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Posts with tag microsoft

Massive at MI6: Blizzard is an "around game" ad success

Not only did Blizzard clean up at the MI6 awards (and yes, that's not to be confused with the British Intelligence Agency that some dude named Bond works for), but their partners at Massive also gave a presentation there. Who's Massive, you ask? You may not know their name, but you've already seen their work: they're the company, related to Microsoft, that Blizzard has hired to run their ingame and in-software ads.

During the presentation, the rep from Massive, JJ Richards, talked about the three types of advertising that they're running: in-game, around game, and for game. In-game is what you usually see in EA's big sports titles: big billboards that sport real-life brands, or even in-game items like cell phones and clothing that advertise real objects. World of Warcraft obviously isn't much of a candidate for that type of advertising, but Massive does cite them as a huge success for the second type, "around game": they take full credit for the ads over on the forums, as well as the ads we'll eventually see in the Starcraft and Diablo Battle.net interfaces. Strange that they didn't mention the gold ad slipup (/sarcasm). He also suggests putting ads in the WoW launcher, but at least agrees that those will have to be extremely game-related if they're going to get away with it.

And the third type of advertising Massive does is "for game," where they use the various Microsoft properties like Xbox Live and Hotmail to do targeted advertising at gamers -- using Netflix queues on Xbox to shape Hotmail ads, and so on. If that all sounds sneaky, so be it (don't forget that this presentation was made to a bunch of marketers, not necessarily actual gamers). But it sounds like Blizzard has made a nice big deal with Massive (despite the fact that we're still paying a tidy subscription fee every month), so whether we like it or not, we're going to be seeing exactly what they're planning in our games in the future.

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

Blizzard's hate (/love?) relationship with consoles

Rumors are bubbling up from GDC '09 that Blizzard is finally considering consoles again for their future games. Blizzard seems to have a hate/hate relationship with consoles -- despite the fact that they started out with some extremely popular console games (Lost Vikings was one of the best games on the Sega Genesis), they've become very solidly a PC gaming company in the past few years. Sure, they released Starcraft 64 and the Playstation port of Diablo, but since Starcraft: Ghost left a bad taste in their mouths, they've stayed away from the console market (and some might say that's saved the PC market).

The main problem, says Rob Pardo, is one of control: console controllers just don't have the flexibility to do what Blizzard wants to do with their games. "If I were them," he told the press, "I'd be sitting around trying to figure out what's a cool new input device that supports all types of new kinds of games." And he also hinted that he might be trying to do just that -- Blizzard is apparently in talks with Microsoft, not to develop for this generation of consoles, but to help them advance to the next generation. This is a little more than just Diablo III on the Xbox 360 (though that's definitely a possibility) -- it's Blizzard possibly getting the chance to bring what they love about PC gaming to the next console generation.

Heady stuff. Blizzard doesn't need to do anything these days, of course -- if they want to take their next sequel and release it in, say, three separate parts, they can do that and it will likely still be a hit. But if they want to set their sights on innovating in the console space, we'll probably all benefit.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Hardware

The Guild: Episode 10 of Season 2


In this week's Guild, now up on MSN and Xbox Live (and Zune, if you're into that sort of thing), we get better acquainted with the stunt guy's *cough* buddy, who turns out to be named Riley, and is actually a gamer. Though not in the way you might expect. And Vork (last seen here -- you didn't forget about that sight, did you?) turns out to have a new skill, to Bladezz' disappointment.

Lots of fun. Do you think there really is a division among gamers like Riley and Codex? I'm a big fan of both genres, so I'd never have seen it, but do players of one type not get along with players of the other? We're all just gamers, right?

And we'll remind you, too, that there are only two episodes left this season. Only two more weeks of new episodes with Microsoft, and then in March, they'll start appearing back on YouTube again (pending another agreement, or whatever Felicia and those folks decide to do).

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, PvP, Humor

The Guild, episode 9 now on MSN Video and Xbox Live


It's Tuesday, and you know what that means. Not only is it time to wipe down the Ampitheater of Anguish (that thing gets messy over the weekend), but it's time once again for a new episode of The Guild. And for those of you unhappy to see this here every Tuesday (perhaps because you're stricken with some horribly rare disease that keeps your eyes from moving on to our other posts instead?), we're sorry to say that there's only a few weeks left in the season. So let's make the most of it while we can.
And the guildies definitely try their best -- they decide to take the night offline and split up the sexes, to... err... mixed results. Clara gets a little nuts with girls night out, and the guys also struggle to find something to do that doesn't involve signing into the game. Good times as always.

And just in case you missed it last week, The Guild shared some pretty important company on MSN Video on Inauguration Day. Say what you want about the Microsoft deal, but even when there's big news going down in real life, MS is keeping up their end of the promotion deal.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Humor, Fan art

WoW's EULA and Blizzard's OS support

Cory Doctorow posted on Boing Boing the other day about WoW's EULA being unreadable when installing the game on Linux. And obviously he's right -- Linux doesn't always have the font that Blizzard's installer uses, and so when you try to run it on Linux, you get gibberish, at least during installation. But there's more to this story here -- running WoW on Linux is actually unsupported by Blizzard: you can do it, and it's not against the EULA or ToS (in fact, Blizzard actually worked with the WINE guys to make sure the game ran correctly), but obviously any issues you have are an "at your own risk" kind of situation. So Doctorow's pretty much out of luck (or in luck as the case may be -- it's unlikely a EULA could be enforced on an unsupported system).

And Linux isn't the only unsupported major OS out there -- Microsoft will release the beta of Windows 7, the new version of Windows, into the wild on January 10th, and Blizzard has made it clear that they won't support that, either, at least until it gets out of beta and into a release state. Of course, Microsoft has an interest in making sure old versions of Windows software work with the new OS, but if you only have one computer and absolutely need to play WoW on it, you should stay away from Windows 7 until the bugs are ironed out.

Then again, there are worse OSes to deal with.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Hardware

The Guardian on The Guild

British newspaper The Guardian has a look at our favorite web series, The Guild, and how it has taken the MMO community by storm and vaulted its way up into one of the most popular television series that's not actually on television. There's no question that The Guild's popularity online was fueled by the fact that it follows a group of people who spend most of their time online, and with a built-in audience the size of World of Warcraft's, you might think that all they had to do was get the references right.

But as The Guardian notes, success for The Guild isn't just a matter of hitting a niche audience. Felicia Day and Kim Evey say they spent eight hours a day emailing the show around when it first came out. And while the show is of course sponsored by Microsoft now, the whole first season was powered by hard work and donations. The Guardian attributes The Guild's success to "direct marketing of content to a niche peer group" -- find an audience, and then make sure they know what you're doing.

And of course, as a Guardian commenter notes, it doesn't hurt that the show is funny, and as Felicia told us herself, they've gone out of their way to explain and convey the WoW-related stuff to an audience that might not always play MMOs. The series is attracting a lot of attention these days, not just as an MMO story, but also a how-to guide of how to get a television series off the ground without actually being on broadcast television.

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

Blizzard adds advertising to the official forums


Blizzard has added two advertising bars to their official forum pages, one on the top and one banner along the side. And it's got players concerned -- there's a large forum thread growing even bigger by the minute right now. The main complaints seem to revolve around a few issues: the design breaks the forum layout for some users, the ads are possibly a security risk (they aren't hosted by Blizzard -- more on that in a second), and of course the issue that we're paying every month to be able to look at ads on the forums.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money, Forums, Account Security

The Guild, episode 3 of season 2 out now

The latest episode of The Guild is out now (should be up on Xbox Live and Zune soon if the last few weeks are any indication), and it's a good one -- we get a peek into the life of the man, the myth, the legend, the guildleader Vork himself (played perfectly by Jeff Lewis), Felicia Day gets naked (you read that right), and a mysterious new face appears at the end. This might be one of my favorite episodes yet.

In other Guild news, Felicia twittered just the other day that shooting has now wrapped on season 2, so while I'm sure there's plenty of editing yet to do, the cast and crew can now take a little bit of a break. Good for them -- the switch to the weekly schedule was probably a big jump up in workload, but so far they've stayed right on top of things. And while we haven't seen or heard actual numbers yet since the switch to the Microsoft deal, the new series appears to be doing well.

Good news for both The Guild and web video in general. Enjoy the new episode -- we can't wait to find out who Mr. Eyepatch is next week.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, Fan stuff, Guilds, Humor

Blizzard makes deal with Massive for Battle.net ads

The AP is reporting that Microsoft's game advertising division (called Massive, Inc., not to be confused with Massively), has signed a deal with Blizzard to offer advertising on their upcoming Battle.net revamp, presumably to premiere with Starcraft II. This is apparently out-of-game advertising, i.e. the ads you'll see upon login to the service, not necessarily on in-game billboards or other nonsense like that. Battle.net is Blizzard's online service -- they've used it since way back in the Diablo days, and they've always had ads for their own products in it. But now they've contracted with this company Massive, Inc. to put other ads in there, and since they've been planning for a revamp for a while, you can probably expect to see the ads in right away when the new service launches.

How will this affect us as WoW players? It might not -- Blizzard may leave WoW on its own launcher, rather than having you go through a Battle.net launcher to sign in. On the other hand, WoW is clearly Blizzard's biggest online game, and we already know that Blizzard plans to include some WoW features (achievements, accounts) in the Battle.net revamp, so it could be that they're going to unify everything under one launcher (WoW, Starcraft II, Diablo III), in which case you'd see these ads when you sign in as well.

Which makes us wonder why exactly we'd be paying $15 a month to see more ads on login, but don't panic yet -- we'll cross that bridge when we actually know it exists (for now, Blizzard hasn't announced any official plans to change the way WoW works with Battle.net, other than the fact that one account will work across all games). We'll keep an eye out for any other new Battle.net news -- there's definitely something big in the works.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money

WoW Insider Show Episode 66: Felicia Day and her show

Yes, our podcast is a little early today (due to the holiday, I'm going to be traveling on Saturday, so no live show as usual this week), but we've got a bonus for you anyway: Felicia Day, creator of The Guild and star of Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog, joined us to talk about the second season of her web series, which just started up the other day, and the deal they've recently made for Microsoft to show it exclusively on MSN, Zune, and Xbox Live.

Since most of our bloggers were out for the holiday this week, it was just me and her, but we had a lot of fun -- there are some good hints in there about new characters coming to join our favorite guildies this season, the third season (!) of the show, and how Felicia is able to get MMO concepts (like "DKP" and the idea of a "guild" itself) across to people who may not play MMOs. And I also got to read some emails and get a little bit of WoW talk in there -- if you'd like to email the show a question or comment for next time, you can do so at theshow@wow.com as always.

We'll be back as usual live on Ustream on Saturday, December 6th at 3:30 Eastern, so make sure to tune in then when we'll get back to the WoW talk. In the meantime, enjoy the show, and do go check out the first show of The Guild's second season (or watch it in HD on Xbox Live) -- it's great.

Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes.
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[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.

Listen here on the page:

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasts, Odds and ends, Humor, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW Insider Show, Achievements

College Gaming League 3v3 Arena Tournament


Blizzard announced that World of Warcraft 3v3 Arenas are part of the new College Gaming League, the first official amateur league partner of the Championship Gaming Series. The Dell-spearheaded venture works with Intel and Microsoft to offer educational discounts and PC bundles for students, faculty and staff at numerous partner schools all over the United States. Students and faculty at Dell University partner schools can register and receive benefits like special offers on games and systems, access to public game servers, and compete in tournaments.

Among the tournaments -- which include Xbox 360 and PC games -- is the World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena competition. Registration began last August 21 and closes on September 11, while the official matches span from September 15 to October 5. Loot up for grabs are three Alienware m15x notebooks as Grand Prizes, three Microsoft Zune players as First Prizes, and three $50 Dell gift cards for the runners-up. It's an underwhelming selection past the Grand Prizes, to be sure, but registration is free and members can participate in other tournaments with a host of other prizes to be won. Initiatives like these certainly give students something to while away their time... after they've submitted those term papers, of course.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Arena

Sams: Microsoft could do more for PC gaming

Blizzard's COO Paul Sams spoke with Gamasutra the other day, and he called out Microsoft, of all companies, for not supporting innovation in PC gaming. He says that Microsoft's loyalties are split with their console business, and that if they put as much work into developing gaming on the PC as they did on the Xbox 360, everyone would benefit.

An interesting idea, to be sure. It's not like Blizzard necessarily needs help from Microsoft to promote and develop their games -- if anything, it's Microsoft that could probably take a lesson from Blizzard on how to release software. But it's true that console innovations like achievement points and Xbox Live social networking accounts aren't really finding a solid place in the PC gaming world, and it could be that Blizzard wants to see those types of things on the platform.

Blizzard has always had a rocky relationship with consoles anyway, and the recent announcement of a non-console Diablo 3 definitely shows they're interested in the PC (including Mac) platform only. Can't really blame them for wanting a little more love from an OS developer like Microsoft.

[via BigDownload]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Hardware

Two new keylogging worms to watch out for

Microsoft's malware blog is warning of two new worms that attempt to steal account information for online games from Windows XP or Vista users. These worms are breaking previous keylogging success rate records and are worth educating yourself about.

The first one is called Taterf which has infected over 1.2 milion machines worldwide during its first week. The other worm is called Frethog and has so far a 650,000+ machine first-week infection rate. These rates are stunning to malware specialists who are used to seeing these kinds of numbers only after a month of the worm's existance. These worms take advantage of Windows' autoplay and autorun functions that run for CDs, DVDs, and some USB sticks. They can be sneaky about it too. They try to disquise autorun with other pop-up dialog boxes, like "Show me these awesome pictures." You do need to confirm this action manually, but this obstacle hasn't much limited the spread of the worms to date.

Make sure you read the instructions on Microsoft's support site for how to protect yourself from these worms. The short answer is to disable autorun from CDs under XP (a registry change) or to change the same option from the Vista control panel. You should also disable autoplay as an even greater precaution. Also, of course, make sure you check the box on the WoW login screen to save your account name. That way if you do get infected with a keylogger, they won't be able to see your keystrokes for both your account name and your password.

Filed under: News items, Account Security

How to put WoW Insider in your MS Outlook feeds

In an ongoing series of articles we'll show you how to put WoW Insider on your own blog, guild website, personal website, or even on your computer's desktop. For a complete list of the software that's covered, check out our guide's index.

About Microsoft Outlook


Outlook is a staple of many businesses. While the program itself does have its problems, no one can deny its overwhelming acceptance in the work place. Because of this, people often spend hours a day in Outlook – answering emails, scheduling with the calendar, and managing contacts. One of the features that Microsoft has included in Outlook is an ability to subscribe to RSS news feeds. By adding WoW Insider to your Outlook news feeds, you can conspicuously stay abreast of WoW news while at work.

How to add WoW Insider to Microsoft Outlook

1. Open up Microsoft Outlook
2. Right click the "RSS Feeds" item located on the Folders bar on the left hand side of the screen.



3. Select "Add a New RSS Feed..."



4. This will open up the "New RSS Feed" window. Enter WoW Insider's RSS feed address, which as pictured above, is http://wow.joystiq.com/rss.xml .
5. Click the "Add" button.



6. Outlook will likely ask if you want to add the feed, and ask if you trust WoW Insider. Click the "Yes" button.



7. You're done! WoW Insider posts will appear just like other emails will in the preview pane of Outlook. This is great for work environments!

Filed under: How-tos, Odds and ends

The obvious report: Wrath will not require Vista

Just in case you were wondering (or if your friend used the mediocre Shadowrun FPS as proof that all games from now on will require Vista), no, we're almost sure that there's no way Wrath of the Lich King will require Windows Vista to run. In fact, even though Neth is only kind of certain in the thread, we'll make it 100%: you won't need Vista to run the next expansion.

Not only is Vista not exactly setting even high-end gamers' hearts afire, but Blizzard is traditionally about as lenient as it gets on system requirements. They did up the ante a little bit when Burning Crusade was released, and we do know that Wrath will require a little more of your computer with those shiny ice shaders (not too much more -- they may ask for more RAM or a faster than the current 800mhz processor). But as much as Microsoft would love what may again be the best selling expansion in the world to require Vista, it's just not going to happen -- Blizzard has too many subscribers here to lock a good number of them with an operating system that's not going over so well.

So ignore what your smirking friend tells you -- if you can run Burning Crusade, you'll be able to run Wrath on the same box.




Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Forums, Hardware

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