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Rumor: WoW going free-to-play in China

Mike Schramm

Curse Gaming posted a rumor the other day from a Chinese newspaper named RedlineChina that The9 (the company that runs World of Warcraft in China) is considering switching the game to a "free-to-play" model. As Curse notes, the rumor is just that-- a rumor-- especially considering that The9 is raking in the cash over there. So take this with a nice big cubic block of salt-- odds are that both you and Chinese players will be paying that monthly subscription for years to come.

Still, it's an interesting idea. There are a few free-to-play MMOs here in the US, but there are many, many more over in Asian countries like China and Korea. And there's no question that as popular as World of Warcraft is now, it would be even more popular as a free-to-play model. Odds are that The9 would have to come up with some other form of revenue if they did switch it to free-to-play, although as it is, you can play for free on a demo here in the US-- maybe RedlineChina really meant to report that The9 is going to start releasing free demo copies, up to level 20 with a week of free play, or some plan like that, while still charging for the full game.

At any rate, this is more likely a miscommunication than a rumor with any substance at all. Especially with subscriptions rising and the next expansion on the way, Blizzard is nowhere near even lowering the price on a WoW subscription.

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