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Interview with Paul Sams, Steelers owner


As we reported the other week, Blizzard COO Paul Sams is now co-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers (who are stepping up lately), and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hit up Mr. Sams for a quick interview about being at the intersection of Azeroth and Steeler Nation. Turns out the man who collects everything Blizzard has also been a Steelers fan since he was four years old, even though he's from California. And we were right with all of the speculation: he got connected with the Steelers management through Legendary Pictures producer Thomas Tull, and when the chance came to own part of the franchise, he jumped.

They also talk about expanding out to Carnagie Mellon University -- Blizzard has a thriving educational program in Irvine, but Sams says that they are looking to expand that, so Pittsburgh is a possibility. And finally, he says that the Warcraft movie is being scripted at the moment -- Sam Raimi will do Spider-man 4, and then it's all Azeroth for him. In the meantime, let's see about getting some of this Steelers news in the game -- even if we can't get an epic football to toss around, surely we'll at least see a Tauren somewhere named "Bill COW-her," right?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Blizzard, Humor, NPCs, Interviews

Blizzard renews TeliaSonera agreement

Blizzard has renewed their agreement with a company called TeliaSonera to provide bandwidth for them in Europe. They just made a very similar deal with AT&T for the US -- it's the bandwidth that connects their servers to the millions of connections that lead back to your computer as you play World of Warcraft. Paul Sams, Blizzard COO, says they've been pleased with the service, and that the contract renewal was for two years.

It's interesting that we've seen Blizzard keep both of these agreements intact, but we already know that they'll cancel relationships they don't see as working (with the notable example of Netease's takeover in China). Of course, there are tons of factors that go into players' connections (including this server connection as well as your own ISP, your router and computer, and a number of other facilities and stops in between), but it would seem that Blizzard is happy with the way things are going in both the EU and the US with these providers. Of course everyone's personal experiences are different, and we've certainly seen our share of connection issues, but in general, the infrastructure on the networks is in a pretty good place.

[via WorldofWar]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Paul Sams on WoW, PC game sales, and Blizzard's next challenge

Blizzard COO Paul Sams sat down with PC Retail magazine for the first time after Wrath's sales numbers have come out to talk about PC game sales in general and Blizzard's huge effect on them. First question, Sams says that no, PC gaming is not dead, and Blizzard isn't saving it. As long as people have PCs, he says, people will play games on them. If PC gaming was dead, Blizzard wouldn't be releasing Starcraft II and Diablo III -- as long as they make great games on PC, people will shell out the money to play them.

While he never does mention anything about their expectations for sales numbers (we know Wrath broke a number of records), he does reiterate what other Blizzard higherups have said: that they'll be making expansions as long as people are interested in playing them. And he says that the biggest challenge for Blizzard in the next few years will be to balance what they're doing -- they've never had more on their plate before, and they've already gotten a harsh lesson with the splitting of Starcraft II into three games. It'll be interesting to see if they can keep up the quality and popularity even while trying to work on three AAA PC titles (not to mention the unannounced MMO) at the same time.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Making money, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

Paul Sams and his Blizzard collection

The Orange County Register was all over the place yesterday -- being the hometown newspaper of Blizzard's hometown, they posted all day about the release and what Blizzard was doing for it (they've got some really good coverage of the event in Anaheim, which our own Dan O'Halloran attended as well). But perhaps most interesting is this post about Blizzard COO Paul Sams -- we haven't heard a lot from him in press before, but apparently he's a bigger Blizzard fan than any of us, with a collection of Blizzard items that includes a mint Spectral Tiger Card, Blizzard skateboards (which are apparently a licensing deal that never went through, so you can't buy those anywhere), and the second Frostmourne ever made -- we assume the first one went to Arthas.

And not all of it is Blizzard stuff -- he's got a first edition of The Count of Monte Cristo, and lots of sports memorabilia, too (but let's be honest -- a signed jersey is nothing compared to a Frostmourne. It's real.). Sams also collected his wife from Blizzard, too, apparently, and he says he'd be happy spending his whole career with the company. Sounds awesome to have someone who's such a fanboy sitting in one of your top exec positions.

Sams' favorite item, though, is probably the coolest: three drawings by the man Chris Metzen himself. That would be awesome to see. Check out all of Sams' collection in the OC Register's gallery.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King, Fan art

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