We don’t yet have first-day sales numbers for what’s the most hotly anticipated video game release of the year, Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard Entertainment’s $40 expansion pack to World of Warcraft. But if geeks camping out for up to 24 hours in freezing weather isn’t a good enough indicator that demand for the game is hot, here’s another:
So many people were trying to log on to Lich on its first night Blizzard’s servers buckled under the load, with wait times of up to two hours to get into the game.
Blizzard could have prepared for the login rush better than it did. But it would be hard to call the launch a flop.
Apple’s (AAPL) first iPhone had some activation snafus, and just like the iPhone, while out-of-the-gate bugs may convince some of the faithful to wait a few days, it won’t scare any of them off. WoW is a game where an “average” player is one who’s put in hundreds of hours of gameplay. “Hardcore” WoW gamers put in thousands. Unless Blizzard is beset by these problems for weeks on end — something we very much doubt — most of Blizzard’s over 11 million paying subscribers are going to upgrade.
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