Number of Players and Average Game Time
Current estimates (another) put China's user base at approx. 4 million players (out of Blizzard's claimed 11.5 million "Active Subscribers").
Although many users had migrated to Taiwan realms for WOTLK and less hassles, it's interesting to note that Blizzard's revenues were much higher on average during the quarters when fees were not collected in China. (During that same time, Blizzard stated that their player counts were the same.) I'm guessing that not many players had moved back to the China realms during that time.
Most recently, 16,000 WoW players interviewed by Sina.com stated that ~44% intended to return to CWOW servers, ~25% intended to keep playing on TWOW servers, and ~30% were giving up the game (e.g. tired of the drama, there are plenty more games out there, etc.)
To The Blizzard Employee Reading This:
Please tell your superiors to open up server transfers between all geographies (e.g. US to China, Taiwan to China, China to Taiwan, etc.) You can claim that this is all your idea and create a return-on-investment case detailing how this project will increase player growth in all geographies, is excellent for public relations, significantly improve customer loyalty, and how Blizzard can make tons of revenue in additional services for a process that is very simple and inexpensive. (You'll probably even get a promotion or pay raise out of this. Yay. But hurry up, plenty of other Blizzard employees regular this blog.)
In regards to average game time by WoW players in China, there haven't been as many studies as I was hoping. But here's a summary of what does exist:
- A 2006 Study from Research and Consultancy Firm Niko Partners stated users in China averaged 4 hours per day.
- A 2006 Morgan-Stanley Study (as per IDC) stated that user in China averaged 3-5 hours per day.
- A 2007 "Assessment of U.S. and Chinese Online Gaming Environments" stated that the average user in China averaged 5 hours per day.
- And finally in 2010, a very recent study (June 30 to be exact) stated similar findings to those above but also added that approx. 20% of players play 5 to 8 hours per day and approx. 22% play for more than 8 hours per day!
Those are 3 independent studies that claim 28 to 35 hours per week are spent. Other studies from blog webpages claim that the average is over 25 hours per week, but they were missing sources and citation. So, it's pretty safe to say that the average CWOW player puts in approximately 4-5 hours per day. I'll be using that figure for some upcoming calculations regarding monthly fees and total number of players.