Diablo III came out 12 years after Diablo II. A lot can happen in 12 years. The summer Olympics came and went three times. There were a couple of presidents, two full-scale wars, and an economic collapse. MySpace became an empire, crumbled into dust, and the twin superpowers of Facebook and Twitter were built on its bones. Video games skyrocketed in price to $60, before plummeting to, in many cases, free. You’d think that people’s love of clicking on skeletons to gather fat loots while exploring the underworld would lose its appeal somewhere in the hubbub, but no: Diablo III is now the fastest-selling PC game of all time.
Activision Blizzard sold 3.5 million copies of Diablo III in the first day the game was released, but far more people were playing the game than that according to a Wednesday press release from the publisher. An additional 1.2 million players got Diablo III as a perk alongside the Annual Pass for Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. Blizzard sold 6.3 million copies of the game across its first week.
People like Diablo III. People also like their Blizzard. This is hardly the first time that the company’s games have broken sales records on release, but Diablo’s success trumps recent milestones. Blizzard’s most recent release prior to Diablo III was the MMO expansion World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, which itself sold 3.3 million copies in its first day on shelves in December 2010. That was the previous titleholder for fastest-selling PC game. Seems like Blizzard should be getting some kind of championship belt for each of these wins. Maybe a medal.
Just months before Cataclysm came out, Blizzard also made headlines with the release of StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, which moved 1.5 million copies in its first 48 hours. The release of StarCraft is an interesting test case when measured against Diablo III. There was a 12-year gap between the release of StarCraft and its sequel as well, and the original version of that game is a national pastime in Korea, whereas Diablo is just a popular good time. Why Diablo III has connected with players so much more so than StarCraft II is definitely a question Activision Blizzard will actively try to answer.
Popular as Diablo III is, it still isn’t in league with Activision Blizzard’s heaviest hitter. Where Diablo sold 6.3 million copies in one week, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 sold 6.5 million copies in just one day. Guns trump fat loots.