WOW has 54% of Western MMO subs

Sector holds steady from 2008 into 2009.

Blizzard continues to dominate subscription-based MMO gaming, with World of Warcraft enjoying 54 per cent market share in North America and Europe in 2009, according to a new report.

The Screen Digest report (via GamesIndustry.biz) showed that Blizzard's grip on the subscription MMO market had relaxed slightly, falling from 60 per cent in 2008 to 54 per cent last year.

2009 was an "off year" for World of Warcraft, with no new expansion pack released. Later this year, Blizzard will launch the Cataclysm expansion for the six-year-old game, aimed specifically at refreshing its older areas and attracting new players.

Screen Digest's report otherwise showed that the subscription MMO business was growing slowly, despite the rise in free-to-play gaming. The total value of the market rose from $1.4 billion in 2008 to $1.6 billion in 2009, and is expected to reach $2 billion in 2014, although average revenue per user declined by 10 per cent.

And yes, before you get your calculators out, that means that according to Screen Digest's calculations, WOW brought in $756 million last year in Western markets alone - not counting its huge following in Asia.

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