Mists of Pandaria Opening Sales Stumble

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Mists of Pandaria Opening Sales Stumble

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Investment analyst group Lazard Capital Markets put Pandaria retail sales at 600-700,000 since launch.

Mists of Pandaria, the World of Warcraft expansion based on an April Fool's joke, may prove to be an expensive indulgence for Blizzard according to figures released by market analysts Lazard Capital Markets. Lazard estimates that Pandaria moved only 600-700,000 retail units since launch. As a comparison, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm sold more than 3.3 million copies in the first 24 hours after launch.

There is a significant hole in the Lazard estimates, as they don't include digital sales. Things have changed considerably in the digital space since 2010, and digital is bound to be a larger proportion of overall Pandaria sales than they would have been for Cataclysm.

That said, to make up this kind of shortfall - over 2.5 million units difference between the expansions, assuming the 700,000 Pandaria figure is correct - digital would have to have become the primary means of selling product. Digital is certainly important; a 57% increase in digital sales was responsible for Blizzard's profits bump in the third quarter 2011. But if, for the sake of discussion, digital sales brought Pandaria to exactly the same sales level as Cataclysm, then retail would be just a little over 21% of total sales. Even given the growth of digital since 2010, that result doesn't seem likely.

The analysis comes courtesy of Atul Bagga of Lazard, whose track record is pretty solid, particularly on Blizzard news. Bagga's report follows on a recent analysis suggesting that Blizzard's excessive reliance on World of Warcraft as a revenue generator threatens the company as a whole.

It probably doesn't help that the MMO has been losing subscribers at a rapid rate; it had less than 10 million as of August 2012 and, given Bagga's report, there's no reason to think Pandaria tempted a significant proportion of those missing subscribers back.

Source: VentureBeat

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The cracks are growing larger. The beast doesn't have much longer to live by my calculations.

It doesn't have any digital sales, until then, it's woefully inaccurate information.

Fappy:
The cracks are growing larger. The beast doesn't have much longer to live by my calculations.

I think I agree. I think people are just upset with Blizzard recently over the whole Diablo 3 thing not living up to the hype and for what I gather (not played) cataclysm wasn't too great.

It'll recover those numbers as soon as people start coming back from Guild Wars 2.

They always come back.

Xeorm:
It doesn't have any digital sales, until then, it's woefully inaccurate information.

I'll agree here. Although yes, this isn't necessarily bad information to have, neglecting digital sales at this point is a poor choice. Based on that metric, Torchlight II and Minecraft have each sold approximately 0 copies. (Well, there may be a retail version of Minecraft, but I haven't personally seen it. I'm reasonably certain there isn't one for T2 just yet)

Seeing how heavily they were promoting the digital version it wouldn't surprise me to see that digital sales were actually much much higher than people expect.

This is what happens when you try to use a joke to sell a game. Yeah, pandarens are in the lore, but that portion lore wasn't serious lore. This is like if that had the Hell Bovine became a new playable race.

Digital sales will no doubt be a significant part of the numbers, but I really don't see them making up the entire difference.

Blizzard's had a bad year. D3's been getting nothing but bad buzz for a while now, and the 9 month content drought prior to MoP's release really put a strain on player loyalty.

Blizzard have taken their players for granted for far too long. If MoP underperforms maybe it'll push them to actually make an effort the next time.

The digital version is cheaper too. Why would anyone not buy that instead of the physical copy? Other than to show off the box I guess.

Seeing how i have managed to get all expansions so far without paying, i think i will wait, and get this one free too

I actually planned to go back like I do for every expansion but ended up cancelling my preorder (the day before release to my surprise) because I just don't give a shit any more. Blizzard has declined as a company, placing mass appeal before a great gaming experience.

WoW has become excessively easier and trashier with each expansion, StarCraft 2 was nice but got boring fast and Diablo 3 shattered my heart and my memories into pieces before crapping on them and telling me I couldn't play their game.

It doesn't help them that their greatest minds and creators all left to form other studios and create better, more unique experiences than Blizzard wants to offer. See: Runic Games' Torchlight and Red5's FireFall.

If I had to sum up my opinion of Blizzard in 2012 it would go something like follows:

With all that said, I wouldn't be surprised if most players just went digital. Blizzard always pushed the "get to play first" angle with their digital releases.

DVS BSTrD:
It'll recover those numbers as soon as people start coming back from Guild Wars 2.

They always come back.

but what if they don't? What if they don't!

After all, former WoW Players like me (last I played was wotlk) are moving on to GW2 and I'm never going back to WoW even if I stop playing GW2

AzrealMaximillion:
This is what happens when you try to use a joke to sell a game. Yeah, pandarens are in the lore, but that portion lore wasn't serious lore. This is like if that had the Hell Bovine became a new playable race.

Hell Bovine might actually get me to start playing again.

So did Star Wars TOR go free-to-play yet?

I, and many other people, bought the digital edition, both for convenience and so that we could start playing as soon as it was released. Making judgements based on just retail in this day and age is foolish.

I'm not really surprised, although we shouldn't dismiss digital sales. Every WoW player I know kinda gave up on the game and won't be buying this expansion (at least while GW2 is still hot). Blizzard has stagnated as a company for a while now and pandas aren't really something to draw players in. I enjoyed WotLK and found Cataclysm intriguing enough to buy even though I got bored of it in a week. This one just sounds....meh.

The big question: is digital out-selling retail four to one?

I'm not surprised Blizzard hasn't released the digital numbers yet, if it were a bigger release than Cata then you'd better believe they'd be screaming it to the high heavens.

excalipoor:
The digital version is cheaper too. Why would anyone not buy that instead of the physical copy? Other than to show off the box I guess.

Digital version = 34,99€ = 35€
I can have MoP delivered to my doorstep from a retailer for only 28,40€.

I'm just annoyed that all that people try to focus on seems to be that Pandaren were originally an April's Fools joke. They may have started that way, but I'll be damned if they don't make the idea a lot more sensible when you actually get there in the expansion. They take the joke and run with it like they stole it, and it f*cking WORKS.

Also, I can offer some evidence that digital sales must've been big seeing as I'm pretty much the only person in my entire guild who bought it retail.

jurnag12:
I'm just annoyed that all that people try to focus on seems to be that Pandaren were originally an April's Fools joke.

It's hard not to, when the trailers are showing off kung fu pandas completely straight-faced.

Soods:

excalipoor:
The digital version is cheaper too. Why would anyone not buy that instead of the physical copy? Other than to show off the box I guess.

Digital version = 34,99€ = 35€
I can have MoP delivered to my doorstep from a retailer for only 28,40€.

You're right. I was thinking of the Digital Deluxe edition for some reason. Brainfart.

This is less "WoW stumbles" and more "shitty market analysts are shitty".

It's 2012, how the fuck can they exclude digital sales and call that a good estimate?

Pyrian:

jurnag12:
I'm just annoyed that all that people try to focus on seems to be that Pandaren were originally an April's Fools joke.

It's hard not to, when the trailers are showing off kung fu pandas completely straight-faced.

Despite the Pandaren existing as a concept for years before that movie was even released. I was doubtful about Mists of Pandaria myself but I have to give Blizzard credit, it works. They've put a hell of a lot of work into this expansion. The new zones are absolutely stunning and hugely detailed, the quests are fun and the dungeons have mechanics beyond tanking and spanking. I've been converted.

Neglect digital sales

Ignorant haters comment on the game failing.

I bought the digital copy of the game, and these days there's no point of buying the box anyway. The game is always patched with the next expansions content weeks in advance. Buying the box only serves to give the player their code to upgrade there account. It's more cost and time efficient to get the game digital unless you want the collectors.

You don't actually install the expansion from the disc anymore.

Edit: Also, why the hell is the fact that there are kung fu pandas such a problem? Is it because the game is no longer serious to you? The game was NEVER intended to be taken seriously. Blizz puts a lot of humour into their games, doesn't detract from them in the slightest. I don't remember anyone making a fuss over the Tauren marines in Starcraft 2, and they were stupid and silly. Just drop the whole thing for fuck sakes. Either enjoy the game or shut up.

Edit: Thunder stolen by previous poster

Why is people suddenly claiming that Pandaren are not serious enough for WoW? Since when has Warcraft's lore been remotely serious?

Heck, I have no interest in the game, but the Pandaren trailer I liked because it was funny for once (human giving orc the spear: priceless), instead of all the over dramatic grim-dark from the previous expansions.

As for the subscription decline, not surprising. But Blizzard have been seeing this coming for a while now (Project "Titan" anyone?).

You people don't know what you're talking about. Whilst the digital distribution market has certainly grown it has not yet reached a point where accounting for 80% of sales is considered plausible.

Cataclysm sold 3 million copies in 24 hours. Mists of Pandaria is struggling to reach a million four days after launch and unless gamers suddenly changed their attitude regarding digital distribution in the span of a couple of months it's obvious just how bad WoW is leaking.

Face it. World of Warcraft is currently a bad game and ActiBlizz are the reason it's dying. They tried to make huge profits in the short term and, whilst they've succeeded in doing so, the cash cow has run out of milk and apart from Call of Duty there's nothing else to keep them going. The casual route just isn't sustainable in the long term.

Personally I'm glad its dying. Ever since the merge WoW has been getting shittier each patch. I'm hoping its death will usher in a new MMO golden age but that's highly unlikely.

EDIT: Oh, and don't get your hopes up for Titan. If Cataclysm and MoP are anything to go by it's going to be yet another shitty casual MMO about sitting in towns all day waiting for a queue to pop up.

Fappy:
The cracks are growing larger. The beast doesn't have much longer to live by my calculations.

Hell, people go on about 'WoW killers', WoW will kill itself eventually.

Cartographer:
The big question: is digital out-selling retail four to one?

I'm not surprised Blizzard hasn't released the digital numbers yet, if it were a bigger release than Cata then you'd better believe they'd be screaming it to the high heavens.

It very much is. I am in AIE, one of the largest guilds currently in the game. (I believe we have over 9 co-guilds with about 7000 unique members that play frequently, plus more that play on/off). A good 90% of them bought digitally so they didn't have to go out to a store and pick it up. Then a good 88% of those 90% bought the Digitial Deluxe as they wanted the CE mounts/pets as well.

I have heard other guilds doing the same thing, buying digitally instead of retail. I personally payed retail as I love Collector's Editions.

Regardless, most are paying digitally. So no people WoW isn't dieing anytime soon. Go back into your little alters of Blizzard-hate.

Captcha: Father Uncle... what?

Waaghpowa:
Neglect digital sales

Ignorant haters comment on the game failing.

I bought the digital copy of the game, and these days there's no point of buying the box anyway. The game is always patched with the next expansions content weeks in advance. Buying the box only serves to give the player their code to upgrade there account. It's more cost and time efficient to get the game digital unless you want the collectors.

You don't actually install the expansion from the disc anymore.

Edit: Also, why the hell is the fact that there are kung fu pandas such a problem? Is it because the game is no longer serious to you? The game was NEVER intended to be taken seriously. Blizz puts a lot of humour into their games, doesn't detract from them in the slightest. I don't remember anyone making a fuss over the Tauren marines in Starcraft 2, and they were stupid and silly. Just drop the whole thing for fuck sakes. Either enjoy the game or shut up.

What? Humour in a Blizzard Warcraft title? Oh no. That could never happen.

Daystar Clarion:

Fappy:
The cracks are growing larger. The beast doesn't have much longer to live by my calculations.

Hell, people go on about 'WoW killers', WoW will kill itself eventually.

I've felt that way since way back when Warhammer Online was coming out. You can only stuff so much shit into an old game before it implodes like the big Yellow energy absorption guy from early on in the Buu saga who Goku beat by making him absorb too much energy... wait... where was I going with this?

Fappy:

Daystar Clarion:

Fappy:
The cracks are growing larger. The beast doesn't have much longer to live by my calculations.

Hell, people go on about 'WoW killers', WoW will kill itself eventually.

I've felt that way since way back when Warhammer Online was coming out. You can only stuff so much shit into an old game before it implodes like the big Yellow energy absorption guy from early on in the Buu saga who Goku beat by making him absorb too much energy... wait... where was I going with this?

Then explain Everquest. It is bloated and yet it still has a devoted following. WoW will continue to decline, but I highly doubt it will "die out". It will go the way of Ultima Online or Everquest (the first one, not the second).

Captcha: how about that?

Capitano Segnaposto:

Fappy:

Daystar Clarion:

Hell, people go on about 'WoW killers', WoW will kill itself eventually.

I've felt that way since way back when Warhammer Online was coming out. You can only stuff so much shit into an old game before it implodes like the big Yellow energy absorption guy from early on in the Buu saga who Goku beat by making him absorb too much energy... wait... where was I going with this?

Then explain Everquest. It is bloated and yet it still has a devoted following. WoW will continue to decline, but I highly doubt it will "die out". It will go the way of Ultima Online or Everquest (the first one, not the second).

Captcha: how about that?

When I say die out I really mean lose it's monopoly. WoW has one of the biggest followings in the industry's history, so of course there will always be a niche for it. I wouldn't doubt Blizzard will likely keep the servers alive for another 15 or 20 years if enough people are still playing. DII servers are still up.

Fappy:
I've felt that way since way back when Warhammer Online was coming out. You can only stuff so much shit into an old game before it implodes like the big Yellow energy absorption guy from early on in the Buu saga who Goku beat by making him absorb too much energy... wait... where was I going with this?

I think the problem with WoW is more like the reverse. Instead of using their huge name, fame and financial power to broaden and deepen the game, and in doing so advance the entire genre, they're becoming narrower and narrower in focus - drowning the levelling experience in gimmicky minigames and sucking the life out of anything that isn't the most recent 5 levels and the dead horse gear grind of the endgame.

With all the dumbing down streamlining of the game these past few years it feels like there's less to WoW than there used to be, not more.

Sixcess:

Fappy:
I've felt that way since way back when Warhammer Online was coming out. You can only stuff so much shit into an old game before it implodes like the big Yellow energy absorption guy from early on in the Buu saga who Goku beat by making him absorb too much energy... wait... where was I going with this?

I think the problem with WoW is more like the reverse. Instead of using their huge name, fame and financial power to broaden and deepen the game, and in doing so advance the entire genre, they're becoming narrower and narrower in focus - drowning the levelling experience in gimmicky minigames and sucking the life out of anything that isn't the most recent 5 levels and the dead horse gear grind of the endgame.

With all the dumbing down streamlining of the game these past few years it feels like there's less to WoW than there used to be, not more.

I was going with the whole abundance of expansions and high level cap angle. A lot of people have left the game for the reasons you listed above, but it is hard for them to replenish their numbers because newcomers are intimidated by what appears to be an incredibly large and difficult game to "catch up" in.

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