The Rise of World of Warcraft

In March 2005, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment launched “Matrix Online,” a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) based on the popular film franchise. Despite high expectations, the game struggled, attracting fewer than 50,000 subscribers in its first three months. By June, Warner sold the game to Sony, and bys the following month, the game’s virtual realms were downsized from nine to three due to low player activity.


The failure of “Matrix Online” was partly due to its mediocre gameplay, but a larger factor was the overwhelming success of Blizzard Entertainment’s “World of Warcraft” (WoW). Launched in November 2004, WoW quickly became a juggernaut in the online gaming world, drawing millions of players with its polished, humorous, and engaging fantasy setting.

WoW’s Impact on the Gaming Industry

Subscription-Based Gaming

WoW’s success has sparked a debate about its impact on the broader gaming industry. On one hand, it has introduced millions of new players to subscription-based online gaming. On the other hand, it has diverted significant revenue and player attention from other titles. Chris Kramer, a spokesman for Sony Online Entertainment, noted, “WoW is completely owning the online game space right now.”

Market Expansion

Before WoW, the conventional wisdom was that the market for subscription-based MMOs was limited. The original “EverQuest,” for example, peaked at around 500,000 subscribers. However, WoW shattered these assumptions, signing up over 4 million subscribers worldwide by November 2005. This s

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