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Reader Comments (152)

Posted: Nov 8th 2011 8:47PM (Unverified) said

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@Lucidus

It may not seem worthwhile to you, perhaps, but to someone who plays the game every day it may actually be a justifiable investment. After all, you're going to be using your special mount in WoW a lot more often than you'll see your avatar wearing an $80 cybertronic monocle.

Aside from that, I really don't think its fair to judge people based on their leisure purchases when you know absolutely nothing about them personally. If they have the cash to spare then it's no business of ours how they spend it.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 5:45PM nimzy said

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How could they possibly be spending $500 million on game development with comparatively little to show for it?

Posted: Nov 8th 2011 5:48PM BigAndShiny said

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@nimzy
For $50 million they could completely redo WoW in modern graphics so I doubt it's that.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 5:52PM enamelizer said

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@nimzy

9 million copies of MW3 were pre-ordered, it would appear they have quite a bit to show for it in the form of cold, hard cash.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 5:57PM Ghostspeaker said

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@nimzy

That $500 million's not just for development, it's also for all the day-to-day overhead. Serving 10 million people every day for 3 months is expensive.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 6:09PM Anatidae said

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@Ghostspeaker Not that expensive, hahah
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 6:56PM smartstep said

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@Anatidae

Marketting, that where money sink.

CoD is just reskinned version every year. Exactly same engine, same gameplay jsut diffrent maps + some small quirks so to produce it is very cheap. It is more like big DLC or expansion pack, just priced as full game :/

WoW well considering how much WoW is earning not that much content was released, well sizeable one but for biggest earner in mmorpg history?

I say alot of this money is for marketting. Activision-Blizzard is huge here.

Fortunatelly I don't see any game from Acti-Blizzard that I find interesting, especially considering their disgusting business practices.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 7:39PM Mikx said

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@Ghostspeaker @nimzy Huh? not sure where you or nimzy you got that number from, but the entire company, Activison + Blizzard had 627 million in sales.

Bllizzard didnt spend 500 million on WoW, and it also doesnt say that profit from WoW tripled.
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Posted: Nov 9th 2011 12:15AM (Unverified) said

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@Mikx Basically the number comes from the following (using rounded figures): Sold $600 mil, of which $100 mil is pure profit, implying that $500 (600 - 100) was used by Activition to make games and stuff. Of course this excludes many of the other things they also do like marketing and day to day stuff like water and electricity and yachts for the CEO (you know the "company" yacht).
Anyway nimzy was pointing out the low ROI (they spend 500 but only got a fifth of their investment back in profit), and Ghostspeaker was pointing out that the $500 mil didn't go directly into development costs. No one said anything about anyone spending $500 mil on WoW nor that WoW's profits tripled. Both were talking about Activision.
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Posted: Nov 9th 2011 2:00AM oddshrub said

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@nimzy They've had at least four titles in the works which will sell millions of copies (MW3, Diablo 3, Starcraft 2.2? and pandaland) and I'm sure others as well so I'd say they have a lot to show for that money.

Not that they spend all 500million on developmrnt of new titles.
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Posted: Nov 9th 2011 7:26AM Meldrich said

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@nimzy Must be them lawsuits.
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Posted: Nov 9th 2011 11:12AM SnarlingWolf said

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@nimzy

They have a lot of titles in production. They are working on the new MMO, they are working on the next CoD (It doesn't matter when you make that statement as they are always working on the next CoD). They are working on Diablo 3. They have the continued work on WoW. And I'm sure they have a couple of other titles in the works too.

The funny part is how WoW used to be the major cash cow for Activision/Blizzard and that title is quickly moving over to the CoD franchise. Each year CoD breaks sales records with their newest release while WoW is now just draining numbers.
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Posted: Nov 21st 2011 11:04PM (Unverified) said

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@Anatidae I wouldnt doubt it, for a starters the $479m was for Activision and blizzard combined. Which means with recent releases on Activision's front a good portion of that profit probably could have come from there.

Now to analyse WoW and costs involved, first things first you have the basics.. Wages/Salaries for lets say 4600 employees (which is from Wikipedia as on 2009). Lets assume that the average wage is $1000 per week (probably got going to be that high but still good round figure.) So that is 4.6m per week, over 1 quarter that is 12 weeks, so that goes up to $55.2m. Now utilities for Blizzard's network of offices (not including data centres), what probably another 1 million a month world wide there.

Now for the big cash sink hole, the network infrastructure across many data centres around the world. What most people don't know is when you are talking server hardware for that level enterprise the costs are much higher than your average home router and computer systems. Some smaller enterprise routers cost in the ballpark for $300,000 each. Not to mention enterprise end network switches capable of switching the data speed you'd need in a network the size of Blizzard-Activision. For a starters, the newest model of enterprise service provide style switch chassis that I know of from Cisco Systems is the Nexus 7000. These switches come in 2 sizes the 10 slot and the 18 slot. lets just say they have an 18 slot running as a massive 10gbps fire switch. The switch at full capacity can switching can just easily fill a 500gb hard drive in a second. That is how much data they switch and forward each second at max capacity, also at max capacity the power draw over all 4 power supplies approaches 18KW, now factor in the many data centres, and in order for resiliency and redundancy they would have a great many duplicated systems in case something went down. Each 18 slot chassis with 2 supervisor engines and 16 10gbit modules would come close to 600 grand, though I am sure they get a nice bulk buy discount from Cisco for that.

Now to servers, most things are done by virtualisation these days, because it is cheaper and more efficient both in space and overhead costs. Blizzard would still need a great many virtualisation rigs to run thier network and thier storage. Factor in a 128CPU 600GB memory virtualisation rig that connects to a bank of storage at probably over a million dollars each.

UPS systems and generators.. Most of this enterprise network hardware is likely to be leased not owned so that would be a great number of dollars per month they have to pay and we haven't even got to the many high speed upstream internet connections they'd need world wide. Suddenly that nice figure of $627 million doesn't seem all that much in the grand scheme of things.

I would almost wager that wow would be turning a profit, but not as much as you'd think. It really does cost a lot of coin to run that level of network. Not as much as Google of course, but then again Google is the largest corporation/enterprise in the world when it comes to computing power (heck they rent cloud storage and processing that even the average home user could afford... Why because they have so much and bulk of it that they can afford to).
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 5:46PM BigAndShiny said

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Woah, now we start seeing big drops. Though as I've said all along, they still have more subs than every other western MMO put together.

Posted: Nov 8th 2011 5:47PM BigAndShiny said

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@BigAndShiny
And to be fair WoW is doing exceptionally well and will continue to do so in the future.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 6:14PM Jwheeler said

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@BigAndShiny

Mhmm... yeah losing 1.1 million fans from a well known title shows success...
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 6:54PM Vgk said

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@Jwheeler

Last I checked increased profits were a good thing...
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 7:07PM Mystal said

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@BigAndShiny Assuming "the future" extends no further than December 20th...

Things are about to get much worse for WoW.
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Posted: Nov 9th 2011 12:19PM BigAndShiny said

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@Mystal
Haha. 2 million players from TOR won't 'defeat' or 'beat' WoW
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Posted: Nov 10th 2011 11:28AM Mystal said

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@BigAndShiny They have a six month trend that shows them losing about 2.2 million a year when their stiffest competition is RIFT. SWTOR and later GW2, combined with their own lackluster game, will drive those numbers much lower.

By the way, if SWTOR took 2 million of their subs, it would GUT WoW, because SWTOR isn't launching in China. Every one of those subs would be one of the very lucrative North American or European customers.

The writing was on the wall for WoW even before the LOLPandas revelation at Blizzcon. Blizzard has got to milk Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 all they can while they get Titan rolling, because WoW is not going to remain the cash cow that it has been, no matter how many sparkle ponies they throw at the player base.
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