Free-to-play games may not replace full-priced games that you download or buy in a store, but there’s certainly a mammoth audience for web-based freebies. When we think of the world’s most popular games, we tend to picture Call of Duty, FIFA, or Super Mario Bros. but here at the end of 2012, it would be better to think about World of Tanks. Wargaming, publisher of the appropriately named MMO, now has a user base of 45 million players. To put that in perspective, that’s just less than 4 times the 2010 peak membership of World of Warcraft.
“The tremendous success of World of Tanks has showcased that the company has developed a strong and reliable technological platform with an incredible amount of remaining potential,” said Wargaming’s Andrei Yarantsau, “The result is that we’ll keep being able to provide top-notch online services and regular high quality content and updates.”
Put another way: A ridiculous number of people around the world are playing our game, it’s making us money, so we’re going to be able to keep making a lot of games similar to this.
45 million is an astronomical number of players for any game, and it places World of Tanks in the upper echelon of the most-widely played games on the planet. There were 600,000 players on a single Russian server playing simultaneously at one point this year. To put that in perspective, the entire top 100 games on Steam logged 650,000 users on May 10 this year. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, one of the most successful games ever released, logged 3.3 million players online but worldwide and over the course of an entire day.
World of Tanks’ major competitor is the free-to-play strategy game League of Legends. League has just 35 million daily active users compared to World of Tanks’ 45 million, but it does log about 12 million daily users.
Wargaming is going to try and keep its empire growing with two more MMOs next year. World of Warplanes and World of Warships are currently in beta testing but the company aims to have them open for business next year.