Despite reports swirling around on the Internet that Max Payne 3 outsold Diablo III in the United Kingdom, a little further investigating reveals that this is not the case at all. The hoopla started when GfK revealed that Max Payne 3 trumped the hotly anticipated, yet much maligned, PC only Diablo III by approximately 8,000 copies sold. But before we pollute the virtual airways with misinterpreted information, it is vital to understand how exactly those numbers were crunched.
GfK does not take digital copies into account. Considering that about the only reasons to buy a boxed copy of Diablo III were if you were interested in attending a launch party or coveted the Collector’s Edition, it’s safe to say that a large portion of those who purchased the game did so online. In addition, Diablo III was only released for one platform, whereas Max Payne was released on the 360 and PS3. Granted, copies sold are copies sold, but platform diversity goes a long ways towards hurtling the amount of total entries shipped upwards.
Not only was Diablo III offered as a digital download, players were encouraged to download the client the day before the game came out, which further deterred buyers from purchasing it at brick and mortar stores. Essentially, you’d be waiting in line to get a code that could just as easily be purchased online with one lazy click. I actually pre-ordered a boxed copy of the game, but only because I was already going to the store to buy Max Payne 3 for the 360 anyway. I consider myself fortunate that I did – it proved an awesome time killer while I was waiting for the monumental server issues to clear up. Oh, and for those of you who are wondering what came in the Standard Edition of D3: a crappy notepad and a booklet featuring information that could easily be found online.
For what will probably amount to the one and only time Rockstar plays the role of a spoiler, Max Payne 3 – a series whose first two entries were developed by Remedy Entertainment – is certainly worth picking up. Drawing relatively strong reviews from critics and fans alike, which is more than we can say about Diablo (at least according to the fans over at Metacritic), Max Payne 3 ultimately plays it safe, but is an engaging, true to its roots, romp worthy of praise.
Truth be told, Diablo III probably sold about as many copies as was expected by Blizzard – in other words, a ton. I’m sure a grandiose report will be delivered straight from the horse’s mouth soon enough. And while the idea that Max Payne could usurp it from the top spot is certainly novel, and maybe even good for the industry, it was not to be.