WoW Expansion Burns One-Day Sales Records

January has been very, very good toBlizzard Entertainment. Earlier this month, the game maker announced its World of Warcraft subscription-based, massively multiplayer online role-playing games had surpassed 8 million players.

Tuesday, the company said that its “World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade” expansion pack smashed one-day video game sales records with nearly 2.4 million copies sold worldwide.

“‘The Burning Crusade’ has already exceeded even our most ambitious expectations,” said Mike Morhame, president and co-founder of Blizzard. “We’re pleased that so many players are eager to see all of the new content that the expansion has to offer, and we look forward to seeing everyone online as additional players continue to upgrade in the days ahead.”

A Good Day

BC went on sale in North America, Europe, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia on January 16 with Australia and New Zealand following on January 17. During that first 24-hour period, WoW gamers purchased an average of 100,000 copies per hour, according to Blizzard. Purchases in North America accounted for roughly half of overall sales, with 1.2 million units sold. An estimated total of another 1.1 million copies were sold in Europe.

For the highly anticipated launch, Blizzard shipped more than 4 million games to retailers around the globe. Some 5,000 stores opened at midnight in order to fulfill demand for the game as soon as possible. More than 1.7 million WoW players have now upgraded to the expansion pack, logged in and are playing BC.

World of Warcrack

WoW was the No. 1-selling PC game in 2006. The game also surpassed 8 million online members earlier this month, so the one-day sales blitz comes as no surprise to analyst and gamers alike.

“It’s not called ‘Warcrack’ for nothing,” said Libe Goad, managing editor at AOL’s GameDaily Web site. “So it’s only natural that these people want to expand on the experience that they’re devoting hours to on a regular basis.”

The massive popularity of WoW spans across sex and age boundaries because the game is “so massive,” according to Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group. The game, he continued, has pulled in a lot of people, and those players then pull in even more people who love to run around the game’s virtual landscape as mages, orcs and the undead.

“They get to kill people for fun and recreation,” he continued. “Entire families are [online]. It’s pulled a large audience and puts the definition in truly massive online game. It is now the gold standard in MMORPG and has captured more players than any other game of its type.”

It’s all about the gameplay, said AOL’s Goad. Plenty of games out there, he explained, feature sharper and more photorealistic graphics than WoW. “So the gameplay’s the big draw,” he added.

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