The downtime that World of Warcraft has been suffering in China, as operators on that market are being switched from The9 to NetEase, is seen as something of a small catastrophe for Blizzard, the company that created the game, because of the huge number of Chinese gamers who are playing the MMO.
Still, the widely held idea is being challenged by a videogame analyst who says that the amount of money that China is bringing in is limited compared to the revenue generated by the North American and the European markets.
Colin Sebastian, who is an analyst with Lazard Capital Markets, believes that “While Asia accounts for roughly 50 percent of global users, we estimate the region contributes less than 10 percent of total WoW revenues, due to the licensing structure and timecard model.” It is estimated that World of Warcraft is bringing in about 1 billion dollars for Blizzard every year and that figure will probably go up as subscriptions numbers also rise.
Sebastian is stating that Europe and North America account for about 47% of the overall revenue of the MMO. This is mainly due to the fact that gamers in these areas are getting access by paying a monthly subscription, which is around 15 dollars, depending on the offer they access, while players in China using time cards.
At the moment, new players cannot register accounts for World of Warcraft in China but those who already have one can log into the game and play. It seems that one agency of the Communist Chinese government is also involved in making sure that the content offered by the MMO is clean for gamers residing there. Reports are saying that China is banning all gang-related activity online and that could be linked with the clan system of some MMOs.