No recession in the metaverse, either

A sweeping statement, perhaps, but still: having already established that the “global recession” isn’t actually global, there are signs that some things are still selling hard and fast here in the West. The weird bit? One of those things is access to a hyperreal virtual universe. I’m talking, of course, about World Of Warcraft; I’ll let Edward Castronova sum it up in a few sentences.

Blizzard’s Cataclysm broke a single-day sales record for PC games: 3.3m copies in a day. At $40 each, that’s $132m revenue in a day.

The weekend box office for the latest Narnia move this past weekend was $24m. The other fantasy releases like Tangled and Harry Potter, came to $24m in their second or third week.

OK, granted, WoW was an international release, and those box office figures are (I presume) US-only. But even so, the entertainments that we value sufficiently to pay money for are changing, and changing fast… and no matter how much “can’t live without it” rhetoric you might hear from its regular users, I’m pretty sure no economist in their right mind would describe WoW as anything other than a leisure luxury.

And hey – looks like Blizzard’s managing to make a pretty dime in a piracy-riddled digital world, too. How’d you like them apples, Hollywood?