Virtual horse rakes in $2.5 million per hour for Blizzard

World of Warcraft's 'Celestial Mount' rakes in the big bucks for Blizzard

Last week, Activision-Blizzard released a new in-game item for its mega-hit MMO, World of Warcraft. This time out, it was the Celestial Mount and it was the first "usable" virtual pet that the company has sold (your character can ride it). They priced it at a whopping US$25.

As soon as the Celestial Mount was announced the gaming community fractured. On one side of the fence were the naysayers decrying Activision-Blizzard for pricing the thing so ridiculously high and thereby setting a bad precedent. On the other side of the fence were the people queuing up to buy it. And I mean that literally; there was apparently so much demand for this item that the Blizzard servers had to throttle the purchasing of it in order to protect their e-commerce servers. Or so we are led to believe, anyway. We're also led to believe there are limited numbers of the mount available; artificial scarcity is a great way to drive demand, after all.

According to a post at WoW.com (a blog devoted to World of Warcraft, not the official site), at one point the purchase queue hit 80,000 (and the post keeps being updated to bump up that number). But from reading the comments, people are reporting numbers as high as 130,000 and saying it only took about 25 minutes to get through it (even though a 7 hour wait time was being reported). This is all clearly hearsay at this point, but let's play with the numbers a bit. To be conservative we'll use a queue size of 100,000 and a real wait time of an hour. That would mean Actvision-Blizzard are hauling in US$2.5 million/hour for an item that costs them pennies to produce (basically the cost of processing the user's credit card and the bandwidth it takes to download the mount) once the cost of designing and implementing the item is covered. And potentially they could be making as much as double that.

Granted the numbers are based on anecdotal evidence and in any case will taper off quickly, but still not a bad day's business.

So what's so special about this mount? Aside from looking cool, nothing. It isn't faster or better than other mounts in the game; it's just easier to get, and apparently World of Warcraft players are more than happy to shell out dollars in exchange for convenience. That's a message that Activision-Blizzard, and a lot of other MMO publishers, are certain to hear loud and clear.

Here's the horse in action:

Personally, we’d rather pay $25 for <i>this</i> horse. It’s amazing.

Related articles:

World of Warcraft: Dames & Dorks gallery

World of Warcraft subscribers equal population of Ohio

World of Warcraft Blamed for Child Jumping Off Building

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags activisionblizzardwowonline games

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Smith

ITWorld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?