Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blizzard L00t, pt II

Just a quick follow up on my September 2008 post Blizzard L00t, which discussed the profitability of World of Warcraft. In that post, I arrived at an extremely rough estimate of $80 million a month in revenue from WoW. Although I didn't get directly into annual WoW profit figures, a Wall Street Journal article provides some perspectives from the financial markets:

Blizzard generated $704 million in profits on revenues of $1.3 billion in 2008, according to regulatory filings. Analysts believe most of those results are tied to WOW. (emphasis added)

If the "analysts" are right (I wonder how many of them have even played WoW?), then my initial dollar estimates were a bit low, but not terribly inaccurate, while WoW's relative share of revenues/profits was likely more accurate.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Farewell, Daedalus

Sadly, I received an email this week notifying me that Nick Yee’s The Daedalus Project website is going into “hibernation mode,” which unfortunately sounds to me a lot like a permanent end to this much-valued resource. The website and its research will remain up, but the man behind the magic, Nick Yee, has completed his PhD and has other challenges to undertake. In his farewell, he says "I’m still deeply interested and fascinated by the MMO space, but I think I came to realize that continuing the project would require more time than I could devote to it."

The Daedalus Project has for years been a unique source of survey information about virtual worlds and their players. Data on favorite character classes, gender bending, motivations, demographics and a host of other variables has been freely put on display here. The MMO world is suffering a significant loss with the “hibernation” of The Daedalus Project. I trust that Nick’s future endeavors will yield equally fruitful research (even if it isn’t in the field of MMOs). Although he doesn’t say what changes are in store for him personally, hopefully Yee will continue his work in online games and immersive virtual reality as a research scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center’s (PARC) PlayOn group.

For all that he has done in the last 9 years, I say “thank you.” For all that he plans to do going forward, I wish him the best of luck.

[Be sure to check out the latest issue of The Daedalus Project, including “The Unbearable Likeness of Being.”]