Blizzard claims World of Warcraft Shadowlands is the fastest-selling PC game of all time

    
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Blizzard is breathlessly proclaiming this morning that World of Warcraft Shadowlands is the fastest-selling PC game of all time, by virtue of its having sold 3.7M units globally between when preorders went live November 1st, 2019, and its launch just before Thanksgiving 2020. Whether you think a year of preorders counts as fast, of course, is up to you. Either way, you probably knew an announcement like that that was coming since the company was already talking up its preorder count, but now it’s official, or as official as Blizzard can make it alone.

The company’s press release includes another bowl of word soup that builds on some of the more vague “engagement” claims made during quarterly releases.

“In the months leading up to the expansion’s release and the time since launch, the game reached and has sustained its highest number of players on monthly or longer-term subscriptions compared to the same period ahead of and following any WoW expansion in the past decade, in both the West and the East. Players have spent more time in Azeroth year to date than in the same period of any of the last 10 years. In addition, total player time in game this year to date has nearly doubled compared to the same period last year.”

We’re assuming the pandemic is probably largely responsible for the massive playtime bump this year, but the key words in the rest are “in the last decade” and “last 10 years.” WoW’s peak, of course, came prior to the last decade; the game self-reported over 12M subs back in 2010. The highest sub peak ahead of an expansion the last decade that we know of – before Blizzard started obfuscating its sub numbers as studio-wide MAUs, which have been falling heavily in the last few years – was something in the 9M-10M range ahead of Pandaria (depending on when you start counting). Is Blizzard claiming it had that many subs just prior to Shadowlands? And if so, why not just… say that instead of offering up said bowl of word soup? Who knows. Blizzard gonna Blizzard. Either way, the game is at worst still doing just fine, even setting aside the metrics mischief.

Source: Press release. Thanks to Wilhelm for the correct on the date preorders originally went live! It was November 1st, 2019.
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mylin1
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mylin1

Well Cyberpunk broke their record so it didnt last very long. Not really surprising as anything from CDProjectred is going to have massive appeal and mmorpg, even the big one are hardly going to be in the same league.

Alyn
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Alyn

3.7 million units sold. Well, of course they did. Yes, some of us did purchase preorder. Ofcourse. It is afterall, World of Warcraft, is it not?

Now, the question really is, are their truly 3.7 human units playing said game as I write about those 3.7 million units that were sold?

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Bruno Brito

For the company with the biggest MMO on earth, they really talk and behave like petty car salesmen.

kajidourden
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kajidourden

Not surprised, this expansion is great.

I have to just lol at all the insane mental gymnastics on this site of people trying to convince themselves that WoW is somehow performing poorly. Reminds me of all the Qanon election conspiracy nutjobs.

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Hareikan

I think people would be less negative about WoW’s success if it y’know, didn’t also come with the newsline that Blizzard employees can’t afford to eat meals, while the Acti CEO got 40 mil. The success makes me glad for the devs that built the game, but tbh fuck upper management. Not gonna be popping open a bottle of champagne for a company that can’t invest in their employees.

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laelgon

WoW never clicked for me, but I know a bunch of people from my office are getting back into it after not playing for years. Basically they’re launching in perfect conditions for an MMO. It’s winter and covid is getting worse so we’re spending even more time than usual indoors, why not go back to that addicting game you loved that’ll consume months of your life? You’re not going anywhere anyway and you can use the distraction.

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Feyd Darkholme

MOP is the Negan of WoW… Halfway through MOP is when I quit for like 3 years after having played consistently since Vanilla, and so it was for a lot of people. They will never see those numbers again, and are just obfuscating for the investors.

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jealouspirate

Has any other PC exclusive sold so many copies this soon after release? Quibbling about pre-order numbers seems like a red herring, since that is the industry standard of how sales numbers are reported. Everyone else is including pre-orders in their numbers.

And yes, WoW’s numbers peaked over 10 years ago… so what? The fact that WoW is putting up the same numbers it did a decade ago is an amazing achievement. How many other games can do that? LOTRO, a newer game, has only 100k players and that was considered rather good around here.

It just baffles me how negative a lot of the most upvoted comments here are. Isn’t this an MMO fansite? Shouldn’t we be pleased when an MMO has an extremely successful launch? We don’t have many of those left in the genre.

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Motherball

It just baffles me how negative a lot of the most upvoted comments here are. Isn’t this an MMO fansite? Shouldn’t we be pleased when an MMO has an extremely successful launch?

It might be different if the company was more open with actual numbers instead of using misleading metrics to make itself look better to investors. As a genre, it looks bad when the old cookie cutter of all cookie cutter MMORPG’s is the most popular and the most recent expansion, which by many accounts is very linear, is doing so well, imo. Why is there no innovation? Is this what we as a community really want? More WoW on rails?

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Ironwu

It’s only ‘successful’ in their own minds, and what they want folks to believe. The lack of any significant number of players in any specific zone is pretty indicative, I think.

Compared to previous expansions? This one is at density levels similar to what they would be 1.5years in.

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SmiteDoctor

Math isn’t hard, you take the number of units sold and release the numbers, which is what they did; I my self am not playing the hell out of Shadowlands but I still bought the expansion.

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Bruno Brito

It’s financially successful, and no ammount of you dismissing will change that.

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jealouspirate

It might be different if the company was more open with actual numbers instead of using misleading metrics to make itself look better to investors.

Sure, that would be great, but this has been industry standard practice for a long time. It’s not like Blizzard is doing anything out of the norm here. Games like FF14 talking about so many million “registered users” and so on.

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Bruno Brito

Shouldn’t we be pleased when an MMO has an extremely successful launch? We don’t have many of those left in the genre.

I don’t know about you but for me, getting complacent with the huge ammount of garbage we deal with in the MMO scene is exactly why this scene is the pit of mediocrity it is.

So, to answer your question? No.

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Vinnie travi

That seems like a low number, but either way, I am loving Shadowlands. It is the most fun I have in a wow expansion. For me Torghast is the best wow content I have played . I know a lot of people don’t like it because it can be really difficult and not really solo friendly. Those are the exact reasons why I love it. Looking forward to the raid this week

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Jeremy Barnes

I just pull everything to the floor boss then kill it all at once. Whole thing takes like 15 minutes… and you can do it once as you get no further rewards afterwards (and you get all the floor rewards below the one you did so why would you ever do anything below that?)

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Vinnie travi

Dude I am in full Mythic gear and there is no way I could pull a whole floor and kill everything. If I pull one extra pack it is a wipe. I hear it is much easier for some classes but I have tried t3 about 15 times and finished twice. It felt like an accomplishment when I finished too.

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Dobablo

Kind of depressing that the record for PC games is so low. I guess the future really is F2P and mobile.