Possible Wrath of the Lich King digital download?

As some of you might already know, in early July the Blizzard Store started a new service that allows you to register your CD keys and download copies of Blizzard’s popular titles digitally.  This works great and I’ve used it to reinstall all of their old titles and play them more frequently now that I don’t need the CD (their latest patches around this time removed the CD check).  This got me to thinking, will they allow you to buy Wrath online and download it in the same manner?  That’s what Wrath of the Lich King beta testers are essentially doing now anyway.  To be honest, I thought that was what they might do when The Burning Crusade came out.

Game makers stand to profit more through digital downloads anyway.  They don’t have to pay as much for box production and shipping and finding retailers to stock their product (then again who wouldn’t stock a Blizzard product).  And even though the Blizzard Store had quite a debacle with Blizzcon tickets, I’m sure it could handle the stress of a tiny torrent download file and allow the P2P blizzard patching client to handle the rest of the workload.

The potential downside would be you don’t have any material gains from it.  You won’t have any box art or instruction manuals to admire.  You’re not going to have a tiny pewter murloc to set on your desk from the collector’s edition (yes I made that up don’t get excited).  Then again, why not?  Perhaps there could be an extra fee involved where you download the game now while they ship you your box and CD’s in the next few weeks.  Heck I would care if it didn’t show up for 3 months as long as I was playing.  And another potential bonus, what about something special to show you bought it via digital download (a tabard or vanity pet).

What about if you were able to access the game before anyone else?  This is what Valve had done in the past with their games on Steam.  Some of them were available a full week in advance of store shelves.  How would you like to be on the live servers, half way through outland on your Death Knight before the game even hits store shelves?

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12 Responses to Possible Wrath of the Lich King digital download?

  1. Kestrel says:

    Wasn’t aware I could register my CDs. Not a bad plan at all! (And FIRST VOTE!) 😀

  2. Aurdon says:

    Yeah you just drop in the CD key and boom …torrent link. you still have to use that CD Key to install the game once it downloads though. Just updating these to the store gives you a place to store them (see “view game key” in the photo) and a link to download them from anywhere.

    Be advised though, in starcraft if you have an old copy, the CD key is found in the manual. I’ve heard lost of people over looking that one. Too bad they don’t have a WC2 option.

  3. Cynra says:

    I really like it a lot. I recently got involved in Warcraft 3 with some of my fellow raiders (I totally loved Star Craft more) and purchased the game online through Blizzard’s store. The CD key is saved online, meaning that I never have to worry about losing a case or accidentally throwing away the manual or anything related to the CD key. It’s beautiful.

  4. Einz says:

    I would love it if they offered a digital download. In addition to saving them costs, it would save trees and resources. The files can be burned to DVDs for archival purposes, if you’re so inclined. To be quite honest, I’m surprised this hasn’t been embraced long ago.

    Instead of driving around town trying to find a store that still has copies of the expansion available, we can sit in the comfort of our own home and bang our heads on the desk while the download trickles along.

  5. Aurdon says:

    @Einz I agree, there are several digital download platforms cropping up all over the place with the first major one I can recall being SteamPowered.com. Others include GoG.com, TotalGaming.net, Direct2Drive.com and more.

    And while I’m not familiar with all of them, I know Steam allows you to back up your game to burned disc. And as I mentioned above, its pretty well known that game publishers profit much more off of digital downloads then selling off of shelves.

  6. Lassirra says:

    The problem with digital downloads is they’re not easy to move from one system to the next. By actually going to the store and purchasing a physical copy of the game, you’re making it that much easier for you to install on multiple computers (for example, I have two desktops and two laptops, all of which have WoW installed on them) and easier to re-install if for some reason you need to (OS poops out, or what-have-you).

    Also, by going with a physical copy you don’t deal with the added detriment of having to wait as long for download times: the game is immediately available to you. (Of course, one could present the “but what about the patches?!” argument, but that would be the case in either scenario which would render it moot as a point of comparison.)

    It’s not a matter of “oldskool”, but a matter of convenience.

  7. Einz says:

    Plus, if I understand the way torrents work, with more people downloading, all those people would be seeding the files as well, which would make them even more available. So most people may not even need to connect directly to Blizzard – they would just download the pieces from other users.

    I just wish we could download it using a torrent client of our choice. uTorrent >> Blizzard’s Downloader.

    Einzs last blog post..In Death I Find Life

  8. Aurdon says:

    @Lassirra yes but Steam has proven this as an effective means of content delivery time and time again. Content would preload and be “unlocked” at 12:01 the day of. Also steam does provide you the means to burn the content to a CD/DVD for backup so that should help you copy to other computers. Not saying that its the best possible solution…I just want it to A solution.

    @Einz yes I have said a few colorful words at the Blizzard Downloader. I’ve heard people concerned with the Blizzard Store being able to handle the ordering of the game but if they do it early enough, and do the pre-load option, I don’t see it being much of a problem. They basically already allow this for Original WoW and TBC (the download…not purchase), why not just do WotLK out of the gates this way?

  9. Lassirra says:

    @Aurdon Burning digital copies to discs requires that users have appropriate software for the task (such as Nero), and there are still many users who don’t. Not to mention the fact that those who do have the software may not know how to burn as ISOs, for example. That also doesn’t touch on the fact that many users still utilize older systems that aren’t equipped with DVD burners, and many games would surpass the 750mb capacity of regular burnable CDs. In addition, you’re still out the time it took you to A) download the game, and B) burn it to disc. I’m guessing a five minute trip to a retailer is faster than (potentially) hours of download time.

    If I felt that digital copies of games were convenient and time efficient when compared to going to the store and purchasing a physical copy of the game, then I would be in favor of it. However, I’m not convinced that’s the case the majority of the time (and especially not in my own case). I will agree, however, that some may find it preferable, and thus it should be offered as an option.

  10. Sealvan says:

    I’m one of those gamers who like having their box and all, but i live in central america and my biggest issue is that game stores here dont sell wow or if they do it wont get here after 6 months. This is why I think it would be a great idea for the digital download.

  11. Munchy says:

    Even better why dont they charge us alot less for a digital dowload lik for the last 30 years they all said they would. oh i know why not, cause we are all idiots and prefere paying more for the same thing even though no physicsl device. Just to keep their promises of the past would do it for me lol

  12. Aurdon says:

    I just bought a few digital download games that were 75% off where the physical copies were still full price. Maybe this is where we’ll see the cheaper digital media…during sale times.

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