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Posts with tag business

Mike Morhaime speaks at D.I.C.E. 08

Blizzard Entertainment logoThe D.I.C.E. Summit's official site describes the event, currently taking place in Las Vegas, as a meeting of "the video game industry's most influential leaders," so of course you know Blizzard's there.'s coverage of Mike Morhaime's presentation today doesn't reveal anything too earth-shattering about the company or the World of Warcraft. It's about the same thing we've heard from him in the past, but hey, if the presentation isn't broke, don't fix it, right?

It's still good to hear that Blizzard's on the right track, of course, and it's actually amazing that even with Mike Morhaime about to get his eighth boss, Blizzard's stayed pretty consistent on quality and dependability, as almost anyone who's had to switch bosses can tell you. But it looks like that, even with the Activision merger, we can expect the same tradition of long development cycles leading to quality games, which is, if familiar news, also comforting news.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

MMO players make great leaders

Do you think that playing World of Warcraft has given you leadership skills? A study done by IBM and Seriosity claims:

Hundreds of thousands of players -- sometimes millions -- interact daily in highly complex virtual environments. These players self-organize, develop skills, and settle into various roles. Leaders emerge that are capable of recruiting, organizing, motivating, and directing large groups of players towards a common goal.

Of course, IBM and Seriosity are attempting to sell MMO-inspired business solutions, but the study itself is interesting even to those of us who aren't in the market. In it, IBM and Seriosity suggest that within MMOs, players need to organize in order to accomplish goals -- and the skills of the player who organizes your guild's raids are no different from a manager in a traditional office environment.

Inside Blizzard's plans, past and future

Wandering Goblin has a cool piece up entitled "25 Things You Didn't Know About WoW." Now, it's not really titled correctly, because many Blizzard fans will at least know a few of the things, and the truth is that they're not all about WoW anyway. But it is interesting reading, especially if you aren't super familiar with the background behind the Blue.

Fr'instance, when WoW released, Mike Morhaime says that every available employee was working on it. And production on Burning Crusade started about six months after that, when Blizzard determined that WoW was "stable." Other interesting tidbits (specifically from the recent WWI) include the fact that China is WoW's biggest market (people there pay by the hour, not by the month), and that Blizzard expects WoW to last them at least 10 years. So we may still be grinding murlocs in 2014.

It's also interesting that Blizzard says they don't plan budget limits for games-- either they're going to make a good game, or they don't bother making the game at all. Most companies probably wouldn't have ditched Starcraft: Ghost so late in the process, but Blizzard seems totally and completely committed to releasing a great game or not releasing a game at all. Interesting tactic, but then again it's worked for them so far.

[ via ]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items

Vivendi profiting from WoW; in other news, Pope Catholic

Vivendi is certainly raking in the cash from its subsidiary Blizzard -- the company has recorded a 12.1% boost in profit for Q2 2006, and attributes much of it to WoW's phenomenal success. This isn't exactly news -- Vivendi has been reporting continual increases on last year as WoW has grown -- but it's something to think about as a player.

I frequently see comments on forums and in general channels along the lines of "Blizzard are making loads of money, why don't they fix our servers/add new content/pay attention to me?". It's certainly true that Blizzard and Vivendi are profiting from WoW, but how many corners are being cut in order to announce new profit highs?

Even if Blizzard are doing all they can with the vast sums of money available, having players who think they are doing nothing with it is bad communication. These days, when Blizzard say they are aware of a problem and working to fix it, few of us believe it.

Filed under: Blizzard

Blizzard on WoW's success

Greg over at the Guardian Gamesblog has been chatting with Itzik Ben Bassat, VP of Business Development for Blizzard, about WoW's success in Europe and worldwide. He hints at possible console versions:

Consoles will become increasingly important to the online world and obviously as a leading company in the online world we would like to use the great tools that the 360 and PS3 offer to bring Blizzard quality to console owners. There is nothing confirmed yet though.

Also, more hints on future development:

At the moment we are not announcing anything but we have several projects concerning the three worlds (Starcraft, Diablo and Warcraft) that we will announce when we feel comfortable that they match the quality of our previous games.

Intriguing stuff.

[Fanart by Ralf van der Hoeven of Holland.]

Filed under: Blizzard

Virtual Networking in WoW

ZDNet has a video report today on a group of CEO's and venture capitalists who have taken their business into the virtual realm, holding meetings & networking in World of Warcraft. The piece doesn't cover much that we haven't heard on the subject before, but it's a good example of the growth of virtual worlds & the directions they might take in the future. Alas, ZDNet doesn't have one of those nifty embedable video players, so click here to see the show...

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

Vivendi Games earnings see 109% increase

According to Next Generation, World of Warcraft is a nice little cash cow for publisher Vivendi. With first-quarter earnings of $30m this year, an increase of 109% from the same period last year, Vivendi's financials have beaten analyst expectations.

A report from Vivendi says that "this dramatic improvement was driven by a growth in revenues, with an increased proportion relating to the higher margin of World of Warcraft business". While increased development costs are also cited, it seems clear that a fair amount of the money pouring into Vivendi's pockets is staying there.

While players suffer from server and infrastructure problems, is this entirely fair? Well, publishers don't get into the MMO business to make losses. Without seeing a complete breakdown of where our subscription money is going, we're not placed to judge.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Business Lessons in World of Warcraft

While some wonder if we're learning the right things from WoW, others wonder if we aren't paying attention to the right things - specifically how World of Warcraft can teach us how to work together in a business environment.  Tech entrepreneur Joi Ito (whom we've mentioned before) spoke this weekend at the ScreenBurn Beta Festival on the lessons businesses might pick up from managing a Warcraft guild.  I personally have to wonder why Warcraft is chosen as the example when any multi-player game can have the same teamwork and guild management issues - perhaps its massive popularity is just starting to make these parallels obvious as business-oriented people are pulled into the game world.

Update: Ito has a lengthy blog post discussing the topic, as well.  Good reading!

Filed under: Guilds

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