IRVINE, CA â€“ July 20, 2005 â€“ Blizzard EntertainmentÂ®, Inc. today announced that World of WarcraftÂ®, its subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), has surpassed 1.5 million paying customers in China â€“ just a month following the game's commercial launch on June 7, 2005. The critically acclaimed World of Warcraft has now achieved another significant milestone as the largest MMORPG in the world, with more than 3.5 million global customers.
"World of Warcraft's success in China has quickly exceeded our expectations, and seeing Chinese gamers respond so enthusiastically to the game has been extremely gratifying," said Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We thank the players for embracing World of Warcraft, our partner The9 for helping to make all of this possible, and the Chinese authorities for supporting Blizzard Entertainment."
Blizzard's partner, well-respected MMO operator The9, is leading the operation and management of World of Warcraft in China while upholding its commitment to provide exceptional service as the game's customer base has experienced extraordinary growth. The9's dedicated team in China, composed entirely of Chinese management and staff, has provided localization of game content, synchronization of content updates, and delivery of player feedback to the developers. The9's local team offers 24-hour customer service, with direct game master (GM) support and local call-center representatives dedicated to helping players with questions regarding gameplay and technical issues.
"Chinese gamers across the country have embraced World of Warcraft," said Michael Fong, Blizzard Entertainment managing director, Greater China, "and we are committed to responding with continual updates to the game, including new dungeons for players to explore, additional player-vs.-player content, ongoing live events, and much more. Blizzard and The9 also remain dedicated to delivering unparalleled service to Chinese gamers with fully localized content and local, around-the-clock customer support."
The 1.5 million paying Chinese customers now join the two million players in North America, Europe, and Korea who are already paying to play World of Warcraft. With a worldwide customer population of more than 3.5 million, World of Warcraft is now by far the largest MMORPG in the world. Blizzard plans to continue expanding World of Warcraft with upcoming launches in Taiwan and other parts of Asia.
For more information on World of Warcraft in China, including pricing and gameplay features, please visit the official Chinese website at www.wowchina.com.
World of Warcraft's Customer Base Definition
World of Warcraft customers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or a prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the installation box bundled with one free month access. Internet Game Room players having accessed the game over the last seven days are also counted as customers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or canceled subscriptions, and expired pre-paid cards. Customers in licensees' territories are defined along the same rules.
About Blizzard Entertainment
Best known for blockbuster hits including the WarcraftÂ®, StarCraftÂ®, and DiabloÂ® series, Blizzard EntertainmentÂ®, Inc. (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.netÂ®, reigns as the largest in the world, with millions of active users.