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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 10, 2009 at 10:40 AM

FigurePrints taking World of Warcraft business to Europe

Maybe in addition to printing newspapers, media barons should try printing 3-D figurines of newsmakers.

Business is thriving for Redmond startup FigurePrints, a company that began producing hand-sized 3-D figures of World of Warcraft characters in 2007.

Founder Ed Fries, former head of Microsoft Game Studios, didn’t share dollar volume but said FigurePrints exceeded last year’s target of 10,000 figurines. The company is based in Redmond but manufacturing is done with advanced 3-D printers in Canada.

Today the company is announcing that it’s expanding to Europe, beyond its original market of the U.S. and Canada. About a quarter of the 11 million Warcraft players are in North America; expanding to Europe adds another quarter or so, Fries said.

Asia’s next for the company, which would then be able to reach most players.

FigurePrints is also looking to extend its product line with higher- and lower-end products.

In Europe, it is selling the figurines for 129.95 Euros, plus shipping and duties.

Fries is hoping that Warcraft players will keep buying the figures, despite the economic situation.

“I think that when times are tough people tend to stay close to the home and so that’s generally good for video games,” he said. “Our product is certainly something optional on top of that, so how much it will be impacted, we’ll see.”

Business is thriving for Redmond startup FigurePrints, a company that began producing hand-sized 3D figures of World of Warcraft characters in 2007.

Founder Ed Fries, former head of Microsoft’s game studios, didn’t share dollar volume but said the company exceeded last year’s target of 10,000 figurines. The company’s based in Redmond but manufacturing is done with advanced 3D printers in Canada.

Today the company’s announcing that it’s expanding to Europe, beyond its original market of the U.S. and Canada. About a quarter of the 11 million Warcraft players are in North America; expanding to Europe adds another quarter or so, Fries said.

Asia’s next for the company, which would then be able to reach most players.

FigurePrints may also extend its product line with higher- and lower-end products.

In Europe, it’s selling the figurines for 129.95 Euros, plus shipping and duties.

Fries is hoping that Warcraft players will keep buying the figures, despite the economic situation.

“I think that when times are tough people tend to stay close to the home and so that’s generally good for video games,” he said. “Our product is certainly something optional on top of that, so how much it will be impacted, we’ll see.”

Comments | Topics: Ed Fries, Entrepreneurs, FigurePrints

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