When Activision Blizzard’s long-awaited Diablo III went on sale at midnight, it had already broken records. Blizzard reports that the fantasy demon-killing game is its best pre-seller ever, and Amazon says it’s the most pre-ordered PC game yet. It’s been a dozen years since Diablo II, but that hasn’t hurt the franchise — if anything it’s only built up excitement for the PC game that retails for $60.
Despite the fact that gamers can download the game from the Internet and don’t have to deal with the hassle of going to a store to buy a physical disc, fans still turned out in droves for the event of last night’s launch. More than 1,500 people gathered for a release party in Irvine, Calif., near Blizzard’s headquarters, to play the game and get their copies signed by the developers. And more than 8,000 retailers around the world held midnight launch events.
Activision said in its earnings call last week that pre-sales have been strong — analysts expect about 5 million copies to sell in the second quarter, which adds up to $300 million in retail sales. This could drive some upside for Activision’s second quarter numbers.