PC Retail Exclusives 2008

With the release of Wrath of the Lich King, and the upcoming Mines of Moria expansion for LOTRO, I was shocked to discover that, for the moment, WotLK has no online key purchase and software download option. While it remains to be seen if this is the case for MoM, it’s a little disturbing to see that publishers are still doing retail exclusive releases for PC titles, which seems to fly in the face of market trends.

I was wondering if any of you are similarly surprised, and also if any of you understand why this continues to be the case, here in 2008. Am I missing some piece of the puzzle that makes box sales more profitable that simply producing a PDF manual and sending the data to the user?

Oops, minutes after posting this, a friend told me there’s an online purchase option for Mines of Moria.

You’re off the hook Turbine! Now Blizzard…

In Blizzard’s case there are a couple of reasons that I can see. First, they could sell Wrath of the Lich King exclusively from the Mount Doom Gamestop and people would still get there in time for the midnight launch. Second, giving retail a period of timed exclusivity (as you can bet this is), they’re probably securing a fuckton of promotion.

Has Blizzard ever offered online download for WoW? They just give you a torrent tracker and save on bandwidth, from what I understood.

Well, I don’t really care how they deliver it. The torrent tracker in their updater is fine, and there’s always a working Blizzard seed, and thousands of peers.

What I am more interested in paying for is the privilege to have a working activation key to upgrade my account from BC. It annoys me that they didn’t do it out of the gate.

I bought my copy of the 1st WoW expansion directly via download.

So did I, but this was months later. It was also 2006 and I wasn’t so sure people were going for the direct download market yet. Now it’s 2008 and I know they are, so I’m just plain baffled.

This has to be an anti-credit card fraud measure. They’d rather have a card present transaction (retail), even if it costs them a lot more than a card not present one (d/l) just to sidestep the tsunami of fraud that would occur around the launch of the expansion pack.

Script kiddies + gold farmers + huge interest = one whopper of a big wave of badness.

Remember, unlike every other game you buy, a purchase of WoW can result in you making money in vast excess of the purchase price. Allowing a path to get the exp reg code online in any way just means that they’re guaranteed to make money - and even more money.