Brean Murray, Carrett & Co, an analysis firm that’s watching the video game industry, has revealed that the Mists of Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft is selling better than initially thought, mainly because developer Blizzard is selling quite a lot of copies that are not tracked via Battle.net.
The company stated, “We think recent reports of weak retail sales for Mists of Pandaria may fail to reflect a channel shift toward a greater percentage of digital sales.”
It added, “More than 1 million people bought premium subscriptions, which bundled a year-long subscription with a copy of Diablo III. We look for the premium subscribers to not only pick up the expansion but for a significant portion of them to download it through the Battle.net platform, which should offer high margin revenue.”
During last week, Lazard Capital announced that Mists of Pandaria
is selling well below expectations, managing to only move about one fifth of the units that the previous expansion for World of Warcraft, Cataclysm, did.
Neither Lazard nor Brean Murray, Carrett & Co have offered clear sales information for Mists of Pandaria and Blizzard has not commented on the performance of the expansion.
Mists of Pandaria is designed to appeal both to long-term players of the MMO, which should return in order to experience new high-profile content and more challenging raids, and to newcomers, which should be interested in the new Pandaren race and the new monk class.
The development team has also added a new pet battle system which will be expanded in the near future to become one of the most important parts of the game.
Subscription numbers for World of Warcraft have been falling for the better part of two years from a high of close to 13 million, but the game remains the only MMO that can persuade players to pay to play in the long-term.