As Sanctuary beckons, Diablo III players top 10M

Diablo III looks like it’s a runaway hit. Activision Blizzard said today that more than 10 million players have entered the world of Sanctuary, the fantasy land in the dungeon-crawling game.

Activision Blizzard’s Blizzard Entertainment division had previously announced that it sold more than 6.3 million copies of Diablo III in its first week, when the game was released in mid-May. Now the number has topped 10 million through July.

Not every copy has sold at the $60 price of the standard game, since World of Warcraft subscribers were able to get discounts. Still, if everyone did pay that $60 price, the sales at retail would be above $600 million. That’s a spectacular debut for any game.

Mike Morhaime, president of Blizzard, said in a conference call with analysts today that the game’s real-money auction house, which allows players to trade items in the game for real money, is meeting expectations for revenues. He said the company will continue to expand the service for gamers, but won’t provide specifics on how much money the auction house is generating. The auction house brings internal some revenues that Blizzard previously lost as players traded their wares outside of the game in the past.

Diablo III, which came out 12 years after Diablo II, crushed Max Payne 3, the Take-Two Interactive game that came out the same week in May. Yearly sales of Max Payne 3 are expected to be about $250 million, according to analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities.

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