I recommend viewing the presentation on SlideShare because the embedding does not show speaker notes.
Dec. 7 is the official release day for “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm”. Blizzard entertainment has already opened “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” for download pre-order. The boxed retail set does have extras not accessible via download. “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” comes with a specialty pet if you purchase it in a retail store. Article resource – World of Warcraft Cataclysm release includes Shale Spider by Money Blog Newz.
The date that wow: Cataclysm’ could be launched
The newest expansion pack for “World of Warcraft” is ready to be launched Tuesday. At 12:01 a.m. on December 7, the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” expansion can be released. Anyone who pre-purchases the digital download will be immediately turned on to the “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” the moment it is launched into the world. You can purchase “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” with a physical copy if you’d like. Dec. 7 could be when this is available.
What ‘world of Warcraft: Cataclysm’ benefits are
”World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” is fairly cool. “WoW” is updated a lot with it. You can then choose 2 brand new races of characters too. Worgen and Goblin are these races. The races aren’t new as they have been within the game for a while. This is the first time the races can be played though. The story behind “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” includes a disaster that directly effects the Goblin race. The Horde has the Worgen in it although they’re an Alliance race. They’re just one of the things going on in “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” though. There is a lot more of brand new stuff in “World of Warcraft” with the expansions with a level cap at 85 now, new backgrounds and 2 locations being revamped totally.
Brand new pets for the ‘world of Warcraft: Cataclysm’
There is a reason why you might like to get the boxed set of “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” rather than playing it as shortly as it is released. The collector’s edition of “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” includes an exclusive pet family. These animals are available to “tame.”. There are a lot of different looks you can choose for the Shale Spiders in “Cataclysm.” They are fairly cool too.
World of Warcraft
Cyber-thieves have stolen approximately 30 million euros worth of carbon credits circulating in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), authorities revealed yesterday. The carbon credits are entries in a distributed database maintained by EU states. Companies access their credits by logging into their online user account. Crackers used phishing-style attacks to obtain login credentials from companies, and transferred credits to other accounts.
This sounds familiar. Here’s an interesting exercise: let’s compare EU carbon credits with the virtual gold of the online game World of Warcraft. See if we can find a difference.
- Both credits and gold are elements in an abstract system of rules, implemented as a computer program. Neither have any shape or function outside this system.
- Both systems have a certain group of participants, and each participant has a “user account”. Each credit/gold coin belongs to exactly one user account.
- Both credits and gold can be transferred between accounts, but creating new ones is not possible; only the operators of the system can do that. Both are thus artificially scarce.
- Both credits and gold can be exchanged to national currency by selling them to another participant who finds them so useful as to be willing to pay money for them.
- Because of the above, both are targeted by cybercriminals who attempt to steal them through phishing attacks.
ETS credits are clearly the industrial version of game currency — industrial grade virtual goods. Funnily enough, it seems from the news coverage that ETS has worse cybersecurity than WoW. Those who set up new virtual economies would do well to learn from their predecessors in the game industry.
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research has published it’s issue on the booming teen/tween/children’s virtual world market. The articles are also listed below.
Meanwhile, the Researchers’ Toolbox issue has been split into two parts. My co-authored paper on data collection methods will apparently be published in the second part, which is supposed to come out this month.
The journal suffered from delays in the publication schedule last year as it underwent an editorial transition. But I’d like to thank the outgoing editor, Jeremiah Spence, for his contributions, and wish success to the incoming editor, Yesha Sivan.
The editorial team for this issue includes:
Sun Sun Lim, National University of Singapore
Lynn Schofield Clark, University of Denver, USA
Virtual worlds as a site of convergence for children’s play
Peer Reviewed Research Papers
A quick, and unscientific, summary of the impact of the recent Cataclysm expansion on gold farming in World of Warcraft would be that it simultaneously changes everything and changes nothing. At a micro-level it changes pretty much everything – all of the specific locations and in-game activities that gold farmers would have learned are gone or different, and they are having to re-learn the good spots and specific actions. But at the macro-level, it looks like business as usual: gold is still being farmed and sold just as it ever was.
We can get a bit more of an insight into what’s happening by looking at the virtual currency exchange rate: if Cataclysm was causing an in-game shortage, that would likely lead to WoW gold appreciating against real-world currencies.
Comparing the January 2011 rates to October 2009, there has actually been a depreciation of around 11%: where 2,000 gold earlier cost an average of US$8.35, now it costs an average of US$7.41. This therefore looks like a dog that didn’t bark: the currency is not deviating from the pattern of depreciation that has been seen ever since gold farming began (associated with competition in the market and discovery of better (i.e. quicker and thus cheaper) ways to farm gold).
Looking in a bit more detail, though, suggests something slightly different. In the 14 months since October 2009, WoW gold has depreciated 11%. In the 14 months prior to October 2009, it depreciated by 58%. We can also compare WoW gold with other virtual currencies. Taking a basket of FFXI, LOTR, EVE Online, and EQ2, their currencies depreciated against the US dollar an average of 51% during the period Oct 2009 – Jan 2011.
So that suggests there may have been a Cataclysm effect – significantly slowing the “normal” process of depreciation; possibly reflecting a supply-side impact on gold farming, for example, in the need to build up post-expansion knowledge about gold farming sources and methods.
One final snippet comes from looking at prices for power levelling. This also has been subject to depreciation over time, albeit at a slightly lesser rate than the currency. From Oct 2009 to Jan 2011, however, prices for levelling seem to have appreciated by about 20% (e.g. levelling from 1-60 rose from an average US$69 to an average US$83). That could reflect either increased supply side costs in having to learn the new levelling paths and/or growth in demand from new players wanting high-level characters but in either case it again suggests some sort of “Cataclysm effect”.
Does anyone else have data or experiences to share on this?
Broken down in terms of some interesting numbers, Ted Sorom has laid out a year in review summary of the virtual goods industry at TechCrunch. Perhaps most interesting figure is that $7,300,000,000 is the expected global revenue for virtual good sales from 2010, although the number of virtual hotdogs eaten by NPCs in Ravenwood Fair is a close second.
The full article is available at TechCrunch.
This is, of course, a somewhat diverse and limited set of measures. It is also one that includes everything from the sale of digital game software to the sale of goods within the games and other environments themselves. However, it offers a glimpse not only into the size of the virtual goods industry, but some of the many features, goods, and values that are currently available for considering these economies.
Many virtual worlds have a large, overarching economy, based on market economy principles. However, these economies can also contain smaller economies that function somewhat differently from the overarching economic features of the world. While Second Life is based largely on a market economy, there are other economic elements such as charity that also come into effect in ways that can be both interesting and potentially useful for understanding both online and offline giving.
Charitable works within Second Life can be remarkably effective. While there are many smaller charitable causes supported throughout the world, there are also examples of significant and highly successful charitable drives. For instance, Second Life’s 2010 Relay for Life raised US $222,804 for cancer research while the 2009 event raised US $ $274,000.
The success of these endeavours raises the question of what makes charitable efforts so successful within the virtual world, and centres on three main features of the world and its economic system: resident generosity, small but frequent donations, and the ability to offer virtual goods in order to benefit charitable causes.
First, although there are also elements of Second Life and its economy that may facilitate charitable donations, a great many Second Life residents are inclined to be generous in a multitude of ways, as seen in the significant amounts raised for Relay for Life and other charitable causes.
There are, however, elements of the virtual world that can help to redefine and increase charitable giving. In the case of donations, it can be easy to give relatively small amounts in Second Life. Donations of 20, 50, 100, or even 250 Lindens are common, but with the exchange rate of around 250 Lindens to one U.S. dollar, 20 Lindens equals about $0.08 and 100 equals about $0.40. Although the amounts may be relatively small when converted to USD, many small donations can add up quickly. At these levels, most residents can afford to donate. As a result, it is appears that more residents are donating than otherwise would if donations were expected to be higher. Consequently, the frequency of donations can drastically increase the total amounts donated even when the amount of each donation is relatively small.
While many residents give generously on their own and without expectations, there are also charitable efforts in Second Life that are based around more reciprocal arrangements where virtual goods also come into play. Because virtual goods do not usually have many associated material costs, it also very common to find items donated for charitable causes and then either given away to donors or sold so that profits can be donated.
Offering goods is an established technique for generating charitable income in three interrelated ways. First, the act of giving something away – a flower, perhaps, or return stickers for addressing envelopes – generates a sense of expected reciprocity. This tactic can make the recipient more likely to feel that they owe something in return for the small gift they have been given. Second, getting something in return for a donation is rewarding for those who are giving. This is the model frequently adopted in fundraising drives of public television stations as well as by charities who based their fundraising efforts on reciprocal arrangements. Receiving a tote bag, CD, or pin as recognition for making a donation is an attractive way to encourage giving by allowing the giver to receive something in return. Finally, releasing specially created items for purchase with proceeds going to charity is an effective way to generate funds. With goods available for purchase, residents can go about their normal consumption activities while still supporting charitable works.
Generally speaking, it is the latter two models that seem to arise most frequently in Second Life, especially with regards to some of the larger fundraising events. Given the extremely high quality and established generosity of many Second Life designers, there is no shortage of donated goods available on which to base charitable efforts. Furthermore, because they are virtual, there are few, if any, costs required to create a large number of whatever goods are offered for sale. At the same time, by offering goods to individuals in exchange for their Lindens, those who support charities with their purchases also get something of their own choice in return.
Despite the fact that funds are spread out over a huge number of charities and causes, the potential effects of such efforts are not lost in Second Life. Although there are hundreds (if not thousands) of in-world charitable causes and efforts, Relay for Life is one of the largest examples of charitable giving in Second Life with their US $222 804 contribution in 2010. This amount was raised using a combination of sponsorship, stand-alone donations and the sale and auction of a huge variety of virtual goods.
While virtual worlds are certainly worthy of consideration in their own right, perhaps there are lessons that we can take from instances of charitable giving to apply in other situations. Offline we are perhaps not as free of the costs of offering goods in exchange for donations. However, the combination of many small donations and the offering of virtual goods as a form of donor recognition is a powerful way of generating contributions that can raise significant funds for charitable causes that have very definite and positive effects.
Companies are so eager to tout total subscribers but I don’t think I’m alone when I say that number is fairly useless when it really comes down to it.
What we really need to know is the MAU at the very least and then the DAU to top it all off.. I have a few examples but I’d love to hear more if anyone has any.
Runes of Magic for example has a 20% rate of active users. When they had 3 million registered accounts they were reporting roughly 600k active. Altough I’d really love to know when they say 600,000 active users if they are talking about DAU’s or MAU’s. I have to assume it is MAU just to give them the opportunity to use the biggest numbers possible
WeeWorld: When they had 26 Million registered accounts they were reporting 1 million active
Fantage: Now Fantage says that they have 3.3 million unique visitors per month and 7.7 registered accounts. A few sources have foolishly taken it upon themselves to report Fantage with 3.3 Million MAU’s based on this unique visitor count. Which isn’t the case as we have no idea how many of that 3.3 are actual members or people just passing through
PCCU = Peak Concurrent Users
Gaia online: When they reported 15 million registered accounts they had about 64,000 PCCU. The PCCU rate is about 5-10% of the Active User rate(as juddged by Runes of Magic having 600k active and 30k PCCU). So that would put them at about 800,000 active users
Dark Orbit: 35 million users and 80,000 PCCU or about 1.2 million Active users.
Obviously this active user rate is going to consistently go down the older the game is and the more registrations they accumulate so time needs to be included in the calculations. With an average industry churn rate of 33% that shouldn’t be too hard to do though.
I would just love to have a framework in place where we can easily look at these numbers being spit forward by companies about how many users they have, take a look at how long they’ve been in business, and quickly translate their total reg’ed users into something we can actually use in our business models like MAU and eventually DAU
Wondering if any one has any stats on the growth of an IP over mutliple years.. We see a ton of stats showing Title X reached 1 million users in the first week, or that Title Y has 100 million users after 5 years but I’d be keen to see how the growth rate changes in relation to time as well as relation to in game population.
Obviously if Title X maintained that growth they would be at 52 million users in the first year which I can’t see happening as a rule so I assume the growth rate begins to slow.
The same goes for the virality of a product, something will reach a critical mass when enough people are talking about it that it spurs growth.. Just curious about these two topics if anyone has done the research and tracked the numbers
Actually the latest Universe chart from Kzero contains a lot of intermittent quarter by quarter pop numbers in it that indicates, surprisingly enough that a lot of mature titles maintain consistent growth rates even at the 30+ million player count
A presentation I gave at Virtual Goods Forum 2010 on June 23th in London.
I highly recommend clicking the “view on slideshare” to see slide specific notes for more detailed descriptions.