Why Is World of Warcraft So Expensive? (7 Reasons Why)

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Freya Crawford

Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

World of Warcraft (WoW) is one of the world’s leading massively multiplayer online games, with over four million daily players and over 12 million active subscribers.

However, many WoW gamers complain about the hefty subscription fees that the online game charges to play. So, why is World of Warcraft so expensive? I embarked on a fact-finding mission about this, and this is what I discovered!

Why Is WOW So Expensive?

1. Company’s Overhead Costs

World of Warcraft was created by Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., a video gaming company based in Irvine, California.

Like any other company, Blizzard incurs overhead costs such as renting the buildings in which the video game is developed, insurance, and power bills.

Besides the tangible costs, the video gaming company also incurs intangible costs such as patents, intellectual property protection, financial advisors, and lawyers.

Since all these overhead costs must be accounted for in one way or another, the company factors these bills into the video game’s eventual price.

2. Game Development Costs

Like other video game development, the budget for conceptualizing and developing a WoW video game and its expansion is quite expensive.

World of Warcraft’s development budget includes all the labor, physical, and additional resources that the game requires to be fully operational.

Thus, Blizzard Entertainment spends a significant amount of money to bring the development or improvement ideas of the game to fruition.

Since the video gaming company is in business, it charges hefty subscriptions for the game to recover its money and make profits.

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3. Research And Development

Typically, research and development in the gaming industry mean the process of conceptualizing, internalizing, approving, and actualizing a video game idea.

Blizzard Video Game Company has highly skilled personnel who occasionally research ways to improve WoW and offer a fantastic gaming experience to its customers.

However, the cost of research and development has skyrocketed in recent years due to the vast capabilities of new gaming consoles.

For instance, modern consoles can allow the rendering of top-of-the-line graphics and handle 128 bits making coding and developing video games more intensive.

Therefore, Blizzard charges expensive subscription rates to cater to the high research and development costs it incurs when researching and developing the game.

4. Labor Costs

Labor Costs

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. has a pool of technically skilled and competent employees involved in World of Warcraft’s development.

These employees include game designers, game artists, sound engineers, game programmers, game testers, and game producers.

This technically skilled team is responsible for crafting the World of Warcraft’s expansion prototypes, creating playable versions, removing anything unnecessary, and finishing the changes.

With the average pay for a mid-level coder being about $120,000 annually, Blizzard Entertainment incurs high labor costs since it has many employees.

So, when you pay hefty WoW subscription and gaming fees, you’re paying the salaries of these skilled employees who developed your favorite video game.

5. Marketing And Distribution

Blizzard Entertainment must market the game to create awareness and develop interest among gamers when it introduces new WoW gameplays and expansions.

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Once the marketing is done, the video game company distributes the game to different worldwide retailers, who, in turn, sell it to interested gaming enthusiasts.

Blizzard Entertainment Inc. spends an enormous amount of its time and resources researching how best to market and distribute WoW to get a return on investment.

Thus, the budget required to market and distribute the gamers’ favorite game properly is enormous since it includes advertising, shipping, storage, and distribution costs.

That’s why Blizzard Entertainment Inc. offers its video game at a high price to recover the bloated marketing and distribution budget it incurs and to make a profit.

6. Maintenance And Improvement Costs

Most reputable gaming companies offer 24/7 user support to video game players facing difficulties with the game’s functionality.

In addition, these video gaming companies continually improve their online games to create a better gaming experience.

Blizzard Entertainment is no exception. The company offers technical support to gamers and occasionally introduces new improvements to World of Warcraft.

For instance, since its inception in the online gaming world, WoW has seen the introduction of seven expansions, the latest being the Battle for Azeroth.

Other expansions in World of Warcraft’s subscriptions include Burning Crusade, Cataclysm, Warlords of Draener, Legion, Wrath of Lich King, and Mists of Pandaria.

This continuous gamer support and improvements cost money, forcing the video game company to charge subscription and gaming fees to cater to these additional costs.

7. Gaining Access To The Game’s Elements

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. charges subscription fees to give World of Warcraft gamers unlimited access to all the significant gameplays and expansions.

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So, if you want to enjoy the gaming experience WoW offers fully and unlock locked levels, you’ll be required to dig deeper into your pockets.

For instance, this gamer’s favorite massively multiplayer online game charges a subscription fee to get past level 20.

Paying the subscription allows you to access all the elements and locations of the game that were previously locked.

If that’s not enough, Blizzard has introduced new expansions in its World of Warcraft video game, such as Shadowlands, which have new endgame content and gameplays.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Sims is so expensive, why Mario Kart Wii is so expensive, and why Earthbound is so expensive.


Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. considers a wide array of factors when determining the pricing of WoW.

Nonetheless, it’s important to note that the video game offers a return on investment, especially if you enjoy playing massively multiplayer online games.

One good thing about the World of Warcraft video game is that it allows you to buy WoW tokens using in-game gold, which you can use to pay for your subscriptions.


  • Freya Crawford

    Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

1 thought on “Why Is World of Warcraft So Expensive? (7 Reasons Why)”

  1. Everything you have listed here is the same for all businesses, yet they don’t charge monthly subscriptions. Also, the game is very repetitive


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