Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Other Posts, World of Warcraft as Hobby

I neglected to mention that yesterday was Alexis Madrigal day. I had posts up at Ed Cotton’s awesome Influx Insights and the t(w)een trendspotting blog Ypulse on World of Warcraft as the new surfing and Ubisoft’s Babyz, respectively.

Dean Browell of Skewed Perspective had a great comment at Influx:

A sport vs. a product
interesting-- while I think you use good numbers, I think you're working from an assumption that World of Warcraft has been pitched as embracing all ages; of course with the size of the Baby Boomer population (who play golf) just about any causal entertainment activity will have a tough time beating such a pervasive sport. If we look at the number of people below 30 who play golf-- something tells me it'd be on par with the number of people who play WoW. The other important thing from a market standpoint is what WoW means as a product-- this isn't at all like everyone who plays a single sport such as golf, unless everyone who played golf all did so at the same golf course or with the same clubs. What an incredible thing it is, even if WoW is as big as surfing, that this one activity hosted by a single company has accumulated that following. It's not just a general hobby, it's a product. No one owns or controls all surfing experiences like Blizzard does WoW. How remarkable, I think!

Here is why I think WoW is looking hobby-like, even if it remains a product (reproduced from my response to him):

…my argument would be that the amount of money being spent on WoW but not captured by Blizzard as well as the amount of outside tools and relationships that have been brought into the game are making WoW hobby-likeWe're talking the wholesale purchase of characters, guilds from other games, various hacks/dupes, powerleveling, buying virtual currency, TeamSpeak, Ventrilo, mobile/web guild management software/services, hint books, outside websites like Thottbot, etc. It's still primarily a product, but it's blurring the line…

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