Not that the company had much incentive to plug any holes in the brand-new game -- Diablo III set preorder and sales records by the bushel anyhow, with 6.3 million copies sold in the first week alone. At $60 a pop, that translates into nearly $400 million in first-week sales. Oh, and more than half of that cash pile arrived in the first day -- hardcore gamers can be a rabid bunch of big spenders.
To put that number into perspective, it's in the ballpark of the $455 million that record-breaker The Avengers rang up for Walt Disney
In Diablo III, gamers can buy and sell virtual goods for real-world money. This is a popular idea, as really devoted players can make some decent cash from their gaming habits -- but it also raises the specter of security problems. Exchanging digital currency is one thing -- security breaches there can be corrected by restoring backups of in-game characters, so there's little harm done.
But once you raise the stakes to real dollars and cents, you're tying bank accounts or credit cards to the process. Just ask Sony
But Activision secured its Battle.net platform with two-factor authentication just in time for the dollar-based auctions to go live. Using either a smartphone app (free!) or a hardware key ($6.50 plus shipping), you'll need to enter an ever-changing security code before touching your in-game credits. If this sounds familiar, you're probably using an RSA key from EMC's
That's Activision going above and beyond the call of duty (pun intended). That's how casual customers become loyal regulars, and how you ease the tension over a potentially disastrous hack-attack. Sony should be taking notes here.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google but holds no other position in any of the companies mentioned. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Activision Blizzard, and Walt Disney, has sold shares of Sony short, and has written calls on Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Activision Blizzard, Walt Disney, and Google and creating a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.