World of Warcraft is an enormously popular game that has experienced success beyond what anyone might have expected. It has become a mainstream triumph and has widened the audience for its genre and for gaming in general. It has also had an effect on the game industry, and in many ways is a surprising and remarkable title.
What World of Warcraft has done is to make the multi-player game more popular. Before it arrived, the majority of people playing multi-player online games were usually teenage and twenty something males. World of Warcraft has broadened the gaming audience considerably. All sorts of age groups and individuals are now playing it. In particular, it has brought much younger gamers towards the genre.
World of Warcraft has appealed to people who aren’t normally into gaming. It is quite common for someone to try it because they have a roommate or a friend who has it, and then they themselves become hooked. An academic study, The Daedalus Project by Nick Yee, has examined people who play the multi-player genre. Almost 20% of people now playing these games have had little prior experience in video gaming. World of Warcraft’s role in attracting such people can not be underestimated.
World of Warcraft has appealed to women, who are not the typical audience for multi-player titles. Women either actively seek the game out, or try it because their boyfriend or husband is a fan. Around half of the women who play games like Warcraft are playing with their partner. In general, women now make up around a third of the overall number of people who play online multi-player games. World of Warcraft is often the key title in introducing them to the genre.
World of Warcraft has made gaming a social experience. People play the game together in groups. Couples play it together, and around 25% of people who play games like Warcraft are playing with their romantic partner. Families also play together, and it is common for people to experience it with a family member. Parents play World of Warcraft with their children, and brothers play alongside each other in the game. It has a clear, universal appeal that encourages such interaction.
One factor that has assisted the popularity of World of Warcraft is the availability of free trials for the game. While it was in development there were beta tests that introduced the game to players. Most significantly, though, the game’s developer Blizzard has held free trials for the game since its release. This has ensured that anyone can try it and play it. Most people who sample the game want to continue with it, and are likely to buy the game and sign up for the monthly subscription.
The vast audience for World of Warcraft has been of interest to the game industry. Before the game came along, game companies felt that the multi-player genre was full and that there was no more room for a new title. The game has proven otherwise and has shown that the market can actually expand and grow. Game companies have been impressed by its success, and are very interested in why it has taken off to the extent that it has. They had not realised the potential in the online role-playing genre.
World of Warcraft has shown that there are actually many possibilities for the genre. Game companies are now looking to make multi-player games that are more accessible and easier to play. They want to appeal to more casual players who may not have the time or inclination to spend all their time on a game. They are also examining how multi-player games are designed. They used to be serious and overly demanding titles. Warcraft has shown that they can be purely entertaining and fun.
World of Warcraft then is a title that has broken new ground and increased the market that multi-player games can have. It has been popular with different types of people and has made the game industry rethink their whole approach to the genre. It is a very accessible game and it has developed a broad, mainstream appeal as a result.