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.