It’s official – Blizzard just released the sales figures for Diablo III, the latest title in its beloved hack-and-slash series. Selling millions of copies on day one, and millions more soon after, the sheer success of this title is a blow to the many analysts who proclaim, all too often, that PC gaming is dead.
According to Blizzard, over 3.5 million copies of the game sold within the first 24 hours of Diablo III’s availability. The company did not say, but it is presumed that this includes the heavy number of pre-orders.
This success has helped the company to break the world record for fastest-selling PC game title – a record that they themselves set previously with World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, an expansion pack to the planet’s favorite MMORPG. In the days that followed, Diablo III has sold another 2.8 million copies, totalling over 6.3 million copies sold.
Blizzard was quick to point out that those numbers do not include over 1.2 million copies which players received as part of a World of Warcraft annual pass promotion. That means that on day one, close to 5 million players all over the world were able to log into Sanctuary and fight the hordes of Hell.
That huge load was no doubt partially responsible for the game’s flawed day one launch. Blizzard feels “regret” over their lack of sufficient preparation, said CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime. The problems largely stem from the fact that the game demands an always-on Internet connection in order to play. A fact that drew staggering criticism when it was first revealed, the always-on requirement means that players’ save games and characters are stored on Battle.net servers.
It was a move designed to combat both piracy as well as ensure a means to prevent fraud from poisoning the new game’s real-time item auction system. Much like WoW, which has seen illicit servers pop up to run private instances of the game’s content for free, it will probably be a matter of time before the same is seen for Diablo III. The trouble required will likely cut down on all but the most hardcore of pirates, however, as well as make item dupes and other hacks all but invisible from D3’s multiplayer and auction house settings.
In addition to the individual copy sales, Blizzard has seen Diablo III rise through the charts in such esoteric environments as Korean’s popular Internet game rooms, where Diablo III is now the top-played game with a 39% share.
While a number of gamers took advantage of convenient digital download options for Diablo III, the game saw record-breaking sales in physical formats, too. GameStop’s Bob McKenzie, SVP of merchandizing, called it one of their “biggest PC launches ever”, and sees a “record-breaking year” for Blizzard in their stores. Amazon.com saw similar traffic, with Diablo becoming the site’s most preordered PC game of all time, as well as taking the record for best day-one sales of any PC game in the company’s history.
It has been a common response for analysts to say, when asked about the state of PC gaming, that the industry just didn’t have much left to give. Blizzard has proven just how wrong that maxim is; despite the ubiquity of modern game consoles, a PC-only title like Diablo 3 proves that people are still willing to hack and slash with keyboard and mouse, not just A,B,X, and Y.
One possible reason for the resurgence in PC gaming over the last months is the fact that the current generation of video game consoles is rapidly approaching senescence. Nintendo has already announced that their successor, the Wii U, will be out later this year, while Microsoft’s Xbox 360 followup is rumored to hit shelves in fall of 2013.