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Posts with tag businessweek

BusinessWeek thinks corporate execs can learn from WoW


In the midst of recruiters being told not to send WoW players to job interviews, BusinessWeek wrote an interesting piece about how World of Warcraft promotes innovation. The articles examines how Blizzard had designed a game that could probably be mimicked by any corporation looking to innovate. It's an interesting analysis of the game, with BusinessWeek saying that its players are motivated to achieve and solve tasks.

Although some readers counter that the achievement-oriented environment is normal for MMOs, one key insight is how WoW reduces barriers to entry and early advancement. More than most MMOs, World of Warcraft is easy to access -- it's easy to level and there are no harsh penalties for dying (unlike some MMOs where death results in a sharp XP loss, sometimes to the point of losing levels). In fact, some might even say that WoW is a little too casual-friendly. Even then, there's a lot in the game that drives people to perform.

The article recommends that corporate leaders take a look at the game and see how it creates a motivational environment. It even goes so far as to laud the gamer disposition, something that players have or develop. It's certainly a refreshing counterpoint to the idea that gamers (or WoW players, in particular) "cannot give 100%" to their jobs. So even though some companies might think that WoW is bad for their employees, BusinessWeek says it just might be good for the bosses.

Thanks, Cahu!

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

BusinessWeek inside the world of Blizzard

BusinessWeek spent some time examining the indisputable success of our Blizzard overlords. At the very beginning of the article, BusinessWeek credits Blizzard's mastery of gaming to the often-spoken, often-hated "when it's ready." In a quote from Jay Wilson, Blizzard says that if "a product isn't good enough, we cancel it."

The BusinessWeek article talks a lot about the overwhelmingly involved culture of Blizzard employees. The developers play their own games, both on the clock and off the clock. Dedicated "strike teams" spend lunch cruising the games' latest builds. Players in beta provide instant feedback, which executives and designers hungrily consume to make the best possible decisions. And if a game isn't deemed "fun enough," it's sent off to black-can land, where it will never see the light of day.

According to the article, though, Blizzard still plans on releasing a new expansion every year. This is in addition to Starcraft II and Diablo III. While we can obviously expect these games to show up "when they're ready," it paints a very active, competitive future for the Activision Blizzard group. The article does credit a new milestone for our beloved World of Warcraft. According to BusinessWeek, the subscriber base is now nearly 11 million. With the Recruit-a-Friend benefits, I hope we see this number grow to 12 million by the end of the year.

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

Rob Pardo talks content with Businessweek

Recently Blizzard's Rob Pardo sat down with Businessweek. He mostly talked about the future of the game, the success of The Burning Crusade, and the creative process. Since reading his interview, I have spent a lot of time mulling over what he said. The first thing that stuck out in my mind was his likening the MMO to a television series. "We're developing episodes just like Lost or Seinfeld," he commented, "We're always trying to come up with something that's true to the theory; that's true to the content that people love; but that is new."

I never had the chance to look at the development cycle like this. In some ways it explains the company's drive to constantly bring us new content rather than connecting old dots (Uldum anyone?). The designers are looking forward, and as they mentioned at Blizzcon in 2005, more portals will be opening, new worlds for us to explore. And we as gamers are ravenous for this new content. Our expectations are high, and the company is there to try and satiate our ever growing appetite. What this also means is that there is a story arch with which they are working. I know Lost is working on a seven-year story arch. Does this mean that we can expect a grander plotline connecting the expansions together? I for one am eager to find out.

I haven't really thought about the game in these terms. My previous experience with MMOs (*cough* Anarchy Online *cough*) has taught me that games are fairly linear. Yes, there might be a new world connected to the old one, but the story pretty much stays the same. Since playing World of Warcraft I have had to reinvent my view of the MMO, and now I, too am one of those ravenous players dying for new stories and new characters to love or hate. This interview has made me wonder where we are going with the next expansions. So I'd love to hear what you think. Beyond the proposed Northrend and Emerald Dream expansions, where would you like to go as the World of Warcraft universe expands into new worlds?

Filed under: Blizzard, Expansions, Interviews

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