"Hundreds of thousands" of people have already paid in full for - pre-purchased - Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet has revealed.
Exactly how many sales "hundreds of thousands" represents wasn't specified. At least 100,000, presumably. Perhaps more than 200,000, given the plurality of "hundreds". Yet, however "hundreds of thousands" is interpreted, it's indicative of success.
Bear in mind that the cheapest edition of Guild Wars 2, the Digital Edition, costs Ł49.99. The Digital Deluxe Edition costs Ł64.99, and the Collector's Edition costs Ł129.99.
The benefits of pre-purchasing ahead of launch (date still TBA 2012) are access to all Guild Wars 2 beta weekends, a three-day head start on the live servers and a Hero's Band item for your character.
The first of these pre-purchase beta weekends took place during the last weekend of April. And it was in reference to this that ArenaNet co-founder Mike O'Brien delivered the first indication of Guild Wars 2 player numbers.
"The other week we hosted our first Beta Weekend Event," he wrote on the ArenaNet blog, "when hundreds of thousands of players who pre-purchased Guild Wars 2 got their first chance to play the game.
"This was a huge milestone for ArenaNet; with no NDAs and no press embargoes, the beta version of Guild Wars 2 would have to stand on its own before the full force of the internet."
"I think it's safe to say," he added, "that the response was overwhelming in more ways than one."
"We're also working on server capacity to make sure that we're prepared for the even greater flood of players who will participate in the next Beta [Weekend Event]."
Mike O'Brien, co-founder, ArenaNet
The number of pre-purchasers "far exceeded our expectations", he said. ArenaNet had to temporarily suspend the game from sale in the US to avoid taking on more people than the beta servers could handle.
But, admitted O'Brien, "In the end that wasn't enough, and even with 48 worlds we didn't have enough server capacity to meet the huge demand."
He added: "This was definitely a real beta, designed to find problems, gather player input and learn what work still needs to be done before we ship the game. We've listened to your feedback and we're making some important improvements to the game for the next Beta Weekend Event."
ArenaNet hasn't said when that beta weekend will be, but expects participation numbers to be even higher. Mike O'Brien said the team is "working on server capacity to make sure that we're prepared for the even greater flood of players who will participate in the next Beta [Weekend Event]".
A stress test - a kind of beta - will take place on Monday (14th May) evening to try out some of these changes. Pre-purchasers are invited to take part, and will be able to use characters created during the late-April Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event.
The other way "the response was overwhelming" for Mike O'Brien was in the general reaction to the Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event. Eurogamer delivered its own thoughts in a Guild Wars 2 preview.