There’s a reason for that giant star, but I’ll get to that in a second. According to Lazard Capital Markets, Mists of Pandaria sales have been underwhelming, vastly lower than Cataclysm. The firm estimates that this week’s launch saw less than a million purchases, coming in around the 600,000-700,000 mark since Tuesday. In comparison, Cataclysm set records by pushing 3.3 million units in its first week back in December 2010.
Now, back to that star. The major caveat that Lazard Capital seemingly underestimates is the rise of digital sales. Blizzard, and most other major publishers, has been pushing digital sales hard to lock in additional revenue from its titles. In fact, MMOG players are even more apt to adopt the model since the physical package is essentially useless after it has been applied to an account. Unless you’re purchasing the Collector’s Edition, then a boxed copy makes little sense.
Caveat aside, it’s unlikely that MoP pushed over 2.5 million copies in digital, but I firmly believe it’s far higher than Lazard Capital Markets is giving the fourth WoW expansion credit for. WoW generates nearly 25 percent of Activition’s revenue and is responsible for about 50 percent of its operating income, making the drastic gap a big deal. What do you think?