Stolen Pixels

Stolen Pixels
Stolen Pixels #187: Operators Are Standing By

Shamus Young | 20 Apr 2010 13:00
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Blizzard has begun selling the Celestial Steed mount to World of Warcraft players. That is, they will sell you a pretend animal for twenty-five real-world American dollars, a transaction not unlike selling your imaginary friend into slavery. To 80,000 different people. If you run the numbers this comes to two million bucks. (And those sales numbers are over a week old and are probably way higher by now.) Ten years ago that kind of cash could have bankrolled an entire game.

I'm curious as to how this will impact the game, long-term. Sparkly The Wonderhorse is cool and everything, but does owning it rid you of the need of ever acquiring any other mounts, ever? That would be 80,000 people who would never have to quest or save in-game money for a mount for any character they own, ever. That would remove one of the larger money sinks in the game and make a good number of quests obsolete. That doesn't sound like a Blizzard kind of thing to do. My account lapsed ages ago, so I'll leave it to the rest of you to explain how this is supposed to work.

Also note that while two million bucks would be a ton of cash for anyone else, it's probably not a huge deal for Blizzard. Ten million subscribers (or whatever the count is these days) times ten bucks each (or whatever the average payment is, considering bulk rates and different pricing regions) comes to a hundred million bucks. A month. So as massive as the profit from the space pony is, it's probably going to end up being used to prop up a crooked table leg in Blizzard's massive underground treasure vaults.

Shamus Young is the guy behind this website, this book, these three webcomics, and this program.

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