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Diablo III is the most pre-ordered game in Amazon history

Diablo III is officially the Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows of video games! That’s not to say that you’ll recover three mystical artifacts on a journey to kill Ralph Fiennes whilst dungeon crawling. (You might though. Blizzard are sneaky like that.) No, the two now share the distinction of being the most pre-ordered items in their respective mediums to ever hit Amazon.com. Potter snagged the title for books back in 2007 and now Diablo III has earned that distinction for PC games.

Funny enough, the games that Diablo III beat out for the title are actually close relatives of the game. Previous record holders are Blizzard’s 2010 titles StarCraft II and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. The lesson here is that people are nutty about Blizzard games.

The weird part of this announcement is that it further highlights how bizarre the PC retail business has become. There are hundreds of thousands of people who actually have Diablo III in their possession right now. The game was downloaded from the Internet to their computers and it’s sitting there, locked away. They can’t play it until May 15th, which also happens to be the day that Amazon can send out hundreds of thousands of boxes with the game inside it.

If publishers are going to let people download the software, why not let them play it? Why not bar them from downloading it until the box release day?

Mystifying.