I doubt anyone outside of Blizzard has given that question any serious, informed thought, but it’s what’s being asked in an article from The Age.
Guinness World Records today confirmed that the arrival of Modern Warfare 2 late last year was the most successful entertainment launch of all time, eclipsing the box office earnings of anything that Hollywood has churned out.
Day one sales of Modern Warfare 2 have been verified at $434 million, breaking the previous record set by Grand Theft Auto IV, which grossed $335 million in its first 24 hours on sale.
The piece goes on to speculate about upcoming sequels that might break that record, including Halo, Grand Theft Auto, Starcraft 2, and Diablo 3. Most of those seem to be ruled out by the fact that they’re only launching on one platform, while MW2 launched on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, but is that necessarily true? (Probably.)
Wikipedia says that MW2 sold 4.7m total copies during the first 24 hours, with $310m in revenue, and was over $550m after 5 days. Impossible to beat with a PC game? Perhaps not.
WoW’s last expansion sold 2.8m copies in the first 24 hours, back in November 2008. And those sales do not include the massive Asian markets (where Wrath of the Lich King wasn’t playable for some time, and still isn’t in China). What will SC2 sell, with the ginormous Korea fan base for the game, plus the US, Europe, and the rest of the world? And how about Diablo 3, which seems, by my entirely subjective observations, to have a considerably larger pre-release following than Starcraft 2.
Could D3 move more than 4.7m copies in the first 24 hours? It would be an amazing achievement, given that Diablo 2 only sold 1m in the first 24 hours, and needed two months to get to 4m sold. Then again, more people pre-order these days, there are more types of stores selling games, Amazon.com is more widely-used, and Blizzard will certainly be selling Diablo 3 via digital download on the first day. What do you guys think? Given that the two WoW expansion packs sold 2.4m and 2.8m copies their first days, almost entirely in the US and Europe, 3-4m worldwide doesn’t seem out of the question for Diablo 3…?