Blizzard Entertainment, which makes the MMORPG World of WarCraft, has just announced that the game has crossed the 9 million subscriber mark. In other words: there’s an online video game that is now the 90th most populous country on earth.
A gym in Vancouver, Canada, has just added Nintendo’s Wii system to some of its circuit training stations. (One session of Wii boxing, apparently, can burn between 75 and 125 calories.) I can sort of understand that, given how physically active playing the Wii is. But what really bothered me, for some reason, was that the gym is going to add Playstations and Xbox 360s--which require no amount of physical exertion whatsoever--just to lure in younger clients. (But if the 'number of TVs at my gym turned to ESPN-to-douchebag' ratio at my gym is any indication, this may actually be successful.)
And finally, between all of the problems with the Xbox 360—including recalls and warranty extensions (and that's on top of the reported $129 loss that Microsoft sustains selling each unit)—the software giant’s entertainment division now stands to lose $1.9 billion this fiscal year. That said, even as profits are falling--and, from my former days as a video game tester, I can vouch that they do indeed crash quite a bit--the company is still posting a mighty profit of $1.42 per share this year. Because for everyone who’s giving up their console, approximately five others are subscribing to WoW and someone else is calling the Wii their workout. And the addiction potential of video games, they say, needs more study. Go figure.