WoW’s China servers cost $73 million

WoW's China servers cost $73 million

According to this Gamasutra article WoW’s China servers cost $73 million.  I don’t really know what goes into providing servers for an expected user base of over a million, but I’m still amazed at that kind of infrastructure cost.  Mode 7’s servers cost us $150 a month…

3 Responses to “WoW’s China servers cost $73 million”

  1. Shivoa:

    When you’ve got over a billion dollars in annual subscription fees (globally, excludes any cut taken by local operators) you probably don’t worry too much about server costs and so standardise on rather high end gear (which your partners will also need to buy to keep their support contracts active for the server software).

    Two high end CPUs for at least a grand a piece; some RAM and a high end fibre connection (another £2k and that’s assuming WoW doesn’t go OTT on the RAM requirements [Dell’s top end 96GB Memory for 2CPU option is a £12k price bump]); some nice fast server RAID with plenty of redundancy and the price keeps on going up.

    And you better not be forced to use Windows Server 2008 Datacenter x64 Edition (£3k list price) or Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard (£8.5k for a dual socket license).

    Not sure how many game servers they run on each physical server (or maybe vice versa) but all instanced content (including PvP) pushes you to a different server and the original game was a dual server config (one continent on each) with each expansion taking up an extra server. So each game server has to run 4 instances of the code (with different locational assets) and then offloads users to either a PvP or instance server array when people are using that content (as it does occasionally happen that they run out of instance slots it seems like those servers are dedicated to just that process).

  2. Shivoa:

    Oh, I was apparently wrong on this. They don’t run server farms and limit the population of each realm to keep under 10k players about at any one time (split over instance, PvP (both shared between shards), and 4 location servers). Or if they do it isn’t the major financial requirements that should be looked at. Over 10% of the top 100 Chinese supercomputer list is taken up with The9 hardware (including half the top 10). Obviously they run other games and it might be WoW doesn’t run on any of them but I wouldn’t be totally surprised if WoW uses a few very very expensive machines to backbone things and act as a backbone database for the game content needed server side by all shards.

  3. Ian:

    Good info Geoffrey. The9 like supercomputers…