Aion preorders near 400,000

NCsoft claims title for "biggest MMO release of the year," as advance purchases of online game close on milestone in advance of September 22 launch.

Even without its North American release, Aion: Tower of Eternity has been yielding dividends for massively multiplayer online role-playing game company NCsoft. Following its late-2008 launch in Asia, the game has pushed the South Korean publishing house to respective 315 percent and 451 percent profit windfalls over the past two quarters. Now, it appears as if Aion's sales popularity will extend across the Pacific Ocean, as well.

Perhaps the most influential preorder incentive: not being bludgeoned by a flying man wielding a club.

NCsoft said today that Aion preorders have nearly reached the 400,000-unit marker in advance of the game's September 22 launch for the PC in North America. According to the publisher, the milestone gives Aion the right to claim the title of "biggest MMO release of the year."

Unlike 2008, which saw the launch of big-name MMOGs such as Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, 2009 has been relatively light for the massively multiplayer online market. Beyond Aion, Cryptic Studios' Champions Online is arguably the highest-profile MMOG out this year, with other titles in the genre including Icarus Games' Fallen Earth and Vogster's shooter CrimeCraft.

In an effort to encourage preorders, NCsoft is offering advance purchasers a number of incentives. Those who pick up Aion before launch will be able to preselect which server they play on. Prepurchasers will also be able to begin playing the game on September 20, two days before its official launch and retail availability. Preorders are available through NCsoft's online store as well as from traditional brick-and-mortar outlets such as GameStop and Best Buy.

For more on the game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Aion.

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