Thursday, August 06, 2009
WoW in Asia
Via Wolfshead, who got the news from Tesh, I found a Gamasutra article saying that WoW is still down in China. But apparently that is old news, with Massively reporting a "partial relaunch" of WoW China on July 30th. But as the Gamasutra post points out, Blizzard only gets 6% of their WoW profits from Asia, so even 2 months of outage of half of their players didn't hurt their finances all that much.
Nevertheless I noticed that pretty much everyone is making the same logical mistake when talking about WoW in Asia, jumping from the news of server outages and lower costs to play on Chinese servers to the effect on the famous "Chinese gold farmers". That is completely invalid, because the "Chinese gold farmer" is not playing on a Chinese server. What would they want there? Their affluent customers are on the European and US servers, and there is no way to farm gold on a Chinese server and then transfer it to the US / Europe. Chinese gold farmers are playing on European and US servers, thus any outages of the Chinese servers don't affect them at all, and they pay $15 per month for the priviledge. Which they probably don't mind, because while the cost on Chinese servers is supposedly around 5 cents per hour, a gold farming account runs for 700 hours per month. You need to play less than 300 hours per month for the Chinese server to be less expensive than the US / Euro ones.
The reason Blizzard makes so little money from the Asian players is that their previous operator The9 kept most of the revenue, some analysts say Blizzard only got 20%. As the Gamasutra article states, Blizzard will get a much higher share of the profit from Netease, so even with the 2 month server outage they'll come out ahead in the long run. But I still wonder how many players they lost during that time.