02 February, 2005 – Paris, France: Blizzard EntertainmentÃ‚Â® today announced that World of WarcraftÃ‚Â®, its subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), will be available at retail outlets throughout Europe on 11 February, 2005. The European launch of World of Warcraft follows a hugely successful debut in North America, where it broke day-one sales records to become the region's most successful PC game launch and fastest growing MMORPG. On Tuesday, 18 January, the game was released commercially in Korea, and by the following day had already reached a total peak concurrency of more than 100,000 players.
World of Warcraft has already shown strong consumer demand in Europe with beta registrations topping 400,000 subscribers and retail pre-orders exceeding 110,000 units. In North America, World of Warcraft sold through over 240,000 copies to customers during its first 24 hours of availability*. The game has since sold over 600,000 copies in the region and has also shattered all previous North American concurrency records, achieving over 200,000 simultaneous players during the 2004 holiday season.
"We are thrilled to welcome European players into the World of Warcraft," said Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. "It's been exciting to see so many people playing the game in North America and Korea, and we hope that European players will enjoy World of Warcraft just as much."
World of Warcraft is the first non-licensed MMORPG in Europe to have a dedicated local team with 24-hour support, 7 days a week. The local Blizzard Entertainment team in Europe is responsible for all community management and in-game support through French-, German- and English-speaking game masters. In addition, the local web, marketing and communications teams provide support and tools for the community, trade and press. An on-the-spot technical team works hand-in-hand with the developers at the Blizzard development studio in Irvine, California to maintain and update the pan-European servers, which are based in Paris and Frankfurt.
World of Warcraft will be available in Europe for WindowsÃ‚Â® 98/ME/2000/XP and MacintoshÃ‚Â® at a suggested retail price of Ã‚Â£29.99, and will include a free one-month subscription to the game. ** The game and packaging have been fully localised in English, French and German; a localised box and manual will be available for Spanish and Italian players. For the initial shipment, the standard edition of World of Warcraft will be available in the aforementioned languages in two unique box covers representing the major factions of the world, Alliance and Horde. Both boxes will include the full version of the game on four CD-ROM disks. World of Warcraft has received a 12+ age rating in Europe.
The exclusive collector's edition of World of Warcraft will be available at launch, in limited quantities, for a suggested retail price of Ã‚Â£44.99. The game, box and manual will be available in English, French and German, with a localised box and manual in Spanish and Italian. The special collector's edition will include the World of Warcraft game on both CD-ROM and DVD, a free one-month subscription, a World of Warcraft behind-the-scenes DVD in English, an exclusive in-game pet, a cloth map of the game world, a soundtrack CD, an Art of the World of Warcraft coffee table book, and a commemorative game manual signed by the development team.
After the initial free one-month subscription ends, players of World of Warcraft will be able to continue playing under one of three different subscription plans. The basic month-to-month subscription plan costs Ã‚Â£8.99 per month, while the three-month plan costs Ã‚Â£8.39 per month and the six-month plan costs Ã‚Â£7.69 per month. World of Warcraft subscription fees can be paid with all major credit cards, many local cards, direct debit (such as ELV in Germany) and pre-paid game cards, the latter of which will be available in retail outlets where World of Warcraft is sold.
About World of Warcraft
In World of Warcraft, players assume the roles of legendary heroes and interact with thousands of other players online as they explore and adventure across a vast world. Whether journeying together or questing on their own, players will engage in heroic battles, develop friendships, forge alliances, and compete with enemies for power and glory. The game features customizable character classes with thousands of weapons, spells, and abilities. With an innovative, easy-to-use interface, an action-packed combat system, and thousands of quests that build an immersive storyline, World of Warcraft is an MMORPG that will appeal to both veteran and casual players alike.
About the Warcraft Universe
Since its debut in 1994, the #1-selling WarcraftÃ‚Â® series has won industry acclaim and has shattered sales records worldwide with over 14 million copies sold*. In 1995, Blizzard followed the well-received Warcraft: Orcs and HumansTM with the highly acclaimed Warcraft II: Tides of DarknessTM, considered by many critics to be one of the best games ever made. In 2002, Blizzard expanded the boundaries of the Warcraft universe with the third chapter of its legendary saga, Warcraft III: Reign of ChaosTM, which garnered numerous Game of the Year awards. With the release of World of Warcraft, Blizzard now extends its epic storyline into the MMORPG realm, expanding the genre with a massively multiplayer gaming experience of unparalleled quality.
About Blizzard Entertainment
Best known for blockbuster hits including the WarcraftÃ‚Â® series, StarCraftÃ‚Â®, and the DiabloÃ‚Â® series, Blizzard EntertainmentÃ‚Â® (www.blizzard.com), a division of Vivendi Universal Games, is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating many of the industry's most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard's track record includes nine #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company's free Internet gaming service, Battle.netÃ‚Â®, reigns as the largest in the world, with millions of active users.
*Sales figures based on internal company estimates and reports from key retail accounts around the world.
**All prices quoted include VAT.