Lord of Record Sales: Blizzard Says Diablo III Is Fastest Selling PC Game in History

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Surprise, Diablo III sold to the moon and back since its release last week on Tuesday, May 15, says developer/publisher Blizzard in so many words. In fact the company says more than 3.5 million people picked up a copy of its action-roleplaying trilogy closer during the game’s first 24 hours on sale, which would make it the fastest selling PC game of all time (based on Blizzard’s internal sales data and reports from “key distribution partners”).

What’s more, Blizzard says the 3.5 million figure doesn’t include over 1.2 million additional players who received a copy of Diablo III in trade for signing up to play World of Warcraft for a year. Add the two figures together and you get 4.7 million global Diablo III players out of the chute. And if you do the math for the first week’s sales, Blizzard says the figure shoots up to more than 6.3 million players. That’s well over half as many total World of Warcraft subscribers (around 10 million subscribers in November 2011). What can you say? The power of Blizzard.

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Blizzard says it launched Diablo III at over 8,000 retailers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. The game was also available as a digital download direct from Blizzard in all of the above regions plus Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Brazil (several additional Latin American countries along with Russia will see the game hit shelves on June 7). Blizzard adds that the above sales figures don’t include players in Korean Internet game rooms, where it says Diablo III “has become the top-played game, achieving a record share of more than 39% as of May 22.” Furthermore, it notes that the game has been “fully localized into Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, European Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Korean, and traditional Chinese.”

GameStop calls it “one of [the company’s] biggest PC launches ever,” while Amazon says it broke the site’s record for “most preordered PC game of all-time on Amazon.com” as well as “best day-one sales for any PC game ever on Amazon.com.”

What of the Battle.net launch issues? Blizzard’s not playing coy, expressing candid regret “that [its] preparations were not enough to ensure everyone had a seamless experience” when the game went live. I was on vacation most of last week, then battling laptop performance issues with the game when I returned on Saturday, so I didn’t really dive in until Monday evening (after building a new high-end desktop — anyone want to wager new PC sales are up, too?). So far, I’ve only experienced a few minor bugs, e.g. random multiplayer-like lagging, i.e. screen jumping, in single-player mode, and an Auction House glitch where an item I put up for sale wasn’t removed from my inventory, thus allowing me to sell it twice: once through the AH, once to an in-game merchant.

While I’m a little concerned about the game’s easiness on “Normal” mode, I’m cautiously optimistic about the character build and cooperative play possibilities as I move into the 20s, level-wise, on my (not patient) way toward unlocking “Nightmare.”

MORE: ‘Diablo III’ Battles Battle.net Blues as Players Slam the Game in Reviews