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Country of Warcraft

January 24, 2008

World of warcraft is of course a large game worldwide, but how large is it in your country?

Today in a technology newspaper I subscribe to (Ny Teknik – translates to New Technology in English) I saw a small article saying that World of Warcraft was bigger than Uppsala. Uppsala is the 4th largest city in Sweden. Knowing that Blizzard just recently announced that 10 million subscribers, which is larger than the population of Sweden, I continued to read to see what they meant.

The article basically talked about the two best selling games in Sweden 2007 was World of Warcraft and The Burning Crusade. There were no numbers for how many people in Sweden was playing the game, but a representative for Vivendi had said that the number of players in Sweden exceed the population of the city of Uppsala (population 128000) by a wide margin.

That may not sound that much. However, the population of Sweden is 9 million. Compare that to the population of United States, which according to CIA World Factbook has a population of 300 million. This is 33 1/3 times as many people.

Let’s assume the number of WoW players in Sweden are 130000. With a comparable density of players the number of players in the US would have been 33 1/3 * 130000, which us roughly 4.3 million. Add the Canadian population in the mix to get North American population size (334 million in total) and do the same type of calculation and the comparable player count would have been over 4.8 million.

The official Blizzard numbers say 2.5 million players in North America. So taking the population size into account, World of Warcraft is almost twice as popular in Sweden than in North America.

And then we have China, which weighs in with a population of 1322 million. Doing the same type of calculation a comparable player number would have been over 19 million players. So World of Warcraft is far less popular in China than in Sweden.

Compare the North American numbers and adjusting for Chinese population and one ends up with almost 10 million players in China if it would have had the same popularity in China. Which is quite far from actual numbers. Again, the game is less popular in China in comparision.

So what is the point here? Just that numbers for big regions may not say the whole truth and without trying put them in some comparable context they might no be so meaningful.

To be fair, I do not know if the Videndi representative referenced in the article used the same metric for number of active WoW players as the Blizzard press release. Number of sold units are far higher than these numbers through, so at least there was no Second Life type player count in this case.

Categories: World of Warcraft
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