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Author Topic: Blizzard Business Model  (Read 3785 times)

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Offline meikle

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2010, 04:04:57 PM »
You say "Most other MMOs [do what WoW does but better]" and then go on a rant about Blizzard stealing ideas from itself instead of substantiating the claim.

Alright, back to backing off.  I'll come back if someone has a counterpoint to make that doesn't also have a chip on their shoulder about WoW. :p
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 04:07:37 PM by meikle »

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2010, 04:17:55 PM »
Blizzard’s business model seems to be making millions while spending little.  That is the basic dream of any company that is designed to make money, which Blizzard is a money making company.  Not quite sure where any confusion can be found in their model or success.  Large profits, minimal overhead.  Very simple business strategy.

As for new games, they just released Wings of Liberty which was one of the fastest selling titles in history.  If you are going to judge them as a business then they are probably the best gaming company out there.
Oh, I agree it's the best, worst business model out there. Good because it makes them  money now at low overhead. Bad because it's eventually going to stagnate like you wouldn't believe. Maybe Blizzard has something good up its sleeve but if you look at Star Craft II. Can they really wait twelve years to make another game? It's good for money, bad if you want to keep yourself in the video game industry. Seriously, twelve years? That's like waiting twelve years for a new book in a series? I can't actually think of an example it's most likely rare or nonexistent. Sure a book is simpler and I'm accounting for the difference. I don't think anyone should have to wait in excess of five years for a company to produce a new title. Six at most.

Offline meikle

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2010, 04:21:38 PM »
Oh, I agree it's the best, worst business model out there. Good because it makes them  money now at low overhead. Bad because it's eventually going to stagnate like you wouldn't believe. Maybe Blizzard has something good up its sleeve but if you look at Star Craft II. Can they really wait twelve years to make another game? It's good for money, bad if you want to keep yourself in the video game industry. Seriously, twelve years? That's like waiting twelve years for a new book in a series? I can't actually think of an example it's most likely rare or nonexistent. Sure a book is simpler and I'm accounting for the difference. I don't think anyone should have to wait in excess of five years for a company to produce a new title. Six at most.

It didn't take twelve years for Blizzard to release a new title.  Diablo 2 was released two years after StarCraft.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2010, 04:30:13 PM »
It didn't take twelve years for Blizzard to release a new title.  Diablo 2 was released two years after StarCraft.
Diablo 2 isn't technically a new title and yes, Starcraft 2 isn't either, but it's the closest thing I could call to mind that Blizzard has produced in recent years. WOW is a spin-off. Get my drift? Blizzard actually hasn't produced an new IP in what fourteen years?

Offline meikle

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2010, 04:36:03 PM »
Diablo 2 isn't technically a new title and yes, Starcraft 2 isn't either, but it's the closest thing I could call to mind that Blizzard has produced in recent years. WOW is a spin-off. Get my drift? Blizzard actually hasn't produced an new IP in what fourteen years?
Technically, yes it is.  Technically, so is Wings of Liberty.  Sequels are still new titles.

If your point is that they haven't generated a new intellectual property in the form of a new setting, well, why is that a mark against them?  Games Workshop only uses Warhammer and Warhammer 40K (and they have: successful wargames (WHFB, WH40K, Battlefleet Gothic, Epic), successful tabletop RPGs, less-successful card games, defunct skirmish games.  Wizards of the Coast are still just making Magic: the Gathering in the card game realm (they've branched out in the past and failed).  How many Halo games are there? Halo, 2, 3, Reach, Halo Wars, ODST? Most of Stephen King's books come together in the Dark Tower universe, does that mean he's not creative?  White Wolf still only does World of Darkness and Exalted, to the point that even their spinoff IPs like video games (V:tM and V:tM Bloodlines, the upcoming World of Darkness MMO) and card games (The Eternal Struggle) fall back on World of Darkness.

But it's okay: people like World of Darkness.  It's a fun setting.  There's a lot that can be done with it.  There's no reason to reinvent the wheel if you don't have to.

Reusing intellectual property -- when it is intellectual property that people like and want more of -- is not a bad thing, and it's kind of a really arbitrary position to take.  If StarCraft 2 is what they want to make, why should that have to reskin everything if the StarCraft IP covers the desired mechanical game just fine?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 04:39:01 PM by meikle »

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2010, 04:47:55 PM »
Yes intellectual property would be a better word and I'm not going to argue semantics.

Yes, and no. Video games are not a stable as they used to be. They have emerged into the greater part of the main-stream media. Sure you can look at Magic, or table top games, but none of those garner the same kind of saturation that video games are getting lately. There are huge calls for new IP. More so than any other market. Books, aren't really comparable because they have longer shelf-lives, and sure you can look at the old-school gamer and say, "They still play the classics."

But the old-school is inevitably going to give away to the new, I'm a person kind of in the middle. However, many of the old-school if you look are playing the same titles. Mario Bros, but not Mario Galaxy. Video games is shifting. Hell even i.d. Software is coming out with new IP. They know Doom and Quake are losing their relevance in a modern market.

Eventually people are just going to get bored of playing "another Warcraft game."

Offline meikle

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2010, 04:56:14 PM »

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2010, 04:58:02 PM »

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2010, 08:56:04 PM »
You say "Most other MMOs [do what WoW does but better]" and then go on a rant about Blizzard stealing ideas from itself instead of substantiating the claim.

OK, fair enough.  For example, a game that's come after Lord of The Rings Online, does the same thing in terms of basic animation, but actually breaks few molds.  However, LoTRO pretty much keeps the attack skills as powers, although, each and every one has a separate animation.

For example, they have a Plate Wearer that's built as PURE DPS, not a Tank, like the WoW Warrior was originally, which was a hold over from EverQuest.  Which Blizzard had said they were going to change, but didn't until the 2.x.x patch series.  Oh, the LoTRO class is called the 'Champion'.

As does a relatively new game called Aion, with the Gladiator.  And that game feels a LOT more like WoW, but even it has a lot better graphics and a new plane for PvP combat.  Aerial.  You can FLY in that game.

If you want for something different, then let's look at Dungeon and Dragons Online, the combat is actually interactive.  You click your left mouse button to swing your weapon up to 4 separate swings (If you're a Fighter) and it was #3 on the charts for 2009 (And it's an AMERICAN Free To Play game, that does a smart thing with it's Micro Transactions.  See anything you can buy off their market, you can get in game for free, as long as you're willing to play for it.)

Thing is as for WoW, in the beginning, it pretty much hewed as close as it could to the EverQuest game model, with it's classes, much to the disappointment to some of it's fanbase.  But we kept soldiering hoping to see if Blizz would finally implement some of their changes for some of the Classes (Namely the Paladin and the Warrior) it took a while but they did.

Alright, back to backing off.  I'll come back if someone has a counterpoint to make that doesn't also have a chip on their shoulder about WoW. :p

I have nothing against WoW.  In fact, I have Cata coming (As a gift) and a friend renewed my sub before I could get my income tax return to pay for about 6 months.

I LIKE WoW, but I'm under NO illusions as to what it is, nor how it does it.

Offline Jude

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2010, 11:31:42 PM »
I hate WoW but I don't have anything against people who play it, it's simply the opposite of what I enjoy in terms of games.  I'm into hardcore games, not casual experiences, and I don't say that with some sort of secret subtext agenda of "and thus I think casual gaming is inferior" -- it's not.  WoW is successful because it's not ridiculously tedious and hardcore like damn near every other MMORPG out there.

To most that's a good thing, to a few that's bad, I just happen to be in the small minority of people who like games that force me to make heavy investments and give me the depth to design my character in a great number of customizable ways.  WoW is lacking in what I enjoy.

Offline Xanatos

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2010, 02:05:08 AM »
I don't claim to have played every MMORPG out there, but WoW and Guild Wars are pretty freaking tedious if you want to get anywhere. Admittedly since I stopped playing and before I came back briefly, WoW added in patches which made leveling easier yes. That still didn't eliminate any of the mind numbingly boring grinding however. Grinding is what makes MMO's tedious, instanting/raiding isn't tedious (generally), they are fun (although raiding can get stupid). So I'm not sure what counts as tedious if WoW is seen as "not so tedious". Half the reason I dropped WoW was because of the grinding, the other half was the people and because people treated the game like a job when one got into max level game content.

As far as I can see and have heard, most MMO's are similar if not exactly like WoW since everyone wants to emulate the 900 pound guerrilla. To not do so is to invite death or if one is lucky, success, which I haven't seen much of yet not including the free MMO's which still can't even come close to matching the 11 million+ subscribers WoW has.

I also have to beg to differ on the investment of time. WoW and Guild Wars both took up all available hours of my time when I played them; and WoW by itself is indirectly responsible for causing people to have all kinds of personal problems thanks to being addicted. Basically the term "WoWcrack" sums it up nicely. I personally logged in over 300 hours on one character alone in Guild Wars, not including the other max level 20's I have, which most of I played on a regular basis if not as much as the above mentioned character. I spent waaay to much time on those -shivers-. If I had not already been soured by the people from Guild Wars, which my dislike transferred over to WoW, I probably would have remained a player for much longer and in turn would have logged in an obscene amount of time into as well.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2010, 08:33:27 AM »
Probably, but that time isn't yet:

StarCraft II sold 1 million copies in 24 hours
WoW has 12 million players
2.8 million of those players bought the most recent expansion the day it came out.

In conclusion:

They're way ahead of you, friend.
What they don't tell you is the number of people who threw their PC game in the trash or don't play it. Still 1 million copies is low in 24 hours for a company with such a pedigree. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 sold twice that I think in the same time. Plus SC 2 only sold 1.5 in 48. So that means that it only resonated with its die-hard fan base. Continuing to have their titles PC only is probably going to do them in. Even i.d. Software is branching out into the console market.

Missed my point a bit did you? I never said they were doing poorly now. I'm saying despite this new MMO (which I believe aren't so much games as excuses to prey on addictive personalities to make money) Blizzard needs new blood. So many developers are pushing the envelope and I don't think Blizzard is going to stay around much longer. Like I said MMOs are fairly standardized wherever you find them so it's hardly new, or innovative.

At the end of the day, Blizzard, like Square, loves their formula. Sure they up it graphically and in polish but it's still strict. They're show a high degree of rigidity or an inability to cope with change (in the case of Square). That invariably leads to stagnation and failure. Maybe Blizzard goes in ten years, or fifteen but to them that's just the time to develop Starcraft III. It's a lack of diversification really. 

Offline NCIJade

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2010, 11:00:52 AM »
Diversification isn't always a good thing. I'd rather a company stretch themselves over a small number of IPs and do them really, really well, than have a staggering number of IPs and every game using them be mediocre.

Quote
So many developers are pushing the envelope

Care to give some examples? And honestly? Pushing the envelope is usually what does a company in, not projects them into the stratosphere of success. There are exceptions, but pushing the envelope equates to taking a lot of risks, and in an era where the 4.7 million copies that Modern Warfare 2 sold in it's first 24 hours isn't so much rare as a one-time occurrence, there's simply no reason for studios to take those risks.

Modern Warfare wasn't the only game that sold like gangbuster's. BUT, here's the caveat: every recent game that has shattered the single-day sales records has been a sequel. Modern Warfare 2, which itself is just a modern reboot of the ancient Call of Duty franchise. Halo Reach didn't top MW2's sales, but it did top Halo 3's, and both games are just shiny new presentations of the same core gameplay.

And this isn't a bad thing. Yes, it's always really exciting to see new IP, and to see it done well, but the way consumers have steered the market, we just aren't going to see it very often anymore. We only have ourselves to blame. Why would Bungie make a new IP when they can make over $200M in a 24 hour period by adding some new gameplay elements to their standard Halo design? You can't call it greedy or selfish, or claim that they just see dollar signs. It's good business practice. Would you rather them risk it all and go under on a new IP that went bust?

As long as the games are polished and fun to play, we as consumers have no right to complain. The sales they are seeing tell them this is what we want.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2010, 11:06:23 AM »
Diversification isn't always a good thing. I'd rather a company stretch themselves over a small number of IPs and do them really, really well, than have a staggering number of IPs and every game using them be mediocre.

Care to give some examples? And honestly? Pushing the envelope is usually what does a company in, not projects them into the stratosphere of success. There are exceptions, but pushing the envelope equates to taking a lot of risks, and in an era where the 4.7 million copies that Modern Warfare 2 sold in it's first 24 hours isn't so much rare as a one-time occurrence, there's simply no reason for studios to take those risks.

Modern Warfare wasn't the only game that sold like gangbuster's. BUT, here's the caveat: every recent game that has shattered the single-day sales records has been a sequel. Modern Warfare 2, which itself is just a modern reboot of the ancient Call of Duty franchise. Halo Reach didn't top MW2's sales, but it did top Halo 3's, and both games are just shiny new presentations of the same core gameplay.

And this isn't a bad thing. Yes, it's always really exciting to see new IP, and to see it done well, but the way consumers have steered the market, we just aren't going to see it very often anymore. We only have ourselves to blame. Why would Bungie make a new IP when they can make over $200M in a 24 hour period by adding some new gameplay elements to their standard Halo design? You can't call it greedy or selfish, or claim that they just see dollar signs. It's good business practice. Would you rather them risk it all and go under on a new IP that went bust?

As long as the games are polished and fun to play, we as consumers have no right to complain. The sales they are seeing tell them this is what we want.
You're going way off on the MW2 tangent. That was just an example of how "A million units in a day" isn't as such a big deal. I think Fallout 3 sold a mill too. It was just an example. I agree it's not new in terms of game play. It's really hard to find something truly original but I really don't think Blizzard is bringing in new fans with its non-MMO properties.

Offline NCIJade

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #39 on: November 09, 2010, 11:20:11 AM »
It's not really a tangent, considering your argument seems to be that Blizzard needs new IPs or it's going to stagnate and die, and mine is that the numbers say otherwise.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #40 on: November 09, 2010, 11:23:33 AM »
It's not really a tangent, considering your argument seems to be that Blizzard needs new IPs or it's going to stagnate and die, and mine is that the numbers say otherwise.
Well, yes there current IPs are holding but they won't hold forever. Maybe my predictions are wrong but you kind of do need IPs to stay in the game but Blizzards business model is geared for maximum money minimal effort. This is good, but how many brand new Blizzard fans have you talked to? Most Blizzard people I know have been on the wagon forever.

Offline LIAR

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #41 on: November 09, 2010, 11:43:04 AM »
I could tell you of three new people in the past four months. Yeah, Blizzard hasn't done anything mindblowingly new lately, but so what? The point of the industry is to make games people enjoy, and that's what they're doing.

Offline Aiden

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #42 on: November 09, 2010, 11:46:57 AM »
Well, yes there current IPs are holding but they won't hold forever. Maybe my predictions are wrong but you kind of do need IPs to stay in the game but Blizzards business model is geared for maximum money minimal effort. This is good, but how many brand new Blizzard fans have you talked to? Most Blizzard people I know have been on the wagon forever.

Not really if you have a fan base, you do not have to cater to the minority. In this case the minority would be you Inkudu. I have introduced some of my friends and family into wow and from their we have jumped ship to other games, from there they went into Diablo, Warcraft RTS and Starcraft.

Offline NCIJade

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #43 on: November 09, 2010, 11:53:06 AM »
Quote
Blizzards business model is geared for maximum money minimal effort.

Uhm. I'm not sure that's fair to say. I have no experience in the industry, but I can't imagine that just because SC2, Diablo 3, and WoW are pre-existing IPs that means it takes them minimal effort to develop. I do play WoW, and I can tell you it doesn't seem like the devs ever get a moment's rest. There's ALWAYS work to be done. That doesn't sound like minimal effort to me.

Quote
This is good, but how many brand new Blizzard fans have you talked to? Most Blizzard people I know have been on the wagon forever.

No argument there, but the question is, how much does that really matter? WoW alone has 12 million + active subscriptions, I don't think they're in dire need of new fans. And, the same can be said of any developer these days (that most of their fan base has been on board for a long time). It's very rare for a new one to break out onto the market, and if they do it's not usually with a wildly innovative and totally original concept.

Offline meikle

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #44 on: November 09, 2010, 01:03:35 PM »
What they don't tell you is the number of people who threw their PC game in the trash or don't play it.
The twelve million are people who are giving blizzard their money every month.

I feel confident saying that the number of people who bought StarCraft 2 and promptly threw the disc away is a tiny fraction of one percent.

Quote
Still 1 million copies is low in 24 hours for a company with such a pedigree. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 sold twice that I think in the same time. Plus SC 2 only sold 1.5 in 48. So that means that it only resonated with its die-hard fan base. Continuing to have their titles PC only is probably going to do them in. Even i.d. Software is branching out into the console market.
Yep, Call of Duty sold really well.  It also targets a different market than StarCraft 2.  First you complain that Blizzard is not being creative enough, and now you're complaining that they're making the games they want to make (PC RTS) instead of the genres that sell the best (console FPS) -- so which is it?  Is Blizzard bad because they're not creative + artistic enough, or is Blizzard bad because they're not following market trends closely enough?  You can't have it both ways.

Quote
Missed my point a bit did you? I never said they were doing poorly now. I'm saying despite this new MMO (which I believe aren't so much games as excuses to prey on addictive personalities to make money) Blizzard needs new blood. So many developers are pushing the envelope and I don't think Blizzard is going to stay around much longer. Like I said MMOs are fairly standardized wherever you find them so it's hardly new, or innovative.
"I think" is not a reliable source.  What you think about MMOs doesn't change the fact that lots of people like them -- especially WoW.  Your argument was "They need new intellectual property!"  Their new MMO is new intellectual property.  Now your argument is "MMOs aren't real games!"  Totally different (still baseless) argument.  Stop moving your goal posts.

(PS: If MMOs aren't games and are just 'an excuse to prey on addictive personalities', then your argument fails: if people are addicted, they don't care if the WarCraft IP is stagnant. :) )

This also contradicts your earlier premise (in this very post) that instead of trying to do things differently than everyone else, Blizzard should be following the Modern Warfare model of "do what sells."

Quote
At the end of the day, Blizzard, like Square, loves their formula. Sure they up it graphically and in polish but it's still strict. They're show a high degree of rigidity or an inability to cope with change (in the case of Square). That invariably leads to stagnation and failure. Maybe Blizzard goes in ten years, or fifteen but to them that's just the time to develop Starcraft III. It's a lack of diversification really.

There are like fourteen Final Fantasy games, and Square has done even more in that genre.  They work most strictly in the realm of the JRPG (but still branch out -- I don't play JRPGs as a rule, but The World Ends With You is amazing, and totally outside of Square's 'formula') -- Blizzard has two RTS franchises (one that focuses almost entirely on micro play, one that focuses on a hybrid of macro+micro), Diablo (which is essentially its own genre at this point), and WoW.

Maybe you would like to present some evidence to support your claim that Blizzard's sky is falling, instead of just saying "i think it is" ?


edit: tl;dr, "Blizzard has the most profitable video game franchise in history, therefore they are going to fail" is a ... a really sloppy argument.  And you contradict yourself all the time.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2010, 01:09:09 PM by meikle »

Offline Xenolord

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #45 on: November 09, 2010, 01:08:54 PM »
*wouldn't mind a StarCraft MMO* >.>

Win. *Waits to roll his Hydralisk.*

But more on the subject, I can see both sides of the argument. Sure, they haven't really done anything new yet. They do what every other business does, and that's what makes them money. They know their niche, and they exploit it for everything they can get.

HOWEVER, I am not so blinded by their glitz and glamor to ignore the company's inheriently flawed business practices. They refuse to listen to the people paying their paychecks, they ignore the gold spammer problem because those idiots do pay for accounts. They're too blinded by the dollar signs in their eyes to fix these problems, that I think are glaring problems, turning their gold to grime.

All in all, Blizzard walks a very fine line with me.

Offline meikle

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #46 on: November 09, 2010, 01:11:17 PM »
A lot of people complain that Blizzard listens too closely to their playerbase, heh.

Gold spam is a million times less of a problem than it was a few years ago.

Offline NCIJade

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #47 on: November 09, 2010, 01:23:44 PM »
They refuse to listen to the people paying their paychecks, they ignore the gold spammer problem because those idiots do pay for accounts. They're too blinded by the dollar signs in their eyes to fix these problems, that I think are glaring problems, turning their gold to grime.

Care to cite some examples of this? For one, agreed with meikle, the gold spam problem is a lot better than it has been in the past, and for another, they ban accounts ALL THE TIME. There's just simply no comprehensive way to do away with gold sellers that doesn't involve Blizzard themselves offering gold for money. Banning accounts does nothing. They just get a new one. Even banning individual IP addresses would probably not make a dent in the problem.

What exactly do you mean by "they refuse to listen to the people paying their paychecks"?

Offline meikle

Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #48 on: November 09, 2010, 01:25:49 PM »
What exactly do you mean by "they refuse to listen to the people paying their paychecks"?

Presumably he's not referring to this, where Blizzard said "We're going to make it so that to post on our forums, you have to use your real name," and people went "What the fuck blizzard that is not legit!" and then they cancelled it because the people paying their paychecks were unhappy :3

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Blizzard Business Model
« Reply #49 on: November 09, 2010, 04:27:31 PM »
Getting a little heated. I'm going to go ahead and lock this.