Azeroth: 10% Women

In a recent interview, Itzik Ben Bassat, Vice President for Business Development and International at Blizzard makes a comment about how many people are playing WOW:

The population of Azeroth is bigger than the population of Israel.

Later on in the interview, he talks about the number of women playing WOW:

Over 10% of World of Warcraft players are female, which is something we are happy with and would like to grow.

I know WOW isn’t a country, but the man from Blizzard just compared Azeroth’s population to that of Israel. Given his comparison, and his statement about the population of women in Azeroth, I hardly think that one should be happy about the fact that with a population of over 6 million, only 10% are women.

Then again, though he’s happy with the number of women players, he wants to increase that number, too. I should think so. A population composed of just 10% women is bound to have all sorts of terrible social problems.


  6 comments for “Azeroth: 10% Women

  1. 5 June 2006 at 03:56

    Hi, I followed a link here; I play World of Warcraft. I also know a lot of women who also play — but my reason for commenting isn’t an anecdotal debate. It occurred to me that I don’t recall ever telling Blizzard my gender in my account information. They are, of course, provided my full name; in this case, pretty unambiguously female. But given how many names could be either gender, it’s not really a reliable metric.

    So unless I’m misremembering what information I provided when I signed up, I’m a little confused where they’re getting this kind of player census data. I didn’t notice anything in the article about it.

  2. 5 June 2006 at 06:30

    I don’t recall ever filling in such information when I signed up for a WOW account either, come to think of it. It’s possible that he’s relying on information gleaned from academic surveys. There are several scholars that have done studies in WOW, and I believe that Blizzard has worked with a few of them. Perhaps he is using information extrapolated from that data.

  3. 6 June 2006 at 02:09

    I just wonder how many of those women are actually men?

  4. kim
    6 June 2006 at 02:51

    It might be derived from Credit Card information, which will have a Mr/Mrs/Ms associated with it, I assume?

    >A population composed of just 10% women is bound to have all sorts of terrible social problems.

    Amen. Logging on gets like plunging into a 13 yearold’s birthdayparty with an excess of cocacola, sometimes. However, I think the game mechanics addittionally reinforce the kind of goal driven selfishness that can be a particularly nasty aspect of heavily male groups.

    It’s interesting as a female player in a guild active on voicechat that I end up filling an incredibly stereotypical female role; soothing arguments, arbitrating, jollying people along, making sure we don’t forget the lowbies, giving people a guiding pat when they misbehave before their GM/dad gets home, reminding everyone to wear their warm vests… It’s a role I wouldn’t take on in real life to that extent, so it becomes an aditional level to the RPG aspects of the game. I’m affectionately known as the guildmom.

  5. 6 June 2006 at 07:58

    I wonder how many cyber-lethario WoWers will be washing their virtual mouths out with soap? Still at least 10% is quite an ambiguous number that may well have been plucked from mid-air.

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