Diablo III: First Best Selling PC-Only Game in Two Years

Video game sales figures for May 2012 have been released by industry calculator NPD Group, and to no one’s surprise, Diablo III was the best selling title of the month. These sales figures are for box copies only, and do not include digital sales, which is part of the reason they say total sales have been dropping every month.

NEW YORK — U.S. retail sales of video-game hardware, software and accessories fell for a sixth consecutive month in May.

According to market tracker NPD Group, sales fell 28 percent from a year earlier to $517 million. The study tracks sales of new physical products — about 50 percent to 60 percent of the total spending. Excluded are sales of used games and rentals as well as digital and social-network spending.

Sales of console and portable software — the video games themselves — fell 32 percent from a year earlier to $255 million, while sales of hardware fell 39 percent to $139 million. That was offset partly by a 7 percent increase in sales of accessories, to $122 million.

NPD also listed the top-selling games in May and said it was the first time since July 2010 that a PC-only game was a top seller for the month.

That last line made me curious; what was the title in July 2010 that was the last PC-only title to top the chart? I guess it was Starcraft II, which was released July 27, 2010, but that doesn’t mesh with the lists I found online for NPD’s sales figures for July 2010, where SC2 isn’t even mentioned and the top seller is a sports title released for PS3 and Xbox360.

Update: Reader Qvardz dug up a page on Wired that cites NPD as certifying SC2 as the biggest seller of the month, even though it’s not on the top 10 list in that article either.

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26 thoughts on “Diablo III: First Best Selling PC-Only Game in Two Years

  1. Captain obvious, don’t say it…doooon’t say it

    ‘See, PC gaming isn’t dying’.

    D’oh. I said it.
    Hello people. Back to D3 for me. Man I’m having fun!

  2. I’m sorry but sales figures dated on the year 2012 that do not include Digital distribution are worth sh!t.

    Personally I don’t know even 1 person who bought a D3 Box. What’s more – neither me nor none of my friends bought even a single game outside of Digital Distribution in whole 2011 and 2012.

    Who the hell needs boxes and DVD’s these days?

    • I refuse to install more digital distribution programs than Steam, so anything that I want and is not on steam I buy boxed (Anno 2070) or not at all (Mass Effect 3). But you’re right, I hate those boxes with failing discs and gone-missing CD keys. Digital distribution all the way!

    • I got the box from Amazon, and looking at the reviews (comical because it’s rated half as good as D2), it seems a lot of people do buy boxed copies. It is strange that the NPD doesn’t account for digital distribution… Does steam publish their numbers anywhere?

      • No Steam doesn’t publish numbers, only the party selling the game gets sales numbers of how their product does on steam. Then they can publish those numbers if they feel so inclined, but Valve keeps everything behind closed doors.

        • Agreed that the list should include digital, but how? Steam doesn’t share their figures and Blizzard doesn’t publish their digital sales figures at all. So what’s NPD supposed to do? Guess and estimate?

          Blizzard doesn’t even disclose things like player locations, so it’s always just guesswork how many of their WoW subs are in the US, EU, Asia, etc. Thus you get people multiplying 10.2m subs by $15 a month and arriving at revenue figures that are wildly inflated, since 50% (or so?) of those people are playing in China and paying far less.

    • I did and I do. As with music CDs I like the physical copy. I still even…..wait for it……collect….vinyl! Yes, I said it.

    • @Rashnu: A lot of people actually. There were 2 snaky lines of about 100 people each when I went to purchase my box in Singapore. People in the line were trying to dissuade the guy in front and make him/her go home to buy the online version; not to much avail. We ALL wanted the box 🙂

      • That doesn’t change the fact that any list that excludes digital purchases are worthless. I buy a box now and again but most of the time I do it digital as does everyone I know.

    • I buy all Collector’s Editions for Blizzard games since they began offering them with Diablo 2. Something about it I just enjoy. Now any other game that isn’t a console game is bought digitally and if it’s not available digitally…I can wait lol.

      EDIT: And to clarify even though I had the game digitally installed I used the discs (only because I knew I had a 3 hour wait) to install it at midnight cause I figured why the hell not. Now on every other PC I’ve put it on I just used the digital dl cause it’s faster.

    • Wtf did you just say?

      Are you underage?
      Collecting video games and especially those oldschool boxes is awesome.

      • No, I’m not underage and none of my friends is.

        Boxes are waste of space. Sorry, but I prefer to have a painting on the wall or a shelf with my favourite books instead of hundreds of boxes of PC games I own.

        Why I love Digital Distribution:
        – I can buy stuff with my CreditCard and don’t need to look for them in the store/stores.
        – I can just download and install the game in less that it takes me to actually even get to the store.
        – I can play it whenever I want and on pretty much any PC I want and I don’t need to ask myself – where the hell should I put this next Box and DVD or where was that Box of the game I just want to install.

        Boxes were fun when I was 13 maybe 14, then I have even enjoyed the manual. These days … sorry but I’d rather read a good book than a game manual.

    • Digital Download Diablo 3 on Blizzard website : 60€
      Diablo 3 Box on Amazon : 42€ (and you get a pretty box and a DVD, not just a CD-key…) And for a few euros more you can have it delivered on the release day (not that it would have helped, since it looks like the servers were down a lot the first days).

      So I return the question to you : why would you want to buy as DD?

      Oh, and you do realize that there’s still la lot of people out there, even in “rich” countries, for whom downloading several Gb for just a single game is not something they can or want to do?

  3. My guess is that Blizzard will release first month sales for D3 this week.

    I would guess around 7.2 – 7.5 million copies.

    A bit sad the game still needs some twninking like the professions, the non functioning RMAH in commodities and too steep difficulty in Inferno.

    Perhaps the PvP and a new Armory can bring in some boosts to future sales.

    But my guess is that D3 will max out at around 8 million sales (including the 1.2 million from annual pass).

    Future guesses: MoP: 5.5 million first month sales and SC2 expansion around 2.5 million.

    2012 will be a record revenue year for Blizzard. probably around 1.8 billion dollars for Blizzard alone.

  4. What I’d like to know is how many people STOPPED playing by now? Of my 6 or so friends who bought it and play together, only a few us of ever log on any more. And none really play for more than an hour or so per day. I’m at a point where I bargain with myself to log on and just get “1 more lvl” on my alt Wizard (54 currently). So bored with the game. It’s depressing too cause I was so looking forward to wasting 2 years on this game. I bought the CE and everything 🙁

    But hey I did made $4.50 on the RMAH so far woot woot. My buddy made over $80 so he has more than made all his money back.

    • ill slow down my playtime untill the 1.0.3 patch comes out and it is actually possible to legitimately get good items in act1 (not this lvl 54 bullsh|t that drops currently) to progress to act 2 without using cheesy methods/using RMAH

    • I stopped playing a few weeks ago. Friends had stopped a week before me which was disappointing, but after a week solo I realised the game had nothing memorable to offer. It was essentially a farmville type game (not that d1 and d2 offered much more).. Basically what I’m saying is that there are no stories that can be shared about this game like “remember that time when….” “yeah that was so funny”. Potentially hardcore only offers that through deaths but it isn’t very much. Thinking back to WoW, we could talk for hours going over memories of silly adventures we had and funny moments, but d3 has nothing. I got 3 60s and the last 2 classes were over 50. It felt too easy to do that and the endgame offered nothing but the same experience as the first 3 difficulties only with more deaths.. In the time I played, I found 2 legendaries. It didn’t feel rewarding for the time given. Really I knew what I was getting into, so I don’t regret playing because my intent was to get it out of my system for waiting all this time. But apart from that, I would have regretted this purchase and contributing to “game of the year”, in which this “game” doesn’t deserve a title like that. The developers didn’t do it for the fans, and you can see that by looking at magdha. Since quitting, I’ve instead taken up piano O_o Now to break the habit of checking d3 news…

  5. The pc will always be the best gaming machine but it seems games on the pc haven’t been good in quite some time.

  6. The reason why blizzard wont publish digital sales is because they hide the profits to avoid tax.

  7. i guess that too
    plus most of the players bought the key not from blizzard, but from sites like mmoga.com ^^

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