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Posts with tag activision

Pardo says Blizzard still not interested in bringing WoW to consoles

Blizzard has never been keen to put WoW on consoles -- while there have always been rumors, they've never bothered showing much interest. And in a new interview with IndustryGamers, Blizzard's Rob Pardo tells us why: the controller issue remains a problem (it's certainly possible to map WoW onto a controller, but not yet in any way Blizzard would approve of), and modern consoles have come up with even more problems of their own. A hard drive, says Pardo, would be pretty much required, since WoW is up to around 10gb so far, but even the Xbox 360 (which now commonly allows game installs on the HD) still doesn't guarantee players will have that much space available. And Pardo says that while they have been in talks with Microsoft about what the two companies can do together, he says he's wary of the patching process over there -- it's not exactly as quick as they'd like.

So it remains unlikely that we'll ever see WoW in its current form on any console systems -- while there's probably lots of money to be made, the game was designed from the ground up to be a PC game, and there are still too many issues flying around (and it's likely too late in the game's lifetime) for Blizzard to try and make the jump. But that next-gen MMO...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Hardware

WoW bundled with WildTangent software on new PCs

WildTangent is a company that started up around ten years ago (they originally made game plugins for Winamp, if you remember that) that's recently gotten a reputation for "bloatware." They've made deals with PC manufacturers like Dell, HP, and Acer to bundle in their software on the harddrive when you buy it. (Most users familiar with PCs find these software bundles more of a nuisance than anything else.) But nevertheless, WildTangent claims up to 20 million users worldwide, and they continue to make deals, the most recent one being with none other than Blizzard. According to a press release on their website [PDF], World of Warcraft's trial downloader will now be included with all installs of WildTangent's ORB software, which means that whenever you buy a new computer from a dealer WildTangent has hooked up with, there'll be a program already installed on your PC that will let you download and play World of Warcraft, among the many other games WildTangent has already included.

This likely isn't targeted at you, dear audience -- odds are that you've already got the discs for WoW, and if you do buy a new PC, you'll probably still delete WildTangent's app and install WoW yourself. Instead, it's a stab at picking up new subscribers -- people who might not already know about World of Warcraft or PCs may see the icon on their new desktop, double click it, and find Azeroth for the first time. The press release even notes that WoW subscribers still in their trial month are counted as subscribers, so odds are this is a random attempt to pick up a few more subscribers from people who aren't willing to go get the game themselves.

There's one more thing to note here: Activision isn't mentioned at all.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Hardware

Ten things WoW players should know from E3


Blizzard, as you probably already know, was not at E3 this year (officially, anyway -- they did have at least a few folks wandering the exhibit halls). But that doesn't mean there wasn't anything for you WoW fans: both Elizabeth Harper and I were there from WoW.com working with our sister sites Joystiq and Massively, and as WoW fans, we saw plenty of awesome games and demos that you should know about.

So even if you haven't been paying attention to E3 information on other sites, here's a quick wrapup of ten different things you should know from last week's big convention if you're a WoW player. There were no big expansion announcements or hints at future Blizzard releases -- they're saving all of that for BlizzCon this year. But there were a few games to watch, a few booths to marvel at, and a few trends to notice that you'll want to be aware of even if you're spending most or all of your gaming time in Azeroth. Hit the break for the first four.

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

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

[1.Local]: Questions, answers from our readers

Reader comments – ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

The comments section is usually a cacophony of voices seeking to agree or disagree with the main post, discredit previous commentors or make some pointless point ("first" -- /facepalm). This week, readers pulled together in a more truly interactive relationship, offering up questions, tips, insights and well thought-out suggestions and ideas. Take a trip through the pickings this week on ways to make professions more interesting, more Star Trek Easter eggs, getting real about DPS, copyright issues, snappier headlines ... and even a post devoted exclusively to guild and player recruitment notices.

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Guilds, Blizzard, Features, Raiding, Bosses, [1.Local]

Activision passes on PC Gaming Alliance membership

It could be pretty easily argued that Blizzard is one of the biggest PC gaming development houses in the business today -- they consistently own both the sales charts and the playtime stats in terms of PC gaming. But Activision-Blizzard has quietly confirmed that they've passed on a membership to the PC Gaming Alliance, a group that claims to be "the authoritative voice on PC gaming worldwide." Activision, for their part, says that they just couldn't justify the membership fee, and this isn't the first industry group that they've snubbed: they famously left the ESA and their big yearly conference at E3 last year.

The PCGA claims that this isn't a big setback -- despite this and a few other losses, they say their numbers have grown, and they cite a few other big still-members, including Microsoft, Nvidia, and Intel. But given how much of an influence Activsion-Blizzard is in PC gaming, it's hard to say you're the "authoritative voice" of the platform when you don't have any formal connection to the biggest developer/publisher in the industry.

What does this mean to us players? Probably nothing right now -- the PCGA is right: the loss of Activision probably won't affect their work at all. But Blizzard, for better or worse, is being steered by Activision away from the industry at large. Right now, with events like BlizzCon and a huge reputation of their own, they don't need to be tied into these industry groups. But that may not always be the case.

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

Activision-Blizzard is not Blizzard, part 2

This portion addresses questions about the merger's affect on Blizzard's day-to-day.

So if most publishers control what their developers produce, does Activision control what Blizzard does?

No, since Activision is not Blizzard's publisher.

What about in areas like support?

When I was in support at Blizzard, the only negative change I noticed in my day-to-day work post-merger was that we suddenly had an influx of terrible A-B-themed benefits program posters hung up around the office. Things may have changed since I left, but my contacts have expressed mostly positive opinions about how things are running over there.

Won't the merger result in a dip in quality of Blizzard products? Has it already?

No and no. The merger gives Blizzard the opportunity to hire more employees to produce more content while maintaining the standard of quality that we expect from Blizzard. It also allows them to keep more employees due to the new financial backing provided by the merger, which affects things like benefits and payroll.

Blizzard has stated that you can't get quality content made just by throwing money at it, but money obviously helps sometimes.

Did Activision force Blizzard to release Wrath of the Lich King during the holiday season to maximize sales?

Let me answer this with an anecdote.

Blizzard's office walls are decorated with a lot of stuff -- concept art, murals, lifesize statues of characters, and posters with Blizzard's philosophies on art and design, etc. One of these posters talks about mistakes developers make, like pushing for a holiday release when the game's not done or polished enough.

It's my belief, which is backed up by Blizzard bigwigs, that if they didn't feel the expansion was worthy for release then they wouldn't have released it when it was released.

What's up with this money-making scheme of releasing Starcraft II as three games? This is because of their post-merger greed, right?

I've been hearing this a lot lately. Even our own Mike Schramm commented that the Blizzard that let people play Warcraft 2 on Battle.net for free isn't the same Blizzard that's releasing three Starcraft II games.

This really, really confuses me. Why would anyone familiar with Blizzard's work be put off by them releasing expansions? Because that's exactly what the last two Starcraft II titles will be -- expansions. One will add the Zerg campaign and one will add the Protoss campaign, as well as likely multiplayer additions and enhancements to the experience. The single-player campaign for each game will be incredibly robust as well, with tons of in-game engine cinematics and branching events.

Devs explained to me that they had three choices once they realized the depth of the Terran campaign:

- Shorten and pare down each campaign, resulting in campaigns about as long as Warcraft III, and release it as one game.
- Make the campaigns as robust as possible and release the Protoss and Zerg campaigns in expansions.
- Put everything in on game exactly how they want it and have Starcraft II come out in 2014.

They said the the choice was obvious, and I agree. It's about delivering the player the best experience.

Won't this merger result in a lot of stupid cross-promotions?

Probably. Activision isn't known for its advertising or marketing subtlety. We dealt with it a little at work -- Activision sent us a ton of copies of Guitar Hero Aerosmith that none of us really cared about (but hey, extra Rock Band guitar, right?), as well as posters in the office with Activision desperately trying to equate our flagship properties with their licensed crap. Yes, Activision, clearly Zeratul is on the same level as the main character from Kung Fu Panda.

The best I can hope for is that we'll never see World of Warcraft advertised on KFC combo meal boxes. Blizzard seems to consider the insulation of the WoW universe important, which is why we'll likely never see in-game advertising or "Lars Umlaut <Guitar Hero>" as an NPC.

What's your personal opinion on the merger?

From a corporate perspective, it makes sense and gives Blizzard access to more funding and assets. You can see that they've begun hiring a ton of designers and other WoW-relation positions, which can only increase the amount of content we get to experience and enjoy.

From a gamer's perspective, Activision is an IP-exploiting shovelware mill run by a doddering blowhard who doesn't play games and it hurts my heart to see Blizzard's name attached to them.

On the bright side, if you look at your Wrath box, you won't see Activision's logo on it anywhere. That's more than just literal -- it's symbolic, and I hope that it stays that way for a long, long time.

If you have any specific questions about the merger that you think I can answer, you're more than welcome to email me at sacco [at] wowinsider dot com and I'll compile the questions and responses in a followup article.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Activision-Blizzard is not Blizzard

I worked at Blizzard for close to three years. During my time there I saw a lot of big things happen: the closing of the Console Division and shelfing of Starcraft Ghost, the launch of the first (and second!) World of Warcraft expansion ... and one that some people say is the biggest event in Blizzard's history, Vivendi Games' merger with Activision.

The merger was, of course, a controversial move; and, like any corporate maneuver, it's generated a lot of misunderstandings, misreporting, misinformation ... in general, it's been a flurry of mis-es. It's upsetting and frustrating to see so many people not understand what the merger means and, in turn, form stubborn opinions.

If you want to help curb ignorance and misunderstanding regarding what's going on with the merger, you're in luck. My former employment at Blizzard means I have a lot of information to share to set the record straight. Even if you're going to continue believing that Blizzard is somehow dipping in quality or in a bad way because of the merger, at least read what I have to say. It'll be worth it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Blizzard isn't going to E3 after all


So remember this story I did a few days ago about Blizzard showing up this year at E3?

Yeah, turns out it's not going to be happening after all.

While "Activision Blizzard" is going, only the Activison part will be showing up to smile for everyone. It appears the Blizzard part will be staying at home playing Wrath or tiddlywinks and sticking their tongue out at everyone, much like the girl in the picture (which I shamelessly have stolen from our sister site Joystiq who brings us this news).

But I can understand, because Blizzard really doesn't have anything to show at E3. I mean, it's not like they're making three of the hottest games on the planet or anything... Wrath? Diablo 3? StarCraft 2? Never heard of 'em.

Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard to attend E3

Activision-Blizzard (or is it Blizzard-Activision?) will be attending E3 this year from June 2nd to June 4th. E3 is also called the Electronic Entertainment Expo and features a wide variety of companies and their products. The expo is being held at the LA convention center, so it's right outside Blizzard's Irvine offices.

Activision-Blizzard didn't attend the 2008 E3. No one really knows why. But this year their attendance will be welcomed for all those going. And if you're thinking about going, you probably won't be able to – unless you work in the industry. But fear not, the Joystiq network always sends a crew out there to cover it. Our own Dan O'Halloran should be in attendance as well.

Check out our sister site Joystiq for more information.

Oh, you thought you could get away from the pet image? Haven't seen it on the site for a few months? Oh no... snap.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Is Blizzard cutting costs?

http://tobolds.blogspot.com/2009/01/cost-reduction-at-blizzard.htmlSo with all the hubbub about 3.0.8's problems, a lot of people are wondering who to blame. Activision seems to be a popular target, with people blaming them for nerfing Blizzard's famed "it's-ready-when-it's-ready" game design cycle and rushing things out the door while they're still buggy and imbalanced.

Popular MMORPG blogger Tobold is in that camp himself. In one of his latest blog posts, he theorizes that Blizzard has been cutting spending for some time now, be it because of falling stock prices or the need to move WoW team members to Diablo 3 or Starcraft 2 or simply because of the economic downturn in general.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Economy, Rumors

Activision-Blizzard stock falls

What's going on at Activision-Blizzard? Yesterday, their stock fell back down to the lowest its been since November of 2006. Even coming off of huge sales last year (they run the Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, and obviously Blizzard's World of Warcraft franchises, all of which had banner years in 2008), the stock price fell 6.5% yesterday, compared to a high in the last year of $19.28.

It's not Wrath -- the game's been selling like gold encrusted hotcakes since launch. There could be an upcoming shakeup in Activision's leadership (is Bobby K on his way out?), or it could just be that as well as Activision did this past year, the rough economy is hitting them hard, too.

At any rate, this will likely be just a bump in the road -- Activision is poised to become (if they haven't already) the biggest publisher in the game, and as you can see from this graph on their website, the stock is already back up above $9. We don't know what the reason is for this quick drop, but everything else we've seen points to a bright future for Activision-Blizzard.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Mike Morhaime wins 2008 award from OC* Business Journal

The Orange County Business Journal has awarded none other than Blizzard's own Mike Morhaime with the runner up for their Businessperson of the Year award (the main award went to some CEO of an investment company, much more boring than running a fantasy world full of orcs and elves). The Journal cite's Blizzard's huge successes in a rough financial year as reason for Morhaime's honor.

The paper isn't quite completely familiar with what Blizzard does (did you know Diablo III was "released" in June of last year? Don't know why I haven't seen it on store shelves yet!), but there are a few interesting tidbits in there for us, including the fact that WoW was so popular on its original release day that Blizzard had to bring employee copies out to their Fry's to sell them to hungry fans. And Morhaime talks a bit about Blizzard being part of Activision, and reveals the biggest change we've heard of yet since the takeover: "The big difference here is we are one step closer to the public markets. It requires that we spend more time than we used to in educating analysts and investors about Blizzard, where we used to be able to not deal with that side of the business."

So hopefully Blizzard's higherups aren't spending too much time trying to sell stock rather than making great games. He does reiterate, however, that Activision has continued to be hands off (especially as long as Blizzard is making so much money for them), so a lot of the things that fans have guessed are Activision influences are probably decisions that Blizzard themselves have already made. Still, success is success -- pretty good for a guy who started out writing test software for Western Digital. Congrats to Morhaime on the award.

*Don't call it that.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Making money, BlizzCon

Wrath sells 2.8 million in the first 24 hours

We knew it was going to be a lot, but I think the game outsold even our expectations: Blizzard has announced that the game's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, sold 2.8 million copies worldwide in the first 24 hours, and undoubtedly many more in the weekend after that (we're expecting an announcement later this month around five million in the first 30 days). That makes the game the fastest selling PC game of all time, and by far the fastest-selling expansion of all time (remember that this isn't even a complete game that's flying off the shelves). The previous record, of course, was set by the Burning Crusade, which sold 2.4 million copies during launch.

Pretty huge, but when you consider that the game has 11 million subscribers around the world, those numbers are just about right. Looks like Morhaime is on to something -- as long as they have players ready to buy the game in numbers like this, Blizzard will undoubtedly release expansions as long as they can.

Thanks, Doug!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Economy, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

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