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Posts with tag retail

Activision-Blizzard makes lots of money, no update on Blizzard earnings

Activision-Blizzard has released their third-quarter numbers for the financial year of 2009, and as you might expect for the company in charge of Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, and World of Warcraft, business is brisk. They were expecting to bring in around $700 million, and ended up pulling in around $50 million more than that. It's good, we guess, to be the king.

Blizzard, in particular, laid claim to three of the top five selling PC games in North America on the good side, and on the bad side, Activision acknowledges in the press release that they're happy to have WoW back online in China, but a little worried about the troubles it's seen over there lately.

Strangely enough, there is no information in the earnings about how much money World of Warcraft has pulled in for the company, or any updates about subscriber numbers. Usually, that gets at least a mention, so maybe, with subscribers certainly down in China, Activision-Blizzard wants to keep that under their hat for now.

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Filed under: Items, Blizzard, News items, Making money

The Guild releases episode 5 of season 3, retail DVD in stores now


Episode 5 of The Guild's third season is out now, and it's a good one -- with Tink out of the picture, the guildies are seeking a new member, and the applications they've got are.. a little unnerving (I do believe they are the folks who submitted video for that contest a while back, and there's even a pigtailed Kim aka @randysmolly from AIE and the new Ladies of Leet podcast in there with a cameo). In the end, it comes down to two familiar faces, and Codex puts herself in another situation with her newfound guild leadership skills. The new ep is available right now on MSN, and should be on Xbox Live as well. We've also put an embedded version right after the break if you'd rather see it there.

In other Guild news, they've also announced a brand new retail DVD that's apparently in stores today -- it's the same DVDs from the first two seasons that you could buy from them before, though it's dressed up in a brand new box, with space for both discs. They're also having a contest -- if you post a picture of yourself actually buying the DVD today (9/29) to their Facebook page or to Twitter with a #myguilddvd hashtag, they'll send you another copy, this time autographed. And even if you don't have the time or money to pick it up today, you can also add it in to your Netflix queue, which will spread the word over there. Good stuff. Stay tuned every Tuesday for another new Guild episode -- this latest season is getting hot and heavy (and painful for Zaboo, apparently) very quickly here!

Like The Guild? We do, too! We chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. We also saw their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned here every Tuesday for a brand new episode of season 3!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Humor, Fan art

NPD: World of Warcraft has sold 8.6 million boxes at retail

Gamasutra has received an interesting stat from the good folks at NPD: after hearing that The Sims 3 sold over 800,000 copies in its first month, they were curious to see what kind of unit sales our own World of Warcraft has experienced. And the numbers are pretty big: among the original game and all of the expansion packs since the vanilla release over four years ago, NPD says 8.6 million boxes of WoW have been sold in the US. That's a little misleading if you're comparing it to actual subscription numbers: remember that this is over three different releases (so the actual number of all-time players, not current players, is probably 1/3 of that), and it includes different collectors' editions of each of the three game editions. So there are nowhere near 8.6 million US players of WoW -- that's just how many times players have come through the retail line with the various releases.

What that is, however, is a lot of money. Gamasutra estimates that at an average of $30 for each unit sold (the vanilla game currently retails at $20, but the expansions all sell at $40, and of course the original game was more expensive once upon a time), that's $258 million in income for Blizzard. In short, Blizzard's making a mint at the retail counter, even before they sign anyone up for subscriptions.

Then again, if you look at their own costs, those aren't insubstantial, either -- Activision's Bobby Kotick claimed that anyone starting up an MMO to compete with WoW would have to throw at least half a billion dollars into the mix just to get started, so we can presume Blizzard has spent at least $500 million on their staff, development, and hardware. So it's not like they're taking it all to the bank, though we can at least presume they're sitting firmly in the black.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW still on store shelves in Australia

Our good friend Tateru Nino (who is in fact an Aussie herself) has a followup over at Massively about the report that World of Warcraft was no longer legally available in Oz earlier this week. The issue isn't in the rules -- those are the same: unclassified games like World of Warcraft are held to the same rules as banned games -- but in the lack of enforcement. Since the issue has gone public, stores are continuing to sell the game (though some have removed larger sale displays of the games), and law enforcement has made no moves to try and get the games off of store shelves.

The real problem here, of course, isn't that Australia wants to ban these games, but that they're falling through the cracks of what seems to be an extremely lax rating system. There's really no rating assigned to these games, so according to the rules, they can't be sold. But the rules make no sense in this case: no one, as far as we've heard, actually wants to ban these games in the country, and no one cares whether they're being sold on store shelves or not.

Still, Massively does expect action, eventually, even if it's an apparently much-needed rejiggering of the ratings system to include these "unrated" games. Bottom line right now is that if you want to buy or sell World of Warcraft in Australia, no one's stopping you from doing so.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Expansions, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard releases EU Wrath launch video


Blizzard has released some launch night video from the Wrath of the Lich King release over on their EU site, and it looks like things were pretty crazy across the pond. There were costumes aplenty, and there were crowds in London, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. Plus, the video even has a nice appearance by the man/demon himself, as you can see above.

Unfortunately, the US site hasn't posted any such video yet, so while you can definitely read here on this site about all of the crowds and chaos that went down on this side of the world, there's no video to compare. My guess is that while the EU folks were definitely excited, over there it was more contained to the big events and the big cities, while over here in the US even small towns had lines outside the gaming stores.

But it was definitely a night to remember for WoW fans, no matter where you were.

[via WorldofWar]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath tops the PC sales charts for November

Surprised? You probably shouldn't be -- NPD has released the top sales list for November, and our favorite game is sitting right on top. In fact, the most interesting thing about the list is what's not on it: games. Wrath is at number one, followed up by such great titles like Office 2007 and Trend Micro Anti-virus. The collector's edition of Wrath comes in at number four, and after that it's all utilities except Call of Duty: World at War at number six and Spore at number 10.

That's a sad month for PC gaming, especially during a time when sales are supposed to be at their highest. Blizzard's leading the charge (and they're not leaving PC anytime soon), but they seem to be pretty much the only PC studio able to bring it home this year.

Videogame sales in general are doing just great: even in a bad economy, console companies -- both developers and retailers -- are seeing nice growth. But those saying PC gaming is dead will only have to point to November's sales for proof. Maybe in 2009 we can get a couple more titles quality enough to give World of Warcraft a run for its money.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath shipped to stores, copies being sold early at 7-11


We're getting multiple reports that Blizzard has shipped Wrath of the Lich King out to stores -- one of our readers in Australia ordered the CE and actually got his edition shipped to him already (the game will install, but won't run yet), a few Gamestops around the country have confirmed that they have copies in store (though not for sale yet), and a few people have told us that they've already picked up their copies at 7-11 (notorious for suddenly selling games, and then very recently selling them early).

So odds are that you might be able to grab the game early from stores that are breaking the street date, but it does appear that Blizzard hasn't actually flipped the switch on the expansion, and likely won't do it until tomorrow evening. We'll keep an eye out for more places Wrath may have already popped up.

Update: Thanks to one of our readers for sending along the pic of his Wrath box and the receipt above. The game is indeed shipped and being sold, though Blizzard is saying Northrend won't be available until Wednesday evening. Another reader picture of a purchased game after the break.


Are you ready for the challenges that await you in Northrend? WoW Insider has you covered with our 8-day guide to Preparing for Wrath. Also, check out our feature on AddOns new, old and outdated and Essential AddOns for Wrath written especially with the expansion in mind.

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Filed under: Patches, News items, Expansions, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Deals are slim for Wrath of the Lich King at retailers

We've got our first Wrath of the Lich King deal to report, and unfortunately, it's less than impressive. Apparently, if you buy the expansion at Best Buy next week, you'll be able to pick up a strategy guide for the game at 25% off. It's not a great deal, especially since Amazon is offering the guide at 34% off, with or without the game (and since you're a WoW Insider reader, you likely won't need the guide anyway). But it is a deal, and it is for Wrath, so there you go. We'd love to have better deals for you (folks like me who buy Gears of War 2 at Circuit City this week are picking up free gift cards and such), but nothing yet.

There is good news, also, for people who are buying the expansion through Amazon -- apparently they're offering release-day delivery in some places, so even if you picked up the game at the online retailer, you could have it at exactly the same time (well, a few hours later, since there are midnight releases going around and shipped games usually don't show up until midmorning at least) as everybody else. That way, you won't miss a minute of the lag and frustration-inducing camping that will surely ensue just after launch.

If you hear about a deal or a special sale on Wrath next week, let us know. We've all spent way too much money on this game already -- every cent we can save is worth it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

BlizzCon 2008: A followup with FigurePrints


Last time we talked to Ed Fries, he was a man setting out with a brand-new company, new not only in terms of age, but new in that they were doing something no one had ever tried before: bringing 3D printing to retail. FigurePrints started printing 3D figurines of WoW characters last year, and since then, they've been through good and bad (the earliest figures were plagued by quality concerns, but the company is doing well enough that they've even raised the price since they started already). So we were very curious to each up with Ed at BlizzCon and see how things were going. Was demand still up? Has the process changed at all? How's the quality thing being dealt with? And we were perhaps most curious about just what people were putting on their figures when they got them printed.

Ed answered all of our questions and more: demand is still up, quality is getting better, and people are dressing in.. tuxedos and beer steins? Click the link below to check out our second interview with Ed Fries, founder of FigurePrints, and catch up on the company that promises to bring your virtual WoW characters to real life.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Interviews, BlizzCon

Best Buy Canada not looking forward to Wrath of the Lich King


Hawkawkari of Khaz Modan sent us this one -- apparently somebody on the Best Buy Canada site is a little miffed about some expansion news, and it's showing up in their description text for the game. There's some QQ in there about siege vehicles ("1% chance to drop, bind on pickup"), a "hairstyling" profession for Blood Elves and Night Elves, and a special "Unbalance Game" power for Death Knights "on a one-patch time limit cooldown." Pretty funny.

I thought this was just a case of Best Buy cutting and pasting from another more informal site, but Google doesn't find the same text anywhere else, so this might actually be a disgruntled WoW player in their system writing out a fairly biased description. The text still says a release date hasn't been announced (and of course it has) so look for the text to change soon (just in case it does, the full text is after the jump). But wherever you are, disgruntled WoW player, thanks for the laugh.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Humor, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath CE sold out at Gamestop, Amazon

Gamestop employees got a memo yesterday that preorders of the Wrath of the Lich King Collector's Edition may have reached their limit, and we've just called and confirmed that -- the Collector's Edition is sold out already at Gamestop. Looks like Amazon also has also taken down their preorders, instead offering a signup to be notified "when this item becomes available." The thing has only been on sale for two days, and already it seems many retails have run out of their listed units -- in fact, Gamestop told their employees that they may not even have been able to fulfill all the orders taken so far.

Of course, we're still talking preorders here -- just because they got reserved doesn't mean that they'll all be sold, so there's still a chance that you could get one at release (Gamestop, we believe, will hold reserves for 24-48 hours after release, and then sell them first-come, first-serve). And there's a chance that Blizzard could put a larger order in (since the game hasn't gone gold yet, the sets aren't even manufactured yet), which would mean more preorders would be available.

But on the other hand, Blizzard has always wanted the Collector's Editions to be limited, and the guys at Gamestop assured us that there were still plenty of regular copies to reserve. It's hard to believe the CE could be completely sold out in just two days, two months ahead of the actual release, but it's clear that Wrath is going to be one of Blizzard's biggest releases ever.

Update: And now, for some reason, it looks like preorders are back up. Either Blizzard decided to make more or Gamestop figured out how they could sell more, so if you want to get one, better order it quick.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Target suggests Paws and Claws if you can't play Warcraft


Can't get your World of Warcraft Battlechest fix because Recruit-a-friend has sold out all the copies at Target? Worry not, because Target has got just as great a substitute for you: Paws and Claws Pet Vet 2: Healing Hands. Because when you can't conquer the tower of Medivh or slay beasts in Nagrand, the next best thing is playing a mediocre attempt to grab the money of kids who want to grow up to be vets.

Yeah, it's pretty sad, but then again, Target employees aren't necessarily videogame players. And even more sadly, what exactly does it say about PC gaming when the next best seller to WoW is a vet simulator?

[via Kotaku]

Filed under: Odds and ends, News items, Humor, Making money

WoW Insider interviews Ed Fries, founder of FigurePrints


After a quick announcement last week, the FigurePrints site opened yesterday, offering Warcraft players an easy (if not necessarily cheap-- each figure runs about $115) way to recreate their ingame characters in real-life figurine form.

But we still had lots of questions. How did these figures get made? What kind of material were they made of, and where did FigurePrints get the models and information to turn ingame characters into real sculptures? For the answers, we went straight to the source. Ed Fries has been in and around gaming for a long time, and after playing WoW for years (and creating games for years before that), he had the idea to create a way to bring Warcraft characters to life with a 3D printer. WoW Insider got a chance to talk to Ed on the day that his company's site went live, and all the answers to your questions about FigurePrints are right after the jump.

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Filed under: Items, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, News items, Interviews

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