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Daily Debrief: Countdown to 'World of Warcraft' midnight maniaIt's the biggest massively multiplayer online game in the U.S 'World of Warcraft' is a computer game phenomenon, so what should we expect when its latest incarnation goes live at midnight? CNET News' Charles Cooper sits down with Daniel Terdiman on this...
[ Music ] ^M00:00:04 >> Charlie: More than 11,000,000 computer gamers are waiting for the clock to strike midnight tonight, that's when the latest incarnation of World of Warcraft's latest saga goes live. Welcome to the CNET News Daily Debrief, I'm Charlie Cooper here with my colleague Dan Terdeman [assumed spelling], and in computer gamedome this is a very big deal. Explain the wrath of the Letch King, what's different about this versus what we've got now in WOW? >> Dan: Well, this is the second major World of Warcraft expansion; the first one was called The Burning Crusade and this one -- the biggest change for a lot of people is gonna be that they can now go up to level 80, ya know, World of Warcraft is a level based game. The original -- >> Charlie: A fantasy game? >> Dan: Yeah, -- >> Charlie: With dwarfs and elves and all kinds of exotic stuff. >> Dan: Right, fantasy role playing game. Originally -- the first version of World of Warcraft you can only go up to level 60, then the first expansion you could go up to level 70, so now people can go up to level 80 so that's, ya know, -- One person put it it's like two more years of play for these people. It's got a new hero class for the first time, so it's just gonna be a lot of, ya know, a lot of new play, a lot of new adventures and raids and, ya know, a lot of new ground to cover. >> Charlie: Now, Blizzard Entertainment also stands to make a nice piece of change, what's their guesstimate as to how many people will move over to this? >> Dan: Looks like, I was just talking to an analyst who said that he expects there to be about 4,000,000 in sales of the expansion in the, ya know, the first quarter of its availability. We did the math a little bit and discounting for the, ya know, for what retailer's pay Blizzard looks to score, ya know, maybe $120,000,000 just from the sale of the expansion and that's not even counting the $15.00 a month subscription fee that it earns from -- >> Charlie: And in an otherwise lousy economy that's good news. >> Dan: Yeah, they're gonna get to keep their holiday party, I think, at Blizzard. >> Charlie: At least someone is. Daniel step back for a moment try to analyze what's behind the appeal of these MMO's, these massively multi-player on-line games? >> Dan: Right, well, they're a way for a lot of people to just sort of go into this fantasy world and play around and battle and, ya know, meet people from all over the place. They have a social element but they also have, ya know, a big game play element and that's, ya know, always been a big thing in these games, ya know, Ultimate On-line and Everquest were the first two, ya know, big successes in the genre. For a long time until World of Warcraft came out, which was in 2004, people were sort of wondering whether any of these games would ever break the magic 1,000,000 subscriber barrier. World of Warcraft came along; overnight it hit 4,000,000 subscribers, 6,000,000, 7,000,000. >> Charlie: Shattered that record. >> Dan: Yeah, now as you mentioned it's up to 11,000,000 and it is so far and away the most successful American MMO that's ever come along nothing is even close. >> Charlie: In Asia you have games that have actually approximated, perhaps even gone beyond 11,000,000. >> Dan: Yeah, but they're not quite as big in scope, there's really nothing, ya know, as large, ya know, in terms of how much, ya know, content there is not to mention the players as World of Warcraft. >> Charlie: Okay, midnight madness we'll be waiting, thanks. On behalf of CNET News I'm Charlie Cooper. ^E00:03:22