Europe last year.
The game is available in English, French and German languages in Europe and operated by Blizzard's local offices - with servers that can be accessed only by those using a European credit card. The European office was established in late 2003, and now comprises 400 employees across twenty-two nationalities - it is now the company's second largest office in the world.
"It is extremely rewarding to see so many European players enjoying World of WarCraft," said Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard. "The players have supported our belief in the European MMORPG market, and we thank them for helping us make World of WarCraft
one of the most popular games in the world."
The figure of 5.5 million users worldwide is also notable, since the worldwide figure was put at 4.5 million only last November
, with 3.5 million being recorded in July 2005 - appearing to confirm the company's assertion that the game has the fastest worldwide growth of any comparable title.
[Regarding how subscriptions are counted, the company has explained in earlier releases: "World of Warcraft customers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or purchased a prepaid card to play [the game], as well as those who have purchased the installation box bundled with one free month access. Internet Game Room players having accessed the game over the last seven days are also counted as customers."]
: 7.57pm PST, 01/19/06 - added paragraph clarifying subscriber number conditions.