Aion started open beta on 4/8/2009. It only has one week of open beta. Snda starts commercialization a week later. The servers start commercialization in stages, from 4/16 to 4/18. By today, all servers are in retail operation.
Aion is doing great right now. According to the following announcement:
SNDA already achieved 1 million paying accounts.
Snda had a very successful marketing campaign. The game was highly hyped. So far it is of great success. One way to measure the popularity of the game is to see the number of servers. (Each server may have up to 5000 players for most games). I will plot the number of servers in operation vs the date (starting 4/7/2009)
For the above plot, the y axis is the number of servers Snda opened to satisfy the users. The x axis is the date in April 2009. The open beta was on 4/8/2009, therefore, the number of servers jumped from 19 to 80 on that date. Commercialization starts on 4/18/2009, therefore, the increase of the number of servers slowed. Right now, there are 96 servers serving the game.
If I have to estimate, I would assume 5000 maximum users per server. During open beta, the PCU can be estimated as 94 servers * 4500 users/server = 423k.
Right now, most servers are not at full capacity. If I assume 60% capacity at peak time, then the PCU = 96 servers * 5000 * 0.6 = 288k.
This is an amazing number.
I don't know if this game will trend up or trend down from now on. But Snda will make a lot of money for the next 3 months for this game.
It is hard to tell if this game has legs long term however.