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Retail breaks street-date on WoW expansion

Retailers across the country began selling the much anticipated expansion pack, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, at the weekend - ahead of tonight's official launch.

Retailers across the UK began selling much anticipated expansion pack World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade over the weekend - ahead of tonight's official launch.

One major supermarket started selling the title on Saturday after taking delivery of stock, and it soon had a knock-on effect as independents and specialist games stores put the title on shelves to defend their positions in a cutthroat market.

The official launch of the game takes place at midnight tonight in four locations across Europe, including HMV's flagship store on London's Oxford Street.

Although the broken street date may be a logistical headache for publisher VU Games and distributor Centresoft, it's not likely to dampen spirits at the official launch. Blizzard designer Jon LeCraft will be on hand to greet the crowd and sign copies of the expansion pack, while fans are being encouraged to dress in WOW costumes.

Blizzard announced last week that World of Warcraft now has over 8 million subscribers, with over 1.5 million of those based in European territories.

Street date agreements are a common arrangement between publisher, distributor and retail to co-ordinate the release of a game on the same day across a territory. As a general rule, new software in the UK goes on sale on a Friday, but special exceptions are made for companies planning to turn the release of a high profile game into an event.

VU Games had no comment to make at the time of going to press.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.