In Anaheim California, BlizzCon is in full swing and Chris Metzen, one of the lead designers for Blizzard Entertainment, took the stage to announce that Cataclysm, the hugely anticipated upcoming expansion for World of Warcraft will be available for digital download.

As this is Blizzard’s next large scale release, it is expected to break the previous sales record that were set. The World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade expansion sold 2.4 million in the first 24 hours and the Wrath of the Lich King expansion sold 2.8 million in the first 24 hours. It is no surprise that Blizzard will take a page from Starcraft II’s book and go with digital downloads as well as physical media.

Starcraft II had great success with the downloadable sales, and there is no reason that Cataclysm shouldn’t expect the same results. With 12 million subscribers – most of whom are anticipated to purchase this upcoming expansion on or shortly after release – if only 1% buy it digitally, that is still 120,000 copies sold instantly, and without the need for pressing CD’s.

We don’t yet know how, if at all, this will effect sales of the coveted Collector’s Edition, or if those wanting the collectors edition might have a digital download options also, but my guess is that Blizzard might have something in mind. With the hype machine in full swing, the demand for these limited release versions of the expansion is growing thanks to BlizzCon and Cataclysm’s opening cinamatic.

A lot of hardcore fans already pre-ordered copies and are locked into lining up for a midnight release. If digital downloads are, however, the president for the future then it’s safe to expect most gamers to grab the next expansion digitally.

Do you think this good news? Will this change how you purchase Blizzard games from now on? Let us know in the comments!

Cataclysm is set to release December 7th, 2010 for PC and Mac.

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