Perhaps it’s last year’s strong titles that brought more players into the hobby, or maybe players are simply starved for a great gaming experience, but the last couple of months have seen huge sales numbers and multiple broken records for the video game industry. Mass Effect 3 sold millions of copies worldwide and the Xbox Live Arcade has seen two different titles break sales records in the past month, including the console edition of Minecraft.
Today, Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of World of Warcraft and the Diablo franchise, announced that Diablo III has broken sales records and become the fastest-selling PC game of all-time. The game sold more than 3.5 million copies in its first 24 hours. Blizzard was clear that this number does not include players who recieved Diablo III for free after signing up for a year of World of Warcraft. A week after release, the game has 6.3 million players, not counting those players in Korean game rooms, where Diablo III has become the top-played game.
“We’re definitely thrilled that so many people around the world were excited to pick up their copy of Diablo III and jump in the moment it went live,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard. “We also regret that our preparations were not enough to ensure everyone had a seamless experience when they did so. I want to reaffirm our commitment to make sure the millions of Diablo III players out there have a great experience with the game moving forward, and I also want to thank them for their ongoing support.”
These numbers are impressive, and it’s equally impressive that the CEO of Blizzard would humbly acknowledge the trouble many players actually had playing the game. Blizzard should be used to selling millions of units of software, and should have been prepared for the demand for a game many players have been waiting over a decade to experience. The company responded to the “error 37” problems quickly, but not quick enough for many gamers who took off work and rescheduled their lives around the Diablo III launch. Of course, the problems encountered with Diablo III’s launch also clearly demonstrate the inherent problems with requiring an always-on internet connection for a game that can be played single-player.