I bet Citizen Murdoch wishes he had WoW to add to the Fox stable.

License to print money. Without killing a tree of course:

You run a game for around five years, you can’t expect it to be cheap. You’ve got to run servers, pay customer service reps, pay for marketing, etc etc. World of Warcraft’s been running for four years now, so how much has the upkeep cost Blizzard?

$200 million. Or, at least that’s what Blizzard disclosed during yesterday’s analyst conference call.

That’s it. Staff payroll, hardware support, customer service (which, interestingly, they say is their largest department), the lot. Well, mostly – we think they’re just talking the upkeep costs, not the original development costs. Sure, in isolation $200 million is a lot of clams, but when you put $200 million in the “expenditures” column then put $300 gazillion in the “revenue” column, you’re not just laughing all the way to the bank, you’re cackling. (Kotaku)

But how much has World of Warcraft made? I mean 200 million dollars is a lot if you create a digital graveyard that people rarely visit. But it’s a drop in the virtual ocean if you make loads of gold coins.

Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Vivendi Games, has projected calendar 2007 revenues of 1.1 billion, operating margins of over 40% and approximately 520 million of operating profit. Blizzard owns the #1 multi-player online role-playing game franchise, World Of Warcraft, which currently has over 9.3 million subscribers worldwide. Blizzard’s World Of Warcraft, Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo games account for four of the top-five best-selling PC game titles of all time. (Vivendi/Blizzard)

$200 million outgoings since Nov 2004. 1.1 billion incomings per year. A nice little earner.

As I’ve been an avid player of WoW since Nov 2004, I figure a good slice of their billions is mine. grrrr. And remember, there’s a lot of free worlds out there. WoW is 15 bucks a month.