Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chinese WoW players pay less ... so ?

Sure they do pay less than US and EU players, but not as little as some people think.

It is always funny when people claim my site has no validity and then show how they are pretty clueless themselves.

We had this little discussion here on and one of the claims was that the 11,6m number from Blizzard is invalid because Chinese players pay less.

Well I disagree, first of all they pay a lot more than claimed here :

That article is pretty biased and incorrect

Yes Blizzard does get a lot less money from the Chinese subscribers, but that is not only because the Chinese pay less, but also because Blizzard is not allowed to run online games in China by itself and has to use expensive Chinese providers to run the game for them.

That is also why Blizzard changed from the The9 to the Netease provider, because they would get more royalties.

According to the Gamasutra article here : Gamasutra Blizzard will get around $140 million in royalties annually, at the time China had around 5 million subs. ( 6,5m subs for Asia ). $140m devided by 5m chinese players equals $28, devided by 12 months equals $2,3. Blizzard gets around 55% of the royalties, so the average Chinese player pays around $5 per month. That is assuming the royalties are calculated on the total revenue, otherwise it could be even more.

$5 per month may not be much to our standards, but you have also to take into consideration that employees in China are a lot cheaper, so they have less operational costs compared to the EU or US.

If you go look at the source Wolfsheadonline used : Gamasutra then there it is clear that the 6% revenue is because of the 22% royalty deal with The9 ( as in Blizzard gets only 22% of the money made from the Chinese players ), this actually results in $1 royalty per month per Chinese player, which is consistent with the other article, because if the royalty is more than doubled ( from 22% to 55% ) then we get around $2,5 doubled again to get the total of around $5 per Chinese player.

These are rough calculations, and hovers around $5 per month per Chinese player, but it certainly is not $1 like Wolfsheadonline claims.

In the same way, Europeans pay quite a bit more than Americans because of the strong Euro. If you take into account the lower salaries of the Chinese, the difference between China 5$ and the US 15$ is not that much bigger than the difference between the US 15$ and the EU 20$. So should we not take into account the American players?

Imho even tho the Blizzard numbers are not perfect, they are pretty valid, including the Asian part.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

ETA for MMOData Charts v2.2

Hey all,

v2.1 is ready, but won't go live, instead I will go straight to v2.2

I hoped to get it ready today, but I am not going to make it. So my eta for v2.2 is now Sunday 25/10/2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

EVE Online and Second Life Peak Concurrent Users

Hey all,

Well it looks like it will take a while before we see a new Peak Concurrent User record in the "Peak Concurrent Users on the Largest Single Cluster servers" from either EVE Online or Second Life.

However, there are good reasons for this, and it is not because the mmo's are getting less popular ...

For EVE Online it is because of the heavy fight from CCP against illegal RMT and the accompanied macroers and account hackers, also called "The Unholy Rage".
The impact during this summer was very big in certain areas of the server, and in one instance during the unholy rage, the overall PCU dropped around 5k.
You can read this in the CCP dev blog here :
CCP Devblog Unholy Rage

For Second Life it is because of the new Bot policy. Which restricts the use of traffic and camping bots. The PCU dropped around 8k initially and will probably drop even more as landbots will be slowly replaced by web tools.
You can read about it here :
Second Life blog about the economy
And here :
Second Life blog about bots

Still both operations will result in an overall better and healthier gaming experience for both games. In EVE Online you can already see the PCU is slowly getting back to the level where it was in June, I will not be surprised if we see a new record soon. Also Second Life will certainly go up again, and the PCU will consist of a lot more actual players and less bots.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Part of the Dofus numbers were incorrect

Well, it looks like I made a mistake with the Dofus numbers.

What happened is that when Ankama talked about "Subscribers" in their press releases, they actually meant "Monthly active players". They did make a clear distinction between "Subscribers" and "Registered Users", that is how I made the mistake.

So while the 800k, 1,5m and now 3m numbers were not paying subscribers, they are Monthly Active Users, and still a nice number to have.

Their actual active paying subscriber number is 500k at the moment, still a very respectable number. Obviously this will be fixed in v2.1 of, and I will do my best to avoid flaws of this magnitude in the future.

Here are the links ( new one and the old ones ) :
Gamasutra Interview, 500k subscribers
Ankama press release 1,5m subscribers
Gamasutra interview, 800k subscribers

Friday, October 2, 2009

EVE Online subscription data and great feedback.

CCP will provide me with subscription data directly from now on, updated monthly. Aren't they a nice bunch? :) This shows how confident they are.

I have already received all the datapoints from release up to and including September 2009, and to no surprise they perfectly match with what Sir Bruce and myself had already. Of course I can now fill some gaps from the latest months. These will be included in v2.1 of

As more developers and publishers do this, grows to become the place to be for reliable mmog numbers and the ones that do not, well we can assume they have something to hide :)

Also getting a lot of feedback lately, mostly constructive and/or positive, I am very happy with that, don't be afraid to send me some more e-mails :p I have received some good ideas to improve already and implemented some of them.

Lastly I had some requests to get my excel data. If you are from the mmo industry and can provide mewith numbers for one or more mmo's, then I will be happy to give you my data in return.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Aion West is Live

Aion West has been live for a few days now and it seems pretty popular. The 25 servers that are currently running Aion in the EU and the USA are packed.

Because of this, I have set a new estimate for Aion worldwide at 3,6 million subscribers, this will be included in my upcomming version 2.1 of the MMOData charts.

I believe this is a conservative estimate, and I would not be surprised that the actual number is larger, but since NCSoft is no longer providing subscription numbers in their quarterly reports, I have no choice but to be conservative.