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Posts with tag mike-morhaime

Bronze Orc statue footage via GametrailersTV


We've already seen pictures of Blizzard's bronze Orc statue finally arriving on their campus courtesy of the OCRegister, but Gametrailers TV has done one better: Video.

The clip, while brief, has really been making the rounds through the community. I can see why! Even though it's only a short glimpse, it gives a much better sense of scale than pictures did. It's some fairly heavy duty equipment swinging the pieces of the statue around! It's really a shame that Blizzard (or someone doing it on their behalf) didn't film the whole thing for us to watch, I really would have loved to have seen it. This statue has been hyped up quite a bit for awhile now, it's sort of a shame that the 'ceremony' wasn't very easy for most of us to see.

My favorite line about this particular statue came from Mike Morhaime at BlizzCon 08, long before it actually appeared on their campus. I don't remember the exact quote anymore, but he said something to the effect of, 'The statue is going to be cast from solid bronze. Long after all of us are dead, that statue will still be floating around somewhere. Thousands of years from now, an archeologist will dig it up and think to themselves, 'Wow, humans were ugly back then.'

Many thanks to everyone that's sent this link in over the last day or so!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Mike Morhaime wins 2008 award from OC* Business Journal

The Orange County Business Journal has awarded none other than Blizzard's own Mike Morhaime with the runner up for their Businessperson of the Year award (the main award went to some CEO of an investment company, much more boring than running a fantasy world full of orcs and elves). The Journal cite's Blizzard's huge successes in a rough financial year as reason for Morhaime's honor.

The paper isn't quite completely familiar with what Blizzard does (did you know Diablo III was "released" in June of last year? Don't know why I haven't seen it on store shelves yet!), but there are a few interesting tidbits in there for us, including the fact that WoW was so popular on its original release day that Blizzard had to bring employee copies out to their Fry's to sell them to hungry fans. And Morhaime talks a bit about Blizzard being part of Activision, and reveals the biggest change we've heard of yet since the takeover: "The big difference here is we are one step closer to the public markets. It requires that we spend more time than we used to in educating analysts and investors about Blizzard, where we used to be able to not deal with that side of the business."

So hopefully Blizzard's higherups aren't spending too much time trying to sell stock rather than making great games. He does reiterate, however, that Activision has continued to be hands off (especially as long as Blizzard is making so much money for them), so a lot of the things that fans have guessed are Activision influences are probably decisions that Blizzard themselves have already made. Still, success is success -- pretty good for a guy who started out writing test software for Western Digital. Congrats to Morhaime on the award.

*Don't call it that.

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

Morhaime: "We'd like to be doing regular expansions"


MTV's Multiplayer blog has an interview with Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime (who is apparently sitting pretty with the elven ladies after last week's big expansion launch). He says that he sees no end to the expansions -- Blizzard has told us before that as long as they have ideas (and players), they'll keep making content for this game. He also says that they're happy with the subscription model in the United States -- although we'd imagine that both of those things might get rethought if Blizzard's subscription numbers were going the other way. For now, though, while things are headed up, Morhaime sounds pretty happy with the way things are.

Finally, they ask about an iPhone app, and Morhaime says Blizzard is working on connecting mobile devices up to the game, but he also specifically says they're not looking at a stand-alone app. So maybe a mobile version of the Armory? I'd love to see an iPhone app, as we've said before, with mail or auction house functionality, but maybe Blizzard doesn't see the majority of their audience on the iPhone anyway. Then again, their Mac guys always need something to do...

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

Breakfast Topic: What would you whisper into Mike Morhaime's ear?

You walk into the Anaheim Convention Center, the lights are low and the mist is criss crossing the floor with patterns shining all around the venue. To your left and right are some your best friends from your guild who have joined you at BlizzCon 2008. Looking forward you spot an unassuming yet influential man in jeans and a black and blue Blizzard shirt. You're gazing upon none other than Mike Morhaime, the president and co-founder of Blizzard. With a grin on your face you tell your guildies you'll be right back. You walk up to Mike and wink at him. Leaning to his ear you being to whisper...

If you could whisper anything in the ear of Mike Morihame, what would it be?

And be creative. I hear that they read the site...

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Humor, BlizzCon

BlizzCon Roundup: Day 1


Whew. What a dizzying first day that was, wasn't it? Ok, well, I wouldn't know myself since I'm halfway across the world, but judging from the conference hangovers my colleagues have got, it's safe to say it was one whirlwind of an opening. If you weren't here yesterday to watch -- er, read -- the play-by-play, here's a quick recap of BlizzCon '08 Day One:
  • Our tenacious guys at BlizzCon liveblogged the opening ceremonies, although nothing really spectacular happened here other than the announcement of the Wizard, a hot new class for Diablo III. It was mostly trailers, recaps, and a reminder for everyone that something historic will happen in November. And it's not the elections.
  • Mike gave us all a preview of the people milling about in costume earlier in the day, but that was just a preview for the totally phenomenal costume contest this year. While past years have been pretty cool, this year's crop blew all the past ones out of the water. You'll have to check out the gallery for yourself to see what I mean. Can you imagine a turtle mount? Yes. A turtle mount.
  • Krystalle snapped quite a bunch of shots from the convention floor just to give everyone an idea of how BlizzCon feels. Looking through the general floor gallery, it almost felt like I was there. Minus the trademark convention smell, I presume, and the sad inability to purchase any of the cool swag.
  • The first World of Warcraft panel of the day dealt with the game's UI. It's pretty cool and was a proper teaser for the even cooler things that would pop up later in the day. Our man Alex did the liveblogging duties for this one. Itemrack will have to wait, unfortunately. More stuff from yesterday after the jump!

Read more →

Filed under: Blizzard, BlizzCon

BlizzCon press conference with Mike Morhaime

Mike Morhaime held a press conference earlier this afternoon, which WoW Insider was able to attend. I arrived a little late since it started before I finished up the UI panel liveblog, but I managed to catch a majority of the Q&A. Unlike the various panels, most of these questions were aimed at the philosophy and business model at Blizzard. How they've operated in the past, and how they'll operate in the future.

BlizzCon itself came up a lot throughout the conference, the big question being will this BlizzCon be a letdown? There haven't been any major announcements. Announcements, sure, but nothing on the scale of Starcraft II or Diablo III. Mike Morhaime actually seemed most excited about this particular BlizzCon, because it isn't just showcasing one game. All three of their primary franchises have something new on the way, and fans of all of those games are in attendance. Beyond that, he believes the community is extremely important, and gatherings like BlizzCon are important as well. Blizzard themselves were blown away by just how many people were trying to attend the convention this time around. The number of hopefuls completely dwarfed both last year's BlizzCon and the more recent Worldwide Invitational. Will BlizzCon continue to be an annual event? Maybe. They'll focus on this weekend first, and then they'll start talking about next year once it's through.

What I found most interesting, though? Morhaime was asked what the most unusual, off the wall concepts they had for a game that simply did not work out. He mentioned a game titled Nomad that Blizzard was developing after Starcraft was first released. A game they had never mentioned or announced until now. It was a post-apocalyptic style setting, but each day they sat down to work on it, it was with a little trepidation. Eventually they asked themselves, "If we were going to work on just one project today, would it be Nomad or would it be something else?" They went with something else. That something else was World of Warcraft.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King

BlizzCon 2008: Opening ceremonies liveblog


10:55am: Waiting anxiously for the show to begin. The crowd is excited and ready for a big announcement. WoW movie announcement? Mobile game announcement? Your guess is as good as mine.

More after the jump.

Update: It's over, and the only real announcement we heard was that Diablo 3 has a new class: the Wizard. Stay tuned all day for more news from BlizzCon, including the WoW UI/Addons panel, a classes panel (always fun), and lots of news from the show floor. And have you seen the costume gallery yet?

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King

Who's who at BlizzCon: WoW Insider's guide to the staff of Blizzard

Everyone going to BlizzCon this year will get to roam around the convention hall with some of the very people who bring you World of Warcraft and other Blizzard games. While many World of Warcraft fans might be familiar with the online pseudonyms such as "Drysc" and "Tigole," very few probably know what they actually look like.

We've searched the internet high and low for pictures of these folks and have compiled them into a nice and handy gallery complete with some biographical information. The pictures are small and mobile enough that they can be saved to an iPhone or other mobile device that can be brought into the convention hall.

If you happen to be going to BlizzCon be sure to stop and say hello to these Blizzard people. And if you aren't going, check out WoW Insider during the convention for the latest and greatest reporting right from the floor.

Filed under: BlizzCon

Bobby Kotick talks about what Blizzard can do for Activision

The Wall Street Journal sat down to interview Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, and our little World of Warcraft game got a nice bit of face time (one wonders why no one's asking Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime about, say, Guitar Hero, but who are we to question the corporate structure?). Kotick says that Activision closely examined what everyone else was doing with MMOs and online gaming, and saw that the only real winner in the market was Blizzard. Rather than investing in their own franchise, then, they decided to just buy Blizzard from Vivendi (and as you know, that's what happened). Kotick says what's so difficult about running these online games is just the scale -- you've got to handle credit card fraud, keep thousands of servers up and running (and patched), and still provide a good experience for millions of players at a time.

Kotick also talks about the way that WoW is sold in Asia (there, instead of paying a monthly fee, many people in Internet cafes pay per hour in cash), and says that Blizzard's experience with setting up a viable pay model may come in handy with other Activision properties overseas, Guitar Hero being his first choice.

We're still not exactly clear on how all of this relationship works -- while both Blizzard and Activision have said in the past that it's hands off, you have to think that even though things are buddy-buddy now while the money's flowing, but what happens when the two sides start to disagree?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Sunday Morning Funnies: Your lack of faith is disturbing

It might be a long weekend, but that's no excuse not to read your funnies! We have some new faces, the return of a beloved comic, a comic/craft hybrid, and more.

New additions
  1. The Emissary - Act 1. This is the beginning of a new project from Barry T. Smith, a departure from his usual style with InkTank and Angst Technology.
  2. Manic Graffiti is back! Let's start with the Pax Arcana Lich King Special.
  3. This isn't new, but it's a debut for this list. Sluggy Freelance's Years of Yarncraft Papercrafts! There are lots. Here's one.
  4. Check out mmolecule, or "GG" Comics by Ken Harrison. WoW players meet up with the Force.
Comedy with a plot
  1. LFG: No, that's not Legara.
  2. Road to BlizzCon, Sin'dorei Scheming Part 2.
  3. Welcome to Booty Bay!
Comedy
  1. Extra Life illustrates the difference between respawning and reincarnation.
  2. GU Comics points out that There's a Good Reason.
  3. It's back to school time and Monkey Punchers celebrates. BTS.
  4. NoObz. There's a flaw in the strategy.

Filed under: Sunday Morning Funnies

Blizzard responds to the BlizzCon ticket problems

Tamara Chuang from Blizzard's hometown Orange County Register has been following the BlizzCon ticket story here at WoW Insider, and she finally heard back from her queries to Blizzard about what happened earlier this week. The Q&A is up on her blog right now -- Shon Damron of Blizzard's PR team responded to a few questions about what happened on Monday and Tuesday at Blizzard and what they'll do differently to sell tickets to their events in the future.

Not surprisingly, Blizzard says they just weren't prepared for the demand -- last year, tickets sold much slower, and the close release date of the next expansion, in addition to the growth of WoW over the past year and, on the horizon, interest in Starcraft II and Diablo III, pushed fervor for tickets to a high. Blizzard thought by adding in more space and selling more tickets they'd account for demand, but they say a review of the entire process is now in order.

Damron says a lottery (like the one they plan to use to sell the extra 3000 tickets) will be a definite possibility. We'll have to see exactly how that process works as Blizzard sells off the rest of the tickets for this year's BlizzCon, but it does definitely sound to us like they are taking serious considerations to make sure that buyers of BlizzCon tickets, many of Blizzard's biggest fans, don't go through what happened earlier this week again.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, News items, BlizzCon

The OC Register on the BlizzCon debacle

WoW Insider's own Mike Schramm recently talked with Tamara Chuang from the Orange County Register about the trials and tribulations of the recent BlizzCon ticket sales for an article she wrote concerning the debacle. Mike is in some good company, with executive editor of GameSpy.com David Kosak also contributing to the analysis of Blizzard's failure. Yesterday, Mike wrote an in-depth account of the problems we all faced obtaining tickets to the event.

The OC Register article makes a good point noting that some major events, such as the World Series, have had ticketing problems in the past. However, it is also pointed out that other sites such as NBCOlympics.com still stay up even under the pressure of lots of traffic.

With Mike Morhaime's apology late last night, and his offering up 3,000 additional tickets via a lottery, it will be interesting to see what this does to appease the fans in the long run. It is good to see that this issue is getting some wider coverage outside of the game and fan sites. While bad press isn't exactly good, it usually leads to things being better the next time around.

Filed under: Bugs, Blizzard, News items, BlizzCon

Mike Morhaime apologizes, offers 3000 more BlizzCon tickets

If you haven't heard by now, there were some problems with Blizzcon tickets. A lot of problems.

However, it looks like even Blizzard now realizes that they could have done a lot better during those 2 days of Fail Murloc agony. Blizzard President Mike Morhaime has just posted a personal apology for all the trouble with tickets on the official BlizzCon site.

In addition, he's announced that they've rearranged their convention hall space and will be able to offer 3,000 additional tickets. In order to avoid the problems of the last batch, they will be sold by a lottery system, and only sold to those with an active Blizzard account as of August 12th, 9 PM PDT, the time when the last batch of tickets was officially sold out. Further details on the lottery will be posted when they finalize their plans.

Of course, There's probably far more than 3,000 customers who were put out by the problems, but this is probably as much of an olive branch as we can expect, given that they can't overpack the convention halls and it's likely too late to find or create a new, larger venue.

Hopefully though, Blizzard is serious when they say that they will do what it takes to prevent this from happening in the future. We'll look forward to buying our tickets for BlizzCon 2009 without the presence of the Fail Murloc.

Filed under: Events, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, News items, BlizzCon

Blizzard planning Wrath launch in China "as soon as possible" after US


Mike Morhaime spoke up about World of Warcraft in Activision's earnings conference call last week (strange, since there was almost no sign of Blizzard at the Activision press conference during E3), and he spoke about Blizzard's plan for Wrath of the Lich King's release in China. In the past, there's been a signficant delay between releases in the US and Eastern companies (not that it's hurt the popularity there). And Blizzard says they want to close that delay, but it's up to the government over there to approve the content -- in the past, the government of China has asked for changes to be made to the game, and Blizzard says the release schedule is dependent on their approval.

Morhaime also said that the game continues to grow -- they've seen big growth around marketing campaigns, the holiday season (when people buy the game for others), and the release of new content. And you don't have to be a WoW expert to see that they're going to hit a perfect storm of all three later this year. This could be the biggest winter the World of Warcraft has ever had.

[via WorldofWar.net]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Edge talks Morhaime on Age of Conan

Same thing, right?We made mention of Mike Morhaime's surprising words regarding Wrath's launch date during a recent conference call, but there's one thing we didn't really look at that Edge did. Mister Morhaime says Age of Conan's release a couple of months ago did manage to pull some subscribers away from WoW, but unsurprisingly, almost half of them came back pretty fast. Around 40% of them have come back so far.

This does not surprise me, really. That's usually how most MMO releases go, even if Age of Conan was the most heralded release since WoW. I'll admit, I haven't played it myself but I had ten or so guildmates of mine go and try it out. All of them ended up not playing the game after a month, saying that something was 'missing.' How delightfully vague, eh? They all came back.

A thriving, pre-existing community really helps a game's launch, and WoW had (and has) that in spades. You've gotta hand it to Age of Conan, though. For being a game that seems so niche in a market that has only moved out of nichedom in the last few years, they're putting up one hell of a fight. 40% of players have come back so far, sure, but 60% haven't. Yet.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

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