Blizzard has announced that the little game that could has hit another big, round number: they are now claiming 10 million World of Warcraft players globally. Gamasutra is reporting that WoW has about 2 million subscribers in Europe, about 2.5 million in North America, and approximately 5.5 million in Asia.
They've also taken the step of qualifying what they mean when they say 'subscriber', something critics have used as a knock against their impressive subscriber numbers in the past due to the way that accounts are used in Korea and China. A subscriber, according to Blizzard, is someone who has "paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access."
That number notably doesn't count promo subscriptions, expired accounts, canceled subscriptions, or unused prepaid cards. They are counting 'PC Bang' players by considering an account active if it has been used within the last 30 days. Subscribers that connect to the game under licensees like The9 are counted under the same guidelines.
It's a little staggering to consider the sheer number of people playing this game now. When I started playing these games 50,000 people in one world was a big deal; Lineage, EQ, and FFXI were big-time by being at or over 500,000 people. Now with titles like WoW, Gaia Online, MapleStory, and even Habbo Hotel demolishing the old concept of a Massive world, it's ... more than a little bit exciting.
I also think it's time that people just stop comparing WoW to other US-developed MMOs. People keep talking about a "WoW Killer", but ... 10 MILLION people, people. World of Warcraft isn't a game, it's a city. It makes as much sense to compare WoW to Dungeons and Dragons Online as it does to compare Scrabble with Chicago. That's just my opinion ... what do you think? Will there be a "WoW Killer" someday?