Between 25 and 30 per cent of players of free-to-play military MMOG World Of Tanks spend money on in-game items, according to developer Wargaming.net.
Speaking to us at GDC earlier this month, CEO Victor Kislyi said that the game's rapid success – it has amassed 20 million registered users since its launch in 2010 – meant that the studio had "created a new sector."
The accepted average percentage of players who spend money on virtual goods in free-to-play games is between two and three per cent; World Of Tanks is seeing ten times that figure, which Kislyi thinks is "the highest in the industry" thanks to a combined levelling and monetisation system where the most powerful items only become available for purchase at higher levels.
"Like Zynga, in many respects, we've created a new sector," Kislyi told us – though its userbase is the polar opposite of the bored housewives with whom the Facebook king's games are typically associated. "Those fat, beer-bellied, bald older guys – they want to have fun without paying $50 for a box, which they'd never do and probably never did."
World Of Tanks is most successful in Russia, where a quarter of its registered users reside and it sees 13,000 new signups every single day. It has reached a peak concurrent player count of 422,000 – no mean feat given that the country spans ten time zones – which is 1.5 times the playerbase of Eve Online.
Wargaming.net has grown accordingly, launching in Europe, the US and Asia, and now has some 800 staff in its native Minsk, its development studios in Kiev and Saint Petersburg, and offices in Berlin, Paris and San Francisco. Look out for more from Kislyi in a future issue of Edge.