World of Warcraft retail sales reach 8.6 million units

Yes, yes -- we're all impressed with how fast the audience for relative newcomer Free Realms is expanding. However, one cannot forget that Free Realms is, in fact, free. The original rapidly expanding MMO, World of Warcraft, costs actual money, and now we have a rough idea of how much moolah Blizzard's cash cow has raked in. According to the NPD Group's calculations, the core game, the two expansions and the WoW Battle Chest have sold a total of 8.6 million copies at retail in America.

Gamasutra estimates that this figure equals about $258 million for Blizzard from WoW's U.S. retail sales. Of course, the company is really making bank off the $15 that its 11.5 million subscribers dish out every month -- but $258 million is nothing to scoff at. Unless you're like, the Jonas Brothers or something.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.