Blockbuster movies have leveraged tie-ins to physical toys, food, clothing, and collectible glasses ever since the first Star Wars movie demonstrated that these additional products could be formidable sources of revenue. Video games, in contrast, have tended to get the short end of the stick — the list of great video game movie adaptations isn’t a long read.
Blizzard, in contrast, has come up with a method of tying the upcoming World of Warcraft movie directly into the already-existing World of Warcraft game. First, existing players who just log into the game between May 25 and August 1 will receive new transmogrification (transmogs for short). These are visual skins that make your weapons or armor look different, but don’t actually change anything about your character’s in-game performance.
The bigger prize is the free copy of World of Warcraft that Blizzard is handing out to anyone who buys tickets for the movie. WoW is currently $19.99 for a version of the game that includes all previous content and expansion packs with a maximum level cap of 100 and hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of content. Put differently, Blizzard is willing to give you a $20 game if you go and see a movie for significantly less than that.
There are, as always, a few caveats. The above promotion is for the United States and will be offered through Regal, United Artists, and Edwards Theaters locations. Digital copies of the game will be available “while supplies last” (there’s no word on exactly why the supply of a digital game would ever run out). Other countries are receiving various promotions of their own — Brazilians can receive a free copy of WoW if they order tickets from Ingresso.com, and Australian and New Zealand customers can score a ticket by buying at a participating HOYTS cinema.
One oddity about the promotion that we’ve asked Blizzard to clarify is whether or not a month of game time is included. On the official Blizzard page, the US and Australia/New Zealand rewards only mention the free copy of the game, while the Brazilian page specifically says that the game includes a 30-day free subscription. This has always been the norm with any MMO; your first month of play is always bundled in the base game. We’ll clarify whether or not game time is included for players when we hear back from Blizzard.
Blizzard isn’t the first company to test this kind of packaging, but it’s offering a much better deal than what Ubisoft has scraped together. Ubisoft is offering a variety of “packages” for its upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie, but it’s also charging money.
$15 gets you the movie and a digital copy of the script, $25 gets the aforementioned gift plus a T-shirt, the $40 tier adds a cheap watch, $120 and you get a hoodie (but no T-shirt or watch), $600 and you get a premium scaled statue of the Assassin (no word on statue size), and for a gobsmacking $1,200 you get a 15th century crossbow replica that probably can’t actually fire crossbow bolts.
Basically, Ubisoft found a way to replicate the worst parts of platform-specific DLC in physical form. Between the two approaches, Blizzard wins hands-down. Given the choice between a good movie with a likely terrible game and a good movie tied to a good game (and yes, I accept that not everyone likes WoW), I’ll take this kind of tie-in over the reverse.