I'm not sure how much of this is legit, but stick with us for the information first, and then stay for the debunking. Edward Hunter over at Gamasutra
decided to do some poking around in comScore's MediaMetrix
application (which can track, based on a survey of a few million users, access to various applications on a computer -- which programs are run when), and he found something that surprised him: despite the economic downturn and the emergence of a few other popular MMOs
recently, World of Warcraft
's audience is estimated globally at 13.1 million. In other words, it's still growing from the last official numbers
(11.5 million players worldwide) we heard.
Now, the first issue we'd have with these numbers is the situation in China -- Hunter doesn't mention it at all, and in fact his graph (from comScore) doesn't have any dips at all in it, even though the game, and presumably its millions of players, went offline over there
earlier this year. That right there throws a wrench into all of these estimations -- it's very likely comScore's information is just plain wrong.