Blizzard praises High Street after HMV WoW launch

Despite Warcraft’s reliance on downloadable updates, VP of business development at Blizzard Itzik Ben Bassat told MCV that digital distribution could not offer the same benefits as High Street retail.

“You just have to look at what HMV has done for us with Burning Crusade [last night] and for Nintendo with the Wii launch to know that retail supplies a very important function for games companies,” said Ben Bassat.

“The launch has given us massive exposure to both the public and the press and a visibility that you just can’t get on the web – and I’m saying that as part of a pretty successful web company. For us, retail and digital download will continue to co-exist for many, many years to come.”

Much like HMV’s Wii launch in December, fans began queuing outside its flagship London store early in the morning. However, this time the retailer handed out limited wristbands for customers to bring back in the evening.

Ben Bassat and lead games designer John LeCraft were on hand to sign copies of the expansion for WoW enthusiasts, many of whom were dressed up as characters from the game.

The release date of World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade comes after Blizzard revealed that eight million subscribers had signed up to the original WoW globally, including 1.5 million in Europe.

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