Blizzard games to follow MMO model - BUSTED

It looks like the age of subscription based gaming is beginning...

Various web reports wrote:

Publisher Vivendi Universal Games delivered a report to the world late yesterday, delivering a smorgasbord of information, including the most noteworthy news that all Blizzard games will be made into MMO titles. The publisher explained that developer Blizzard now have a model whereby they can create a top-notch MMO title for 50 million USD in three-and-a-half years.

We're told that World of Warcraft cost 50 million Euros, and took about four-and-a-half years, making VU's claim something of an achievement if it proves correct. "All Blizzard franchises will become MMOGs," is indeed quite a claim, though unsurprising given the strength of names like Starcraft and Diablo.

Blizzard will also deliver more 'short-session games' to the MMO market, with Freestyle, an arcade style basketball title, due in 2007. Such games are designed to be played in under two-hour stints, and will be published by Sierra Online. Other titles in this vein are promised, in addition to the triple-A conversions of Blizzard's primary IPs.

Sources

I wonder how they will do the payments for short-session games. Per-session, or per-hour? I assume one would play a short-session because one does not have much time for long-session games. But having a full monthly fee on such a game does not sound inviting to me.

This is probaply the best way to counter piracy tho. You will need that cd-key to play the game, and 2 players cannot use the same key.

Starcraft MMO? How? Half Planetside, half WoW? Will there be two or three sides? How will they balance them? Will zerglings be PC's or PC spawned? Will Firebats be allowed to smoke?

So manny questions... It will be interesting.

someone cough this.. I'm to lazy

I saw it on EvAv but couldn't verify. EA cited some vague Wall Street conference (maybe an analyst call?)....you know, the kind usually covered by Reuters or Bloomberg or AP? But there were absolutely zero reports of any kind of Vivendi conference yesterday, analyst call or otherwise.

I checked Vivendi's site to see if they had issued a PR but no dice, so take it for what it is worth.

TheGameguru wrote:

someone cough this.. I'm to lazy

I tried but could be damned if I could find an earlier post on this. Hell, I couldn't even find this post using the site's search engine.

The thing is though, all these sources seem to have gotten their source from a source that the guy running F13.net ( I think that is the name) heard from a PR of VU.

I think shacknews followed up on it with blizzard and VU and didn't get a confirmation from either party.

I don't care if they try MMO's with ALL of their franchises, as long as they continue to make NON-MMO's, too. I will never play a game with a subscription fee. Not even Starcraft 2.

I don't like MMO's. I like Blizzard games. There is a problem here.

LobsterMobster wrote:

I will never play a game with a subscription fee. Not even Starcraft 2.

Subscribe to Xbox live much? That's the first step in conditioning consumer's to sub fees and you happily pay your fee every month. The feelers are already out there as to what limits consumers will spend - Xbox marketplace, Oblivion downloads, BF2 expansion packs, Bang! Howdy's pay-for-power content.

While many games won't adapt this model, I see many companies looking for ways to maintain revenue streams for their triple-A titles. Its just a matter of what the consumer will pay.

You know, the article doesn't match the title here. All they've announced is that their franchises (Diablo, Starcraft) will have MMO games. They don't appear to be saying that all future games will be MMO.

I feel like I'm reading Slashdot!

If true, I'm disappointed. I'd hate to see a company (especially Blizzard) making such a huge, company-wide game design decision.

The title's just to get your attention. I'm curious if folks here feel that gaming is heading toward a sub fee model or will it only be reserved for MMOs.

Aside from Diablo, Starcraft, and Warcraft what are Blizzard's other games? WIth the success of these titles the company now appears hamstrung in any attempt to innovate. See The Escapist #48 for a more articulate argument on this subject.

I feel that an XBox Live fee is a lot like a cable fee. First off, it's about half as expensive as a single MMO subscription (Live, that is, not cable), and second, it isn't tied to a single service. If I get sick of playing one game online, it'll still work with others, and more than one at once. If you get tired of, say, Everquest, you need to cancel that subscription and subscribe to something else. Same process if you decide to go back to Everquest. I also feel that I get a better value with Live since it's a whole integrated service. It's not just playing games, but downloading stuff, IM, etc.

And for the record, it took me a long time and a lot of coersion to finally subscribe to Live.

I'm really hoping that games take a turn toward how they often work in Asia. The game is free to play (sometimes even free to download), but there's premium content. Some people think this isn't enough to make a game profitable, but take a small example, Kingdom of Loathing. It's a free browser game, and the designers adhere strongly to the idea that anyone should be able to get access to all content without paying a dime. It's easier to get some things if you donate $10 for a Mr. Accessory, which can be traded for special items, etc. They also sell things like T-shirts, mugs, bumperstickers, etc. This is a game that has peaks of around 50,000 users. Yet even with such a passive profit model, they make enough money so that all of their employees (around 8 people, I think) can make a living with no secondary income. Clearly they don't make the kind of money that would attract a Vivendi or an EA, but they certainly get by, and the game is updated almost constantly, including new content, new zones, new art, and every week they have two podcasts where the designers answer e-mails sent in by players.

Technically, I pay for Xbox Live once a year, and it is for ALL games on the Xbox, not just one. Still, though, Richy has a point.

I'm still calling shenanigans on this one though. First, Sci-fi MMOs have always tanked. They just don't have the broad appeal that fantasy themed games do. (Granted, if anyone could make it work, Blizzard could.) Second, why would they potentially canabalize their WoW user base? They still have many years of growing profitability in WoW, so why risk undercutting it anytime soon?

My guess? Diablo 3 might be sort of MMO, in the same way that Guild Wars is. However, if they are going to do "Galaxy of Starcraft" or whatever, it will be many years from now, long after WoW has run its course.

BUSTED!

Blues News Report wrote:

Nothing in that rumor is true in regards to Blizzard. If I had to guess, there was some confusion between what Vivendi has planned for its its game division versus what Blizzard has planned. While Blizzard is owned by Vivendi, their game division operates seperately from Blizzard.

Whew... Close one.

Yeah, if they made another MMO in the next few years that's not WoW 2, they'd be peeing in their own pool.

What I'd really like to see is a solid, healthy #2 to take on WoW in the MMO market. Competition is a good thing, but lack of competition makes even the best of us lazy and rest on our asses.

In regards to your question Richy. While I think that the subscription based gaming is the future (lets face it subscription based gaming combat piracy and generate lots of money once the framework is set), I do much prefer games that focuses on SP game play. I hate to have gaming experience become competitive, esp. against the majority of the "interweb crowds".

LobsterMobster wrote:

I'm really hoping that games take a turn toward how they often work in Asia. The game is free to play (sometimes even free to download), but there's premium content.

I can't tell you how many hours I've logged on Gunbound, which falls into this category. I even once donated $5 to get a couple items that would make it easier to beat other players in battles. I'm not sure how profitable they are, but they've been around for quite a while now.

I'm not exactly against MMO's, but (with the exception of Asheron's Call), I've never really jumped in feet first, or stayed past the free trial period. I'd like to try WoW, but between the lack of time to play anything, along with being nearly completely broke and having to rely on friends for cash at the moment, I can't justify getting into it right now. Maybe in a few months I'll be able to pick it up.

In the end, I'm really glad this is busted. I can't imagine a Starcraft MMO being any more than a Planetside remake, and I'm sure a Diablo MMO would either tank like AC2 did, or it'd rip the WoW subscription base apart.

I'd dig a planetside remake that was, you know, fun.

Edit: And an Eve remake (or patch) that doesnt get laggy with 200-1000 users in a system (dream on)

polypusher wrote:

I'd dig a planetside remake that was, you know, fun.

No kidding. I'm surprised there's not one out there. I understand Planetside actually makes money.