Guild Wars 2 Sales: One Million Pre-Served, Record 400,000 Playing at Once

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ArenaNet

Guild Wars 2 is finally here! Or wait, wasn’t it already here three days ago? And…okay, hold on a second, didn’t it somehow launch just yesterday, too?

The answer is: a little from columns A, B and C. It’s all so confusing, but in a good way, because it means ArenaNet had a launch for you, and you, and you too. And it also means the developer is already able to share metrics like sales-so-far and “peak concurrent users,” a fancy online gaming term for the most people playing online simultaneously.

(MORE: Guild Wars 2: It’s the Pinball Machine of MMOs)

Technically, Guild Wars 2 launched last Friday at midnight for players who’d pre-purchased the game as part of a “3-day Headstart” phase. It also managed to do a few things MMOs never do, like arrive exactly on time without disastrous game-collapsing bugs.

Then it launched a second time on Monday as part of a “1-day Headstart” deal for players who pre-ordered the game, which…yeah, I don’t understand the difference there either. As a three-day early guy, I just heard about the one-day option for the first time yesterday while jogging to a Guild Wars 2 podcast.

In any case, publisher NCsoft is sharing preliminary numbers for all you MMO comparison wonks: Over one million players paid to play the game ($60 standard, $150 collector’s, and it’s free-to-play thereafter) during the three-day early start. And that’s not counting the one-day preorders or, obviously, whatever sales the game enjoys today as it officially launches.

So that’s sales, but how many people are actually playing this thing? During the headstart phase, NCsoft says demand for the game topped 400,000 simultaneous online players, calling it a “record-breaking” figure for an MMO pre-launch. Outside of pre-launch, a game like World of Warcraft has seen peak concurrent users of over 800,000 and my understanding is that top PCU figures for an MMO are around one million unless we start pulling in crazy-big China-based stuff like Zheng Tu Online or Fantasy Westward Journey.

Still — and don’t get too excited here, given what happened to Star Wars: The Old Republic — 400,000 out of the chute is pretty darned impressive.

I caught up with ArenaNet president and co-founder Mike O’Brien last night to talk about how the launch is going, what his company’s doing to fix launch issues (two-word preview: “not sleeping”) and what he’s personally prepared to do if too many people come onboard. We’ll have that interview for you tomorrow.

Show of hands: Who’s been playing during the pre-launch phase? Who waited to pick the game up until today?

MORE: Guild Wars 2 Producer: We’d Turn Off Sales to Preserve the Game Experience

24 comments
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mobile casino
mobile casino

specifically before launch as breaking street dates tends to cause

all kinds of issues. They use a supplemental UPC to track the amount of

money a person puts down on an item that will be exchanged for the real

product on release. Pre-orders are not a purchase but a designation of

an intent to purchase at the future date when the produce arrives. In

essence it's giving money ahead of time to reserve a copy. This is no

way obligates you to buy the game. If it launches and it had bad reviews

you can not buy it even though your reserved copy is still there.

Pre-purchase on the other hand can only be done through the maker of

the game, in this case Anet. This is physically buying the game in which

you "own it" but have to wait to get it. Think of it similar to buying

something online but you have to wait for..................................

Jennifer Leigh Haines
Jennifer Leigh Haines

Just to be technical the GAME actually launched 2-3 hours early and never crashed..... to the comment about arriving exactly on time

Andrew Conlon
Andrew Conlon

I bought it Monday. Haven't stopped playing since. Most solid MMO release I have ever seen in 15 years of gaming.

Jim Bergevin Jr
Jim Bergevin Jr

Edit for my keyboard and computer acting up - can be deleted.

OnlyOneWing
OnlyOneWing

Pre-launch.You forgot to mention the "Digital Deluxe" option for 79.99.

I stopped playing SWTOR for this. SWTOR was a single player game in an MMO shell. It was great fun until a few days into lvl50... Then you realize that there is absolutely nothing to do, besides the main story. PvP maps are a joke.

Guildwars 2 wasn't what I expected, but in certain ways it exceeded my expectations. The quality of voice acting isn't quite as good as Bioware's, but the some of the character's lines are absolutely hilarious. Guildwars 2 is a world full of character. The game is fun and breaks the tedium by giving you options when leveling, and in story mode. There are World vs World pvp areas and separately there are PvP tournaments.

Combat in Guildwars 2 does away with "rolls". In SWTOR I would spend hours waiting for a healer and a tank so I can get into an flashpoint(dungeon), but thanks to Guildwars 2 I will never have to do that again.

Guildwars 2 is a very cleverly thought out game. I am having a blast so far.

Jim Bergevin Jr
Jim Bergevin Jr

Not playing at all. GW1 will always be my first choice (along with SWTOR). Too many design decisions turned me off to the game, and the Betas only cemented the fact that it ultimately was not as fun to play for me as many others I have (and still do play) over the last 30 years of PC gaming. Truly 'tis a shame, but I take hope in the fact that if GW2 is as successful as the original, it will give a longer lease on life to my favorite Anet release - as long as GW2's server crashes don't affect my GW1 playtime any more ... do you hear me Anet!!?

Cannooos
Cannooos

You're kind of a troll aren't you?

Jim Bergevin Jr
Jim Bergevin Jr

Nope. Just giving my honest opinion. Amazing how people can have vastly different opinions on many, many things, isn't it?

Esteban Ramirez
Esteban Ramirez

It amazes me how some can get so violently angry or offended at a game. So many are wanting this game to fail. I have to ask: why? Why would you want something so different and refreshing to fail when the developers themselves are much more passionate and much more open than anyone else out there? I'm sure I'll get mostly answers from self-proclaimed trolls who are trying to be cute but I propose a challenge to those with intellect: Why do you want Guild Wars 2 to fail so much?

Jim Bergevin Jr
Jim Bergevin Jr

Who can really say why players would want that. I am indifferent to GW2's failure or success outside of how it affects the longevity of GW1. For me, I get annoyed with the hypesters and those who proclaim GW2 (or any game) to be the "best" game ever made. Objectively speaking, there is no such thing - getting enjoyment out of a game is a very subjective thing, and Gaming Gold for one will be Gaming Trash for another. GW2 is not as different as many people like to think. I find GW1 much more refreshing and innovative, even after 7 years. However, as I mention in my comment above, GW2 is different enough from the original (which was much more groundbreaking in design) to not really be a long-term enjoyable game for me, so I choose not to purchase it.

In the end, if GW2's success means more content and play time in GW1, then I hope it crushes WoW on all levels. If it means GW2 has to fail for me to get that in GW1, then I hope it fails and fails hard and fast.

saluk
saluk

GW2's failure or success have nothing to do with GW1. I love GW1, but I am also in love with GW2 - it's like a breath of fresh air. Playing other mmos, there have always been those moments - where I sit and go "why am I doing this" or "why does it have to be this way". Nearly every design decision made for GW2 directly speaks to those moments. It has it's own annoyances to be sure, but it basically fixes every issue I had with the old model.

Success will hopefully mean other developers trying to break new ground instead of sticking with "tried and true" models. (Seriously, how did mob tagging EVER get to be a tried and true model)

I get pretty annoyed when people complaing that GW2 is not that different or not that innovative. They are working within an existing model, sure, (and intentionally so) but there is not a single area where they don't stretch the model.

Jim Bergevin Jr
Jim Bergevin Jr

 And that's why GW2 is perfect for players like you - because it offers a different take on the formula and why I have played GW1 for so long and still enjoy logging into the game.

However, the "tried and true" and formula is such because of the obvious - 10 million+ players over 8 years of life seem to enjoy it and keep playing. Ultimately there is nothing wrong with the "tried and true" and formula if that's what you enjoy playing. Anet is banking on the fact that there are enough players out there who don't like it to sustain their game for the long term. GW1's success would seem to hold that true, so I am ultimately not worried about it. However, since GW1 was my first MMO, over the last 7 years I wanted to see what it was like to play the "tried and true" and it turns out I find that enjoyable as well. I wanted to like GW2, but ultimately, I did not find it as enjoyable to play and it does not befit my playstyle like GW1 and the formula, so that's what I am sticking with for my long term gaming needs.

In terms of innovation I have to compare that innovation with GW1 since it's an established game, regardless of the fact that the same devs created both games. On that front the original is much more innovative for the time than the new outing. To be honest, I don't find GW2 any more innovative than Microsoft - it seems that both took the best of what others had to offer and mashed them up into their magnum opus. Maybe I am wrong, but that's just the way I see it because I have seen much of what is in GW2 come from other games that have been released over the last 30 years, and a lot of it just doesn't befit my playstyle and enjoyment in a game.

Jim Bergevin Jr
Jim Bergevin Jr

And that's why GW2 is perfect for players like you - because it offers a different take on the formula and why I have played GW1 for so long and still enjoy logging into the game.

However, the "tried and true" and formula is such because of the obvious - 10 million+ players over 8 years of life seem to enjoy it and keep playing. Ultimately there is nothing wrong with the "tried and true" and formula if that's what you enjoy playing. Anet is banking on the fact that there are enough players out there who don't like it to sustain their game for the long term. GW1's success would seem to hold that true, so I am ultimately not worried about it. However, since GW1 was my first MMO, over the last 7 years I wanted to see what it was like to play the "tried and true" and it turns out I find that enjoyable as well. I wanted to like GW2, but ultimately, I did not find it as enjoyable to play and it does not befit my playstyle like GW1 and the formula, so that's what I am sticking with for my long term gaming needs.

In terms of innovation I have to compare that innovation with GW1 since it's an established game, regardless of the fact that the same devs created both games. On that front the original is much more innovative for the time than the new outing. To be honest, I don't find GW2 any more innovative than Microsoft - it seems that both took the best of what others had to offer and mashed them up into their magnum opus. Maybe I am wrong, but that's just the way I see it because I have seen much of what is in GW2 come from other games that have been released over the last 30 years, and a lot of it just doesn't befit my playstyle and enjoyment in a game.

Noodlesnr
Noodlesnr

Not me! My husband and I have been waiting for the right game to come along to replace that excitement we used to have over wow. I really hope it does well-- the bigger the community, the more fun it!

Hamad Ali Al-Jalahma
Hamad Ali Al-Jalahma

I guess because people don't want to buy it and stick with the game they already play (wow) , like they did with SWTOR / RIFT / Warhammer just to be disappointed and shorter on money. Basically they have had bad experiences in the past. 

pcloadletter
pcloadletter

I started on Saturday and, yeah, it's pretty terrific.  So much care and attention to detail went into it and I love the emphasis on exploration and lore.  My first visit to Lion's Arch blew me away.

J.t. Lipovsky
J.t. Lipovsky

Been playing since pre-launch on Saturday, and it's been amazing!

Joe Banes
Joe Banes

The difference between pre-purchase and pre-order is that the pre-purchasers paid the full price for their edition of the game when they bought it. The pre-order folks only generally pay a five dollar up front fee to hold a copy of the game, but pay the full price when the game is delivered to them or they pick it up in the store.  So basically pre-purchasers said..yeah I know I want this game I'm buying it now. Pre-orderers said..I'm pretty sure I want this game, but not sure yet. I'll reserve a copy so I can get it if I decide I want it. Though in fairness some pre-order folks were confused at the difference too, but Anet did explain it through a couple of interviews.  So those who paid in full in advance got a three day head start, those who paid in full when the game was released got the one day. That's about it. :)

Danny B McWurth Bombastic
Danny B McWurth Bombastic

 no i pre-ordered the game because i like to add a hardcopy to my favorite games. nothing to do with maybe i want it or not. games i really love i like to have a hardcopy from. (dont ask me why i just do).

Lee Pfaff
Lee Pfaff

The dollar amount doesn't really matter because there are plenty of people who "pre-order" who pay the full amount and just have to pick up the game when it comes out. The difference is where you buy it. Retailers are not able to sell something before they have it and specifically before launch as breaking street dates tends to cause all kinds of issues. They use a supplemental UPC to track the amount of money a person puts down on an item that will be exchanged for the real product on release. Pre-orders are not a purchase but a designation of an intent to purchase at the future date when the produce arrives. In essence it's giving money ahead of time to reserve a copy. This is no way obligates you to buy the game. If it launches and it had bad reviews you can not buy it even though your reserved copy is still there.

Pre-purchase on the other hand can only be done through the maker of the game, in this case Anet. This is physically buying the game in which you "own it" but have to wait to get it. Think of it similar to buying something online but you have to wait for it to come in the mail to use it. This distinction is very important for companies as it will allow them to give incentives2, like 3 day head start, if you buy from them so that they have less overhead due to selling through a retailer.

John Keays
John Keays

 Wrong.

I prepurchased two copies, and played the betas and the 3-day head start, and I did it through a retail outlet.

Brian Fehrle
Brian Fehrle

Unfortunately this wasn't explained until after confusion, as well as retail outlets didn't know the difference either. One friend of mine paid half of the total cost and received a 'pre-purchase' code, another paid for the whole thing and got a 'pre-order' code. Also, Arenanet sent out beta invite emails to both pre-purchase and pre-order customers, when they should have only gone to pre-purchase. So even Arenanet was confused between the two.

John Keays
John Keays

 The EB Games outlets in Canada had no problems with this. I bought my two prepurchases there, and they also sold the preorders. Their staff seemed to know what they were doing.

Stephen Wong
Stephen Wong

Arena Net had specific registration keys for GW2. They are a set number of pre-purchase keys and set number of pre-order keys.  So from ANet's pt of view they are just numbers. Most likely the retailers got the numbers confused and offered their customers the wrong ones.