Reporting this because they give us relevant infos:
more than 2 million players in North America, more than 1.5 million players in Europe, and more than 3.5 million players in China.
My previous considerations were both right and wrong:
if nothing changes we would see the subscriptions climbing at above 8 million just by the end of September.
If that’s true it would be a safe bet saying that the NA subscribers will climb above 2M BEFORE the launch of the expansion. Again, I doubt it. We’ll see if I’m wrong but I’m not so sure that the NA subscribers are even above 1.5M. That would disprove the data we have now, though. But that’s my suspect.
An average of the two and we are there.
What I can see now is that the growth is still rather constant. This would mean that by the end of 2007 WoW would reach 10M worldwide, but this without counting the effect of the expansion (and the competition, but I don’t think there are any real competitors yet).
It’s possible that the expansion alone will give the game another 1M in our market (US+EU) easily. That 1/3-1/4 growth is what I would expect. We’ll see.
Also interesting to consider that both US and EU market seem to grow at a similar pace. About half a million every year.
August 2005 – 1M in the US
January 2006 – 1M in the EU (with US probably at 1.5)
January 2007 – 2M in the US, 1.5M in the EU
Those being official numbers.
My suspect here is that the growth slowed down during the 2006. But the imminent launch of the expansion already gave these numbers a boost. The 2M in NA would already include some returning players that are getting ready for the expansion launch. So the point is: how many more subscribers, beside those already back, the expansion will bring to the game?