Betcha You Can Guess #1

Via GigaOM, DFC Intelligence’s top 10 global list of MMOs – by income generated.


1: OMGCHINA. It’s not broken down in the figures, but my suspicion is China is a pretty hefty portion of World of Warcraft’s revenue stream as well, despite the revenue per user being significantly lower. The Chinese MMO market dwarfs the Western market, both in subscriber numbers, and more importantly in revenue. China’s the new Korea. It’s tempting to say that “someplace else will soon be the new China”, but it’s difficult to imagine unless all of Europe becomes obsessed with Diablo 3 or something. It also means that the Chinese market is very vulnerable to collapse if that audience moves to something else (again, see Korea, where many users have moved on to FPS games).

2: Installable client is still the king in terms of revenue, which is somewhat surprising – and promising, it means that much of this market is still being driven by the “hard core” willing to download gigabytes of data to try out a game. As web installs catch up this could open the market still further.

3: This may be an artifact of DFC tossing up their hands and going “I dunno” at trying to guesstimate income figures, but recent high profiles have all interestingly fallen into the same “tier” of $50-150m annual income. LOTRO = AoC = WAR = Runescape. Note: one of these had a somewhat lower budget than the others…


14 Responses to Betcha You Can Guess #1

  1. etherealwolf says:

    haha. runescape is in the same income tier as 3 AAA titles. thats great.

  2. Lorekeep says:

    I wonder if StarCraft 2’s release will shift Korea as a nation back to RTS.

  3. Syncaine says:

    150-500m is the range for almost every game on that list. How accurate…

    Any with so many companies not disclosing numbers, OMG-China is about the summery of that report.

  4. Matt Mihaly says:

    Habbo should be on that list. It’s also in the $50-$150 category.

  5. Rog says:

    So much guestimation.

  6. jinstevens says:

    I shake my head at the huge gaps in figures $50 – $150M? $150 – $500M? Those aren’t analyst estimates, those are broad guesses. And can wildly shift the positions of the #2 through #10 ranked games on that list. I’m hoping that the final document might have better “research” than the supposition that the analyst substitutes for fact.

    And not to defend WoW, but the analyst dismisses WoW’s concurrent population of saying that merely 5 – 10% are on at any given time. Excuse me, but 5 – 10% of 11M subscribers is still 550k or 1.1M people playing at any given time. Sorry, but that’s A LOT in my book. That dwarfs the total subscription base of many MMOs.

    The only thing that is really noteworthy in the article is the point about micro transactions being extremely profitable. I wonder if the hesitation of doing it in a large scale has to do with cultural/historic issues (i.e., US / European players grew up with idea of one-time purchases for video games, Asians have in the past not been able to afford up front costs but been willing to pay as they go).

  7. Lorekeep says:

    China may have higher concurrency because their population engages in longer playing sessions. Aside from raids, WoW is all about emphasizing the “You can login for 30 minutes and get something done.” mentality.

  8. Adam says:

    “Though Warcraft now boasts some 11 million+ subscribers, “You’re lucky to get 5-10 percent [of them] playing at the same time,” he said.”

    Something tells me this is completely inaccurate.

    More than a year ago, The9 announced concurrency at 800k in China, and that is with the limited play time Chinese are allowed.

  9. Zuzax says:


  10. hsinclair says:

    I can’t figure out why they list out Shanda as a company instead of its individual titles – or lump lineage and lineage II in together, when everything else is individual games.

    Also, its difficult to tell what games made the cut as MMOs and which ones didn’t – was Guild Wars considered? Any other number of flash-based pseudo-mmos?

  11. Iconic says:

    What does Tom Chick have to say about the button density of Maple Story?

  12. Tesh says:

    I seem to remember the guesstimate of WoW’s Chinese revenue as being something like 15% of their total take. They don’t pay the same way that Westerners do, and the income per player is lower as a result.

  13. Angelworks says:


    Especially when L1/L2 are two pretty different games in some respects.

  14. jinstevens says:

    Iconic :
    What does Tom Chick have to say about the button density of Maple Story?


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