Cataclysm breaks more than Azeroth, sets sales record

The latest expansion pack for Activision-Blizzard's World of Warcraft, subtitled "Cataclysm", sold a record number of units in its first 24 hours, company officials revealed today.

According to a report from GamesIndustry.biz, fans purchased 3.3 million units of the Cataclysm expansion in its first 24 hours of retail availability, which started December 7th. Blizzard says that this makes World of Warcraft: Cataclysm the fastest selling PC title in history, eclipsing the six year-old game's previous expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King, which sold a 'mere' 2.8 million units in the first 24 hours.

While multi-platform titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops easily eclipse such sales figures, those are done primarily for console versions. Considering the period cries that 'PC Gaming is dead', sales of Cataclysm are most impressive. Moreover, the sales figures for it compare quite well with other popular system exclusives from the console world, like the 3.25 million units of Halo: Reach sold in the game's first day.

Though pre-order sales were clearly quite strong for the expansion, HULIQ's tracking data indicates that sales of the expansion pack remain strong at stores like GameStop, and first-month figures could be quite impressive if and when they are revealed in early 2011.

Much of the work done for Cataclysm involved "breaking" the old world of Azeroth and refining many of World of Warcraft's features, so interested players can experience many of the additions for free with a trial version of the game or with their existing subscription. As noted in last week's Week in Games feature, Blizzard is demonstrating with this heavy revision that they are not content to retain their current subscriber level (albeit impressive) but are continuously looking at ways to improve the user experience.

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