It’s a question one man is attempting to answer regarding the Middle East. And it’s actually an interesting statistic to contemplate. We all know that World of Warcraft has more than 12 million subscribers globally, but what about within a given region? How about in regions Blizzard doesn’t directly “service” by providing a localization of the game there?
This is what Raouf Shabayek — a Dubai, United Arab Emirates resident — is trying to figure out. He started out by analyzing inside information on sales of 60-day time cards by Red Entertainment Distribution, the exclusive distributor of Activision Blizzard products in the Middle East. As it turns out, according to his friend, RED sold around 2,500 time cards each month. So Shabayek makes an educated guess that there are at least 5,000 World of Warcraft players in the Middle East.
He weighs in on the fact that there are those who also pay a subscription fee. He then works Saudi Arabi, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman into the equation. Based on his “wild estimation,” he assumes there are somewhere around 70,000 players residing in the six GCC states alone. He continues on with the remaining areas and comes to the conclusion that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 World of Warcraft players in the Middle East.
While there’s no concrete data to back this up — Blizzard doesn’t go that in-depth with their subscriber information — it does strike up some curiosity in me regarding other regions of the world. Shabayek considers this to be why Blizzard feels that the Middle East “is not that critical to the WoW realm.” That said, now I want to know how many players there are in locales like South America, since it looks like Blizzard is gearing up to localize the game in Brazil later this year.