November 28th is a date that pop culture retailers might want to mark on their calendars, because it marks the beginning of a challenging couple of months for brick and mortar. The first expansion for Blizzard's World of Warcraft MMORPG, Burning Crusade, streets that date, the first new release for the game since its launch two years ago. With players going back 'on the pipe' for a few months as they try out the new game, it's likely that retailers will once again notice customers disappearing for weeks or months at a time.
Although the impact of MMORPG growth, particularly of World of Warcraft, has been most evident in the game category (see 'The Death of Hobby Gaming?'), comic and other pop culture retailers have also noticed the impact on their customers.
On the positive side, there's a lot more real world product that can be sold to World of Warcraft fans than there was at the time of the original game release, including Upper Deck's upcoming World of Warcraft TCG (see 'World of Warcraft -- the Best of Times'), the Tokyopop manga, White Wolf's RPG, and FFG's board game.