Shadowlands pre-sales highest of any World of Warcraft expansion

An image of Sylvanas Windrunner from World of Warcraft
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

World of Warcraft's upcoming Shadowlands expansion has more pre-sales than any other expansion in the game's history, says Activision Blizzard. On a recent earnings call, Activision Blizzard CEO Robert "Bobby" Kotick said that "We've seen unprecedented engagement trends since the [World of Warcraft] subscriber base doubled following the launch of Classic last year. Pre-sales of the upcoming Shadowlands expansion are the highest we've seen at this stage ahead of any release." 

Thus, Shadowlands has more pre-sales than every other expansion in World of Warcraft's 16-year history—though that may not hold true for overall sales after its launch. 

Kotick went on to emphasize that World of Warcraft is one of the few entertainment franchises that generates "over $1 billion" in annual net bookings, alongside Call of Duty and Candy Crush. Other executives on the call noted a huge sign that World of Warcraft's player community is quite healthy.

"Franchise engagement is at its highest level for this stage ahead of an expansion in a decade," said Activision Blizzard COO Daniel Alegre. It's not completely clear, but that seems to mean that there are more people playing ahead of Shadowlands' release than there were before ever expansion since Cataclysm—so the existing player base is more engaged than they were for Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, Legion, or Battle for Azeroth.  Alegre also noted that World of Warcraft's monthly active users have been stable and increasing since the launch of Classic last year.

We've kept up with Shadowlands, which launches on the November 23rd 16-year anniversary of World of Warcraft. Shadowlands has a lot going on, like the resolution of a 16-year meme, so if you'd like to get into the game we've got a guide on how to get started in time

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.