Blizzard has announced that, over the first full day of Shadowlands' launch, more than 3.7 million units had been sold globally. The full press release notes that this makes Shadowlands "the fastest-selling PC game of all time industry-wide", and can't resist noting that the previous record-holder, at just over 3.5 million copies, had been Blizzard's own Diablo III.
This claim is obviously attention-grabbing but is heavily caveated by the fact this is a limited time frame, and Cyberpunk 2077 is probably going to smash through it in a couple of days anyway.
More importantly, in the months leading up to the expansion's release, World of Warcraft itself "reached and sustained its highest number of players on monthly or longer-term subscriptions compared to the same period ahead of and following any WoW expansion in the past decade, in both the West and the East."
Players have thus spent more time in Azeroth this year than in "any of the last 10 years." The time players are spending in-game has also nearly doubled.
J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment, says: “It’s been a huge thrill to enter this whole-new dimension of the Warcraft universe together with millions of players around the world. It’s been equally rewarding to see players enjoying all of the new features and content in Shadowlands—whether they’re exploring new aspects of their characters with the Covenants or setting foot in WoW for the first time with the new-player experience in Exile’s Reach—and there’s much more to come.”
Shadowlands is a hell of a lot of fun and, just going on the PC Gamer team, does seem to have tempted many grizzled veterans back, grumbling even as they delight. World of Warcraft is in a great place at the moment, the best it's ever been for some players, even if this latest expansion sometimes doesn't know when to shut up.