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Posts with tag activision-blizzard

Mike Morhaime: Real names will not be required on official Blizzard forums

In a move that is sure to generate just as much discussion as the initial decision itself, Mike Morhaime, co-founder and CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, has released a statement that says "real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums."

Morhaime says that Blizzard has been "constantly monitoring the feedback" given by the community and that they are "driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games."

The other upgrades to the forums will still apply, such as rating posts up or down and conversation threading.

This will, no doubt, make many members of the community quite happy.

The full statement (updated) after the break.

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Filed under: News items

Rumor: Blizzard employees' real life names will not appear on the Real ID forums [Updated]

Recently a few forum goers have posted that they've been in touch with Blizzard phone representatives and have heard from them that Blizzard employee's real-life names will actually not be appearing on the new Real ID forums.

So here's what we know:
  • Bashiok / Drysc posted his real life name yesterday and had his privacy violated by people posting maps to his house, his parents' names and (potentially incorrect) cell phone numbers.
  • We have seen multiple reports of WoW players who have called up Blizzard's support line and spoken with representatives who've told them blues will no longer be using their real names in the new forums.
  • Josh, a Blizzard phone rep, said that Blizzard employees "cannot risk having their personal lives compromised by in-game issues."
  • Blizzard blue representative Rygarius locked, but did not delete nor deny, a thread on this.
  • WoW.com has emailed PR contacts within Blizzard for comment, and has not heard anything back.
So there you have it. It's a pretty solid rumor at this point. The known facts speak for themselves.

Update: Wryxian is referring people back to the original blue post language about the change. However, we're still hearing from phone bank representatives that Blizzard has changed its mind about blue posters.

Update #2: According to Nethaera, they're going to stick with their original plan and have blue posters use their real names. As to why other parts of Blizzard are saying something different (WoW.com has verified what other parts of Blizzard has said), it appears they're having some internal communication issues.

Filed under: Rumors

Blizzard's responses on the Real ID situation

Blizzard has provided three updates to Real ID news that broke today. One of them we reported on earlier (the fact that our real life names will not be displayed retroactively). The other two are about parental controls and Blizzard's attentiveness to the response.

We provide all three responses after the break.

If you're interested in contributing to the discussion on Blizzard's forums, you may do so at the 11,000+ thread. Don't create a new thread though, it'll just be locked. And try not to fall into the trap of responding too harshly... Blizzard has been banning a lot of people today.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Activision quietly restructures senior management

An article from the LA Times reports that Activision Blizzard Inc. has quietly made some internal changes to senior management and internal organization within Activision: one focused on the military game Call of Duty, another handling internally owned properties like Guitar Hero and the Tony Hawk series, and a third handling licensed properties.

Why these changes weren't relayed to investors or the press is still unknown, but it's likely due to the fact that they could be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Activision has seen flagging sales for two of its former cash-cow franchises, Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero, and a recent very public scuffle with Call of Duty creators Jason West and Vince Zampanella following their ejection from their positions as heads of Activision's Infinity Ward studio painted the studio in a negative light with gamers. This kind of restructuring could point to turmoil within the company, an image that an industry juggernaut like Activision would want to avoid.

So, what do these changes mean for Blizzard, and for World of Warcraft? Activision got a hold of us to say "nothing at all" -- the restructuring was for Activision's side of the business only. It's important to remember that Activision-Blizzard is an umbrella company that contains two separate divisions: Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment. Activision restructured into three different units, but Blizzard remains independent.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Cataclysm release confirmed for 2010 in Activision Blizzard conference call

Just in case we weren't completely sure of it yet, Activision Blizzard confirmed in today's quarterly earnings call that World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will be released in 2010. For general Blizzard fans, another game was given a 2010 release date: StarCraft II, which will begin its beta phase within a month. As was pointed out during the conference call, it has been twelve years since Blizzard released two major titles in the same calendar year.

The Cataclysm news is in line with everything we've heard so far, including Mike Morhaime's comments during BlizzCon that the expansion has a targeted release date of 2010. Things seem to be moving along right on schedule, but remember that this is Blizzard. Things could change at any time, so I wouldn't start preparing for leveling vacations yet. Actually, you probably shouldn't do that at all. It's kind of silly.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Bobby Kotick didn't think Blizzard was worth $7 million in '96

Have you ever looked at something new on the auction house and thought "Who would pay a thousand gold for that," only to find that months later the item has skyrocketed in price and you missed a golden opportunity to pick it up on the cheap? Activision kingpin Bobby Kotick might make the same analogy. If he played video games, I mean.

The Escapist clued us in to this little story: back in 1995, Kotick was eating lunch with some folks from Davidson & Associates, and they told him that they had just bought up-and-coming software developer Blizzard Entertainment for the tidy sum of seven million dollars -- a number that a baffled Kotick believed to be ridiculous. At the time, Blizzard's claim to fame was Warcraft: Orcs vs. Humans, and ... that's pretty much it, save for a few one-off games like Blackthorne and The Lost Vikings. Kotick called them nothing more than a "contract developer" and remarked that they weren't worth seven million bucks.

Of course, later that year, Blizzard released Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, which catapulted them into gaming history forever. Thirteen years later, in 2008, Kotick (and Activision) paid seven billion dollars to acquire Blizzard. For those not into mathematics, that's one thousand times more than what Davidson & Associates paid.

Well, he was right about one thing. They definitely weren't worth seven million bucks. He just didn't know how right he was at the time.

Filed under: News items, Interviews

Activision-Blizzard makes lots of money, no update on Blizzard earnings

Activision-Blizzard has released their third-quarter numbers for the financial year of 2009, and as you might expect for the company in charge of Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, and World of Warcraft, business is brisk. They were expecting to bring in around $700 million, and ended up pulling in around $50 million more than that. It's good, we guess, to be the king.

Blizzard, in particular, laid claim to three of the top five selling PC games in North America on the good side, and on the bad side, Activision acknowledges in the press release that they're happy to have WoW back online in China, but a little worried about the troubles it's seen over there lately.

Strangely enough, there is no information in the earnings about how much money World of Warcraft has pulled in for the company, or any updates about subscriber numbers. Usually, that gets at least a mention, so maybe, with subscribers certainly down in China, Activision-Blizzard wants to keep that under their hat for now.

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Filed under: Items, Blizzard, News items, Making money

Night Elf in Guitar Hero 5


This is one of the many reasons why I really enjoy this job: one day, you're talking turkey with a psychologist who's dealing with serious addiction issues, and the next, you're writing about Night Elves in Guitar Hero 5. Personally, I prefer Harmonix's new Beatles game, but there's no denying that the character customization system in our very own Activision-Blizzard's Guitar Hero 5 is extremely complex. So much so that Artair on Doomhammer was actually able to make a pretty respectable-looking Night Elf male with the system.

Which really just makes it much more ridiculous that this thing could be playing onstage with none other than Kurt Cobain. But we'll let that one go -- if you've found a way to get any other Warcraft characters jamming in Guitar Hero (or any other game with an in-depth character creator), be sure to send us a tip and some pics.

Filed under: Night Elves, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Humor, Screenshots, NPCs, Fan art

Activision-Blizzard and their financial future

Barron's has a long article up about Blizzard's corporate overlords at Activision-Blizzard, and as is usual with most pieces of Activision news, people will probably see in it what they want to see. Those who think Bobby Kotick is just a money-grubbing exploiter will find more fuel for their firey fanboy rage: apparently he's a follower of Las Vegas casino entrepreneur Steve Wynn, and is modeling some of Activision-Blizzard's business plan off of that guy, Shareholders, however, will probably be thrilled. In terms of a purely financial sense, Activision-Blizzard is apparently one of the shinest futures around, with Kotick bragging that videogames will eclipse film and TV in terms of moneymaking in just a few years.

From our perspective, as longtime fans and players of Blizzard's games, the most interesting thing I see here is that Barron's makes no distinction at all between Activision and Blizzard any more -- the Activision-Blizzard company, according to the article, is equally responsible for both the Starcraft and Transformers franchises. Obviously, as gamers, we see a huge distinction between those two: one is a classic, storied, much-loved videogame series, and the other is a cash-in on a license that's panned everywhere but the box office. But for the financial guys, they're just both properties of Activision-Blizzard. That's not to say that our Blizzard is entirely lost (anyone who was at BlizzCon last week knows that's not true), but it is a sign that the merger is no longer news. From an outsider perspective, Guitar Hero and World of Warcraft are just two cash cows from the same company.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Economy, NPCs

Blizzard on the Battle.net update


Activision-Blizzard held their second quarter conference call yesterday, and in addition to addressing the Starcraft II delay, both Mike Morhaime and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick shared some insight into what the revamped Battle.net will be like. The brand new system (which is currently up and working, albeit in a very skeleton form so far) will have "social networking features, cross-game communication, [and] unified account management," in addition to features that will let players "share experiences" with each other online (we'd presume that means things like screenshot galleries and leaderboards, but who knows?). Kotick also spoke up, and compared the service to that other popular online community, Xbox Live.

Blizzard is still saying the new Battle.net will come in conjunction with the new Starcraft, so we'll have to keep an eye out for them both in the first half of 2010. It'll be interesting to see what other features Blizzard adds in, and exactly what form features like "cross-game communication" take -- do they mean actual in-game messaging across games, or just status updates and messages on a social network? Kotick's comparison to Xbox Live raises some questions, too, as that's a much wider service than you'd think Battle.net would be. But then again, the guy's a CEO, and all CEOs have a tendency to overestimate exactly what their company is doing. Like most of Blizzard's upcoming releases, we'll have to wait and see on Battle.net.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Account Security

StarCraft II delayed to 2010

In an official press release, Blizzard announced today that StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the first installment of the Starcraft II trilogy, previously indicated to be released in the last quarter of this year, is delayed to the first half of 2010.

The release cited the massive amount of work necessary to overhaul Blizzard's online matchmaking service, Battle.net, as the main culprit for the delay. Since the new BNet will be part of every new Blizzard game from here on in -- including World of Warcraft, as players with BNet accounts have seen -- it's vital that the service be working properly before the game's release.

StarCraft II was never officially dated -- only an on-the-sly indication -- and multiple financial sites have reported the now-official release date as the first half of 2010 following this announcement and Activision-Blizzard's quarterly financial report.

What does this mean for the WoW player? Well, it means that if you were expecting the focus of BlizzCon, or one of the focuses of BlizzCon, to be a StarCraft II release date, you'd be incorrect.

Gives you pause when you consider what else they could be announcing instead, eh?

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Mike Morhaime and Paul Sams accept Guinness World Record awards

Apparently there were a few Blizzard blokes at E3 last week, even though we didn't see them wandering the floor at all. Mike Morhaime and Paul Sams were both there to accept their awards for world records from Guinness after making it into the 2009 Gaming edition. World of Warcraft picked up a record for the most popular MMORPG in the world (with, as you probably know, 12 million players), and Starcraft gained recognition for being the best-selling PC strategy game, with 9.5 million copies sold worldwide. Neither of these awards are really that much of a surprise -- both games have already garnered tons of other awards, and both games are already squarely in the pantheon of the best and biggest PC games ever sold. But being recognized is always nice, we're sure.

They honored a number of other extremely popular games and services as well, including two big Activision Blizzard titles: Call of Duty 4 was recognized for being the most-played online video game, and Guitar Hero was recognized for being the best-selling rhythm game series (though Red Octane, the game's original publisher, was honored, and they've only recently been acquired by the Activision overlords).

Congrats to all the award winners, as if they even needed it. Something tells us the millions and millions of dollars in revenue from all of these games was probably a nicer reward than Guinness recognition. Just a guess.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

The Daily Quest: Forsooth and what not!


We here at WoW.com are on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.
Notice how we've linked Big Hit Box a lot this week? It's because they're producing great content for the community! If you're writing compelling content or come across a great site or blog post, please let us know!

Filed under: The Daily Quest

Breanni of WarcraftPets.com closes store, posts apology to Blizzard

The amazing Breanni of WarcraftPets.com, once loved so much by Blizzard that he got immortalized in the game, has apparently gotten another of Blizzard's C&Ds. First, we saw iPhone apps pulled off of the App Store with what seemed like legal action, and then we heard that webcomic Shakes and Fidget was contacted by Blizzard legal, and now Breanni has pulled down his merchandise store, as well as posted a "formal apology" to Blizzard. Breanni doesn't say exactly what happened, but he says that he "became aware" that what he was selling was violating Blizzard's trademark policy, and calls the store a "lapse in judgment," and says that he hopes to "continue to recieve Blizzard's blessing." It's almost like hearing one side of the conversation -- we don't know what Blizzard said to him (if anything), but he definitely sounds spooked.

This is a slightly different issue from the other C&Ds we've seen -- Breanni was making money from selling what we presume were actual images of Blizzard's copyrights and trademarks, so a store like that is pretty plainly in violation of copyright law (Mania's Pets calendar, for example, uses fan art rather than actual screenshots). But what's interesting here is, if they did contact him, why Blizzard has decided to do this now, and why they've only moved against Breanni. There are certainly lots of other places to find Blizzard art printed on products for sale. We're not suggesting that Blizzard should just let it all go, obviously, but why now?

We've had requests for comment out to Blizzard ever since the first few iPhone apps were pulled off of the App Store about all of this recent C&D action, and we've added this one to the stack. If we hear anything back from them, we'll let you know.

[Thanks, John E!]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, News items, Fan art

The NBA playoffs, presented by World of Warcraft


This isn't exactly shocking news (this just in: Blizzard has an advertising budget!) but it is worth noting: Mark C. was watching the NBA playoffs the other day and lo and behold, guess which familiar logo appeared during a halftime sponsorship. Apparently the announcer even read off the name of the game during a tag. I don't think Mark is exactly right about it being one of the "first non-sports games being advertised in a sporting event" (I'm pretty sure I've seen one of those Killzone 2 or Call of Duty spots during my Cubs games lately), but it's the first time we've seen WoW promoted outside of the usual TV spots.

It's interesting to note, too, that it's being presented during the NBA playoffs as well -- I've seen more WoW twitterers tweet about the hockey playoffs lately than the basketball equivalent. Then again, Mark also says he saw it on the NBA TV subscription service, so maybe it was targeted at people who are willing to subscribe to a digital service. And just for the heck of it, we'll also point out that it was an LA (Blizzard is in Anaheim) vs. Houston (Blizzard also has an HQ in Austin) game, so maybe it was geographically targeted as well.

But this will probably not be the last time you see WoW in this context. Keep those eyes open.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard

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