Sunday, September 10, 2006

Number crunch: WoW vs Biking

Robin posted this the other day regarding a water cooler discussion about whether the number of "WoW enthusiasts" exceeded the number of cycling enthusiasts.

According to their conclusions, there are 3M bike commuters in America and less than 1M bike enthusiasts (defined as "people that don lycra and clip into pedals"). Given that this is less than the 6M wow players world wide, they concluded that WoW wins.

I disagree.

Here's why:

  • As I've posted before, I have issue with the 6M number that WoW is supposed to have. Their own definition of 'customer' leads me to beleive there's some overlap.
  • I also beleive there's been some attrition where accounts are still getting billed. However, this is analogous to people with $600 bicycles in the garage taht haven't been riden in a while (ahem, like me).
  • Their figures compare US numbers (cyclists) to worldwide (WoW). Apples, Oranges. According to Raph's numbers from his presentation at Austin GDC (not posted yet), US WoW players was something like 2M, so less than cyclists by Robin's numbers
  • According to these figures from the National Bicycle Dealers Assoc, 20M bikes were sold last year, and 16% of the unit volume was in the "Road/700c" category, who's *average* selling price was $1150. Another 16% of the unit volume was "mountain front suspension" who's average selling price was comparable.

I'd argue that $1000+ bicycles are usually sold to enthusiasts. 6.4M bikes a year. Assuming enthusiasts keep their bikes for what, 3 years, you could figure somewhere around 20M biking enthusiasts. And that's US only. Assuming another 5M (conservative) in europe and another equal number in the rest of the world, you are looking at 15M+ easily.

WoW doesn't even come close.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I bought a $1500.00 mountain bike, but thar does not make me an enthusiast, just optimistic that I will have time to use it. Which I do not, although I have actually ridden it, here is proof.

I still must agree - just because you own and subscribe to WoW, does not mean you are enthusiastic... or even really active, it just proves you pay for the service.

Now, if one could find out server stats on online identities: time played per day/week per identiry, then you can at least figure something out about how popular WoW really is, potentially in comparison to cycling. Of course, even with the increasing use of cars in China, I think that the bike usage there would tip the scale hopelessly to the side of cycling.

On the other hand, I can tell you that I have a neighbor that probably plays 10+ hours per week, getting up at 530am when the servers are not busy to play with friends. Now that is dedication...