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Activision Blizzard Summons Its Demons

Evan Niu
March 15, 2012

A public service announcement to all the barbarians, assassins, monks, witch doctors, and wizards out there: Mark your calendar for May 15. Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI  ) has just announced that it is launching its highly anticipated Diablo III on that fateful day.

The game is now available for pre-purchase and runs for a standard $60. Diablo III has already spurred considerable interest and anticipation within the gaming community, which goes to show how strong Activision Blizzard's franchises are. We're talking about a game series that originally debuted in 1996, and saw a sequel in 2000.

That means the series hasn't seen a major release in over a decade, yet gamers would brave a dungeon crawling with Blood Lords to get their hands on a copy. That's what I call loyalty. Including expansion packs, the franchise has sold north of 20 million copies to date, and some analysts expect this latest iteration to sell roughly 5 million copies.

The company is even offering the game free to gamers who are willing to commit to a full year's subscription to its other wildly popular franchise, World of Warcraft, which normally runs about $15 per month. That's a smart move to r