Space Ramblings

World of Warcraft Hits 9 Million

That’s right, nine million subscribers. How many of them are actual players and how many of them are Chinese gold farmers we’ll never really know. And that’s the problem with these announcements, the number of registrations is not the same as actual subscribers. Each registration does not equal a human being. While it is normally reasonable to assume that a subscription is an individual and that nine million subscriptions factors out to nine million people but that might have been true up and until the point that the presence of the millions of people who are on World of Warcraft opened up some lucrative opportunities for various people to create their little side based business within World of Warcraft.

Chinese gold farmers are one obvious method with low paid players in Chinese cities playing endlessly on one account and farming an area in order to provide gold for lazy Western players who want the gold without bothering to play the game. Blizzard of course keeps canceling their accounts but it’s a hopeless task.

And then there are far more sophisticated schemes including hackers who break into accounts, people who will form fake teams for money to raid dungeons and get high value items for a specific player, escorting him down, destroying the monsters and letting him grab what he needs.

And then there are the fake word of mouth marketing accounts. What you think those companies that promise corporations to promote their hip brand products by hiring kids to chat them up in any social forum have left World of Warcraft alone and limited themselves to Second Life? Get real. World of Warcraft is one of the hottest things around and you had better believe that Xbox and Zune got touted by people in more than just chat rooms.

All that stuff factors into a lot of fake accounts, not accounts by real players but accounts by businesses. How many of that 9 million does that account for? It’s hard to say but the chinese gold farmers probably account for as much as a hundred thousand accounts at the least.

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