WoW authenticators make a bundle for Blizzard

While it came under fire for daring to sell virtual pets for real-world cash, it seems that Blizzard has captured a lucrative chunk of the real-world item market as well.

The company’s World of Warcraft authenticator was designed as an added level of security for gamers, and Blizzard now reports that roughly 40% of the WoW population uses the six-digit code generator every time they log in.

World of Warcraft Authenticator

The Authenticator

It might seem a small figure, but 40% of 11 million is pretty hefty – and when you consider that even though authenticator software is now available for most smartphones, many gamers are still using the nifty stand-alone gadget, that’s a lot of keyrings. Then, when you realise that Blizzard doesn’t just give these tokens away, you can see where the money starts rolling in.

It now appears that the company has earned more than US$25million from selling the authenticators at $6.50 a pop.

These devices – small enough to slip on your keyring – are an optional extra for the game. Security is a major concern for Blizzard, with World of Warcraft an easy target for hackers in the past. New phishing attempts, fraudulent emails and trojan applications pop up every week, attempting to steal log-in details, something the authenticator has been designed specifically to combat.

In addition to the bonus security, World of Warcraft gamers using the authenticator are also given a nifty Core Hound Pup vanity pet to use in-game.

Obviously, it’s impossible to tell how many hacking attempts have been thwarted by the authenticator – and how many hours of customer service the $6.50 device has saved Blizzard staff. We’re guessing the company still comes out on top, with a happy playerbase to boot.

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