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Posts with tag licensing

PCR interviews Blizzard Entertainment

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The UK-based computer trade news outlet PCR posted a quick interview with Blizzard Entertainment on Friday, July 12th. Interestingly, the interview focuses not necessarily on the digital offerings that we come to expect from a computer-based company, but the retail side of the business, and Blizzard's performances in the more traditional market. Blizzard seems to maintain its success in retail not only because of its games' performance history and market momentum, but also thanks to licensed peripherals which help keep the brand versatile.

Probably the most interesting portion of the interview is the sadly brief discussion of Blizzard's POSA (point of sale activation) cards, known as Battle.net Balance Cards. These cards are similar to the game time cards most WoW players are likely familiar with, but rather than add time to your WoW account, they add money to your Battle.net account in general, which you can use to add time to your WoW game or purchase other Blizzard games and so on.

So far, these cards don't seem to be readily available in the US as in the EU, but I have heard rumors of people finding them in GameStop from time to time, so who knows. For those of you who are wary about using a credit card online, or who just might like other options for adding money to your Battle.net account, they might be worth looking into. You can check out the EU Battle.net Balance Card FAQ for further information if you're interested.

Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews

Blizzard to talk licensing at San Diego Comic-Con


Blizzard tends to keep to its own convention for most of the year, rather than taking part in other major conventions like E3, but it's breaking form with product reveals and licensing discussion next week at San Diego Comic-Con. Blizzard's Chris Metzen, The Shattering author Christie Golden, Cryptozoic Entertainment President Cory Jones, and others will be present for a panel on Thursday, July 21 -- that is, if you're already lucky enough to be going to Comic-Con (say hi to Christie for me)!

Here's the full panel description, which is also available on the Comic-Con website.
1:00-2:00 World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft Swag Show -- Blizzard Entertainment creative and licensed partners unveil and discuss World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft-inspired products. In attendance: Chris Metzen (Blizzard Entertainment SVP of creative development), Nick Carpenter (Blizzard Entertainment executive art director), Christie Golden (New York Times bestselling author), Hank Kanalz (SVP Digital, DC Comics and World of Warcraft comics editor), Sean Gailey(creative overlord, J!nx Clothing), and Cory Jones (Cryptozoic Entertainment president and chief creative officer). Moderated by Kat Hunter ( host of BlizzCon coverage on DIRECTV). Room 6BCF

Filed under: Blizzard

Blizzard teams up with Mega Bloks for Warcraft and StarCraft sets

Big Blizzard licensing news -- Blizzard has teamed up with MEGA Brands, Inc. to release Warcraft- and StarCraft-themed Mega Bloks sets. You might remember the Halo Mega Bloks sets as another of Mega Bloks' video game releases. These are Blizzard's two largest franchises, so it's a pretty substantial acquisition for Mega Bloks.

What is most interesting to me about this licensing partnership is Blizzard's consolidation and general changing strategy regarding the World of Warcraft and StarCraft intellectual properties. In South Korea, StarCraft is already on everything you can imagine, and licensing in general is one of Blizzard's biggest assets (as it is for most content creators.) Does this licensing deal signal a renewed push to put Warcraft and StarCraft on lots of new, carefully hand-picked products? Suffice to say, I am excited about Blizzard's licensing future.

The sets are scheduled for release in summer 2012. We have no news on what characters or settings will be featured in the sets, but our imaginations can happily wander. Will we get vehicles? Iconic location play sets? Lore exposition in block form? I've got a few ideas...

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Filed under: Blizzard

The Lawbringer: Mailbag 2.0

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

I love getting emails with questions in them! Incidentally, people also love mailbags. Right? Right? Of course you do. Also, based on my images, can you tell that I've been leveling through Grizzly Hills?

After the last two weeks of gold selling/hacking and crazy currency discussions, I found my email littered with questions that I had neglected. At the end of last month I also ran a mailbag feature, but some of these questions were so fun and provoking that I had to answer them publicly. One interesting thing about legal questions and answers is that you're obviously not getting the whole answer, because there are a million and one factors that go into questions and answers in the legal world. Rather, you're getting the beginnings of a concept that you might want to further your knowledge of. Fun times! Learning is fun! Let's learn together.

If you have a question for the column, please email me at mat@wowinsider.com, and include a subject with "Lawbringer Question" or something easily categorized/sorted like that!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: The power of licensing


Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

You guys seemed to very much enjoy the last edition of the Lawbringer, discussing some of the more interesting facets of virtual currency valuation and the Zynga hacking story. Writing about virtual worlds, currency, and everything associated with MMOs is my greatest pleasure, and I just wanted to let you all know how happy I am that you read and enjoy my work. So, thank you from your loyal author.

This week, we're going to talk about the power of licensing. No, we will not be talking about licensing in the context of whether or not you own the copy of World of Warcraft on your computer. Rather, we're going to embark on an adventure of brand recognition and financial wonderment, into the world of licensing characters, creations, names, and likenesses. This, friends, is the world of products, to illustrate the ungodly importance of content licensing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Fonts and why you cannot sue Deathwing

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Thanksgiving is here and, as a citizen of the United States of America, I must do my legal (I think?) duty and eat a ton of food and bake a pie. The pie baking happened last night, actually. Delicious, delicious pumpkin pie. You seriously have no idea how hungry I am ...

Anyway, as it is time to celebrate and be joyous and thankful and all that jazz, The Lawbringer this week is light and fun. I've assembled two little anecdotes from the past week to share with you guys, provide a little food for thought (since the holiday is about eating ... right? Get it? Whatever ...) and give you something fun to read while you're in the car back from whatever embarrassing family gathering you're currently heading far away from.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Blizzard and machinima

The relationship Blizzard has cultivated and presented to the machinima community is, in a word, rare. Not unexpected, but rare. Companies such as Blizzard that hold such a hot property like the Warcraft series usually are tight with licensing. Blizzard is also ridiculous-smart -- you don't get the amount of success it has without being something ridiculous. At an early stage, the company realized that giving a fair amount of leniency to machinima would reap some awesome benefits. That theory has paid off, not only for Blizzard but for the community as well, in spades.

This week, Lawbringer delves into the fairly broad Blizzard-machinima artist relationship. The seeds of this quick look at the rules of machinima came from Myndflame's own look at Blizzard's policies back in 2009. Like I said before, this relationship is unique in its openness. In fact, Blizzard openly courts machinima artists in sponsored contests as well as through its official policies on the art form.

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Filed under: The Lawbringer

Upper Deck finalizes Gen Con plans

Anybody else going to Gen Con this coming weekend? I'll be there on Saturday (and we might even be having a mini-meetup on Saturday night -- Twitter is probably the best place to listen for that), and I'll be sure to take pictures and/or movies of anything WoW that I see on display. Upper Deck has finalized their plans for the event, and it appears they'll be out in force. In addition to what's been announced previously, there'll be a North American Continental Championship for the WoW TCG, with the winner walking away with $10,000 in prizes, including a brand new MacBook Pro, $1000 in Amazon gift cards, and a 30" monitor. But if, like me, you're far from a pro player, you'll still be able to get in on the fun: they'll be demoing the game all weekend, and giving away special promo cards with every demo. WoW Minis will also be there, and they'll be selling a special limited edition Fleet Master Seahorn figure for $9.99, which introduces the questing mechanic to the minis game (we'll expect to see those at BlizzCon as well, I'm sure).

Plus, who knows what else we'll see there -- in the past, we've seen some great displays from Blizzard partners, and even a real-life server protest a few years back. Gen Con is one of the biggest gatherings of gamers in the country, and wherever there are gamers, odds are we'll find World of Warcraft. It'll be my first time seeing the convention this weekend, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, News items, Quests, WoW TCG

Richard A. Knaak, other authors will be signing at BlizzCon

Part of the fun of BlizzCon is that beyond all of the dev panels and crazy mainstage stuff going on, there's also the big convention hall full of things to see and do. All of Blizzard's licensing partners usually show up, so Upper Deck usually has games going on, FigurePrints shows off their wares, and all of the computer companies usually have some fun rigs on display. And now we've learned that, as usual, Pocket Books and TokyoPop will have booths set up, along with their usual stable of authors and artists. Richard A. Knaak has confirmed on his website that he'll be there, so if you're going, be sure to bring along your copy of War of the Ancients, and maybe you can get it signed.

Our staff is hoping for a Christie Golden appearance as well, and while she doesn't have anything about BlizzCon on the website yet (she is at ComiCon this week, though), we're presuming that she'll be there. Medievaldragon of Blizzplanet is apparently also presuming it: he's included her with Knaak in his headline about the show (see update). So hopefully she'll be around, and Ziebart and Whitcomb can take their treasured copies of Arthas over and do some fanboy groveling.

Should be excellent. We'll be doing our best to get some interviews with these folks here on the site as well, so even if you're not with us in Anaheim, you'll still get a chance to hear from some of your favorite Warcraft authors. BlizzCon ahoy!

Update: Medievaldragon has gotten back to us, and he says that he's heard from Golden herself that she'll be at BlizzCon. Get those books ready for some signin'!

BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon, you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there are some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Lore, BlizzCon

BlizzCon: Arena Junkies ticket giveaway, Tokyopop booth preview

Along with most of the Blizzard fansites, Arena Junkies is also conducting a BlizzCon ticket giveaway, and they want you to design your own Arena. Basically, you come up with an idea, supplement it with whatever drawings or pictures you'd like, and then submit it in their forum thread by June 5th. After that, they'll have the community choose the top three, and each of those winners will be on their way to Anaheim to visit Blizzard's big event. We bet there'll be some awesome ideas coming out of the contest by the end -- Arena players are nothing if not creative.

And in other BlizzCon news, Tokyopop has announced that they'll have a booth at the convention (not a huge surprise -- we'll expect to see most of Blizzard's licensing partners in attendance), and they've got a lot of fun stuff planned: artist Fernando Heinz Furukawa of Warcraft Legends and Starcraft: Ghost Academy will be there and drawing pictures for attendees, and there'll be various art on display and new books to be sold. Plus, they'll have a Blood Elf standup for pictures, and they even leak a little something about fellow exhibitor BradyGames: this year they'll be hosting a convention-wide "fishing quest." Sounds like fun.

If you don't have tickets yet, you have one more chance: they go on sale this Sunday, May 31st. Seriously, don't show up until then. (Ed: Schramm, stop trying to keep people out of your ticket line! The second round of ticket sales is this Saturday, May 30th. Good luck to everyone except Schramm.)

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, BlizzCon, Comics

Rumor: The9 loses WoW license in China to Netease


The9 has been the target of persistent rumors over the last few months that they're on the verge of losing their license from Blizzard to operate World of Warcraft in China. First, we heard about their financial troubles, and then came rumors that Blizzard was going to ditch them. And now we've got WorldofWar.net reporting a rumor that Netease will be the company to take over the reins there. It makes sense -- Netease has been growing a lot during their history, and they successfully operate Fantasy Westward Journey, an MMO with a US value of $761 million, with 400,000 average concurrent users. They're already supposed to take over Blizzard's Warcraft III and Starcraft II in China, so Blizzard will actually be consolidating their properties.

The rumor supposedly comes from a leaked internal memo to The9 employees, which says that an unnamed company (supposedly Netease) is trying to pick up the rights and hardware for the game for a cool $22 million. The9 reportedly paid $73 million for the same capability, so they're losing twice on the deal -- both the license and the money they spent on it.

Not good news for The9 if it all turns out to be true, but maybe this means Chinese players will get their expansions a little sooner. Of course, a lot goes into releasing new content overseas (translation is definitely not a small part of it), but having a more capable operator probably won't hurt.

Update: Confirmed. Thanks for playing, The9. Their stock is down big time since the announcement, and Netease's is up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

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