Unless you’ve been living under a rock you probably know that Blizzard’s long-awaited best-seller Diablo 3 features a real money auction house, which was implemented recently after a delay of a few weeks. You might not think that a real money AH is a big deal, I’m here to convince you otherwise.
In case you haven’t heard about the happenings in game publisher land, let me bring you up to speed. Recently, Valve announced a tournament for their unreleased DotA remake with the confirmed first place prize of one million dollars (the total prize pool might be higher as that’s only the first place prize). A few days later, Activision, not wanting to be left behind, announced their own Modern Warfare 2 tournament with a prize pool of one million dollars.
Putting aside the fact that the amount of money mentioned is FREAKING HUGE, the interesting thing here is that Valve is putting up prize money for a game that’s not even released yet.
You’ve probably read this news somewhere else today, so just a quick summary. Blizzard announced that the drop in subscription numbers WoW experiences after every expansion is increasing with each expansion. Which isn’t surprising. What’s surprising is how Blizzard are handling this.
Their reaction isn’t:
“We should probably have a look at the expansion development process, maybe we’ve changed a few things there that negatively impact our subs, or alternatively examine the possibility of making a few changes to our expansion development process in order to stop the subscription drops.”
No, their reaction is pants-on-head retarded:
“Clearly, there’s nothing wrong with our development process, which means that the only thing that will fix the subscription drops are more expansions. Let’s simply develop more of them in a faster time frame.”
Yes Blizzard, clearly the way to amend the problem of the public being dissatisfied with your content is to produce more of it. Which will inevitably result in corners being cut in the development, which will make the content even crappier, which will in turn shorten the lifespan of the game even more, which will mean Blizzard will need to churn out content even faster, which means even more corner-cutting,… you get the idea. Now where have I seen this before?
Ah, yes, any other entertainment outlet. Sitcoms, pop music, Hollywood blockbusters, etc. Quantity over quality, that’s how you make money. And Blizzard know it. Milk the cow until its udders fall off, etc.
I could be completely wrong of course, and Blizzard saying they’ll shorten the development cycles means that they will use more manpower to do the same amount of work in a shorter time frame. But because that directly cuts into their revenue, I’d say that’s a long shot. The length of one of my body parts long. It’s a very long body part, I can assure you.