1. World of Warcraft, released 2004 - 8.5 million subscribers.
While Habbo is giving Blizzard a run, the numbers generally support WoW
as the biggest MMO in the world. Important qualification, though: only 4 million are based in the West and monthly subscribers, while its 4 million Chinese players only pay roughly 4 cents an hour to play it in Internet cafes.
2. Habbo Hotel, released 2000 - 7.5 million active users.
The Finland-based “social game” MMO popular with teens and growing fast. Look out, Horde!
3. RuneScape, released 2001 - 5 million active users.
A Java-based MMORPG operated by Jagex Ltd. with over nine million active free accounts. Boasts one million paying customers. Fancy that.
4. Club Penguin, released 2006 - 4 million active users.
MMO for the kiddies developed by New Horizon Interactive. The game
shares similarities with other social environments like Habbo Hotel.
5. Webkinz, released 2005 - 3.8 million active users.
Here’s a novel idea: create beanie baby like stuffed animals, assign
them a unique ID, then create an MMO portal in which kids can spend
even more time using your product. When kids graduate from Club
Penguin, they go to Webkinz (or so I’m told.)
6. Gaia Online, released 2003 - 2 million active users.
Not quite an MMO, not quite a social site, but founder Derek Liu has
openly stated the networks desire to focus on social gaming. Forums
make up 30% of the current site activity.
7. Guild Wars, released 2005 - 2 million active users.
Another MMORPG made by the popular NCsoft out of South Korea. No Mac love here, but a lot of active users.
8. Puzzle Pirates, released 2003 - 1.5 million active users.
Published by Ubisoft and developed by indy king Three Rings, Puzzle Pirates merges casual games with a rising interest in pirate culture. Puffy shirt aside, it’s working like a charm.
9. Lineage I/II, released 1998 - 1 million subscribers.
Published by South Koreas NCsoft, Lineage was once the most popular MMO
of its day. At one point total active users peaked at 3 million. A
Western release in 2002 mostly fizzled.
10. Second Life, released 2003 - 500,000 active users.
No introduction needed here. Created by Linden Labs, this virtual world features a rabid fan base, inflated numbers, a high influx of corporate doppelgangers, and lots of digital genitals. First life optional.
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