In these challenging times, they have become an escapist's dream. Online subscription computer games allow players to control a character - or 'avatar' in the parlance - explore the landscape, fight monsters and complete quests. Players can study for professions such as tailoring, mining, cooking and first-aid, while characters can form or join guilds and clubs.
Activision Blizzard's cheap wow gold has taken the gaming world by storm, making its creator the most successful gaming studio, with 11m paying subscribers worldwide and revenues topping $1.34bn (£875m). It is by far the most popular 'massively multiplayer online role-playing game', wow gold as internet pay-for games are known by the gaming community.
"That is a big number for an Icelandic company. It is, after all, the size of our population," says the game's creator and CCP Games' chief executive Hilmar Veigar Pétursson. "We are selling escapism and escapism seems to be in demand at the moment. The online gaming industry is booming in the same way as Hollywood boomed in the Great Depression."
The 300,000 players come from 230 countries, with 40pc from the US, 40pc from Europe and just 1,000 from Iceland. The game is relatively unknown to those outside its 25-30-year-old male demographic, as it is promoted purely through word of mouth and select websites.
CCP's revenues soared 25pc to $46.5m in 2008 and it forecasts revenues of $55m in 2009, as users have leapt from 240,000 to 300,000 since the beginning of this year.
The group was named one of Europe's fastest growing digital companies, winning the 'Vision and Future Growth Potential' award at last week's prestigious Media Momentum awards, judged by a high profile panel including Lastminute.com founder Martha Lane-Fox.
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