Blizzard Entertainment® today announced that World of Warcraft®: The Burning Crusade(TM) has broken the day-one sales record to become the fastest-selling PC game ever in North America and Europe, with a worldwide total of nearly 2.4 million copies sold in the first 24 hours of availability.
"In addition to setting a new day-one PC-game sales record at our GameStop and EB Games stores, the expansion garnered more online pre-orders than any other PC game in our company's history." - Robert McKenzie, senior vice president of merchandising at GameStop Corp
World of Warcraft is arguably passing out "game" status to cultural touch-point, especially among the technical elites under 30. But MMOs, and games in general, still have a long way to go to rival cultural media points such as Seinfeld or American Idol, who's audiences dwarf any base of players for a game. However, numbers like the Burning Crusade release are becoming more common and the barriers to being involved in these kinds of virtual worlds are lowering.
How long until a persistant, virtual nation or world is based on simple, approachable, pre-existing technologies? When will the barrier of buying a box disappear? Don't want to install something? Want to check on your online assests? When the answer is "Fine, fire up a browser" the landscape could change overnight.
Still, it's impressive to see the impact one game can have. 2.4 million copies at $39.99 USD is around $96 million USD (and no, I will not adjust for non-US sales; it's a faux stat). In 24-hours. That's better than most movies do in their lifecycle.
World of Warcraft(R): The Burning Crusade(TM) Shatters Day-1 Sales Record: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance