Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blizzard needs your cash...

Seems a discussion on Ardwulfs blog yesterday (In Defense of Blizzard) led to some much heated debate over why anyone believes a company is "greedy" if they want to make money.

(EDIT: Looks like Blizzard is being VERY safe about this discussion. They made it QUITE clear now that Battle.net will at least not be a monthly...Good for them. I rest easier now...)

One commenter, Rao, from Gestalt Mind, had this to say

"I have never understood the gamer attitude of, “Oh my god! They want to charge us for that? Money-grubbing evil bastards!”

Gaming companies are just that… companies. They are there to make money. That is their reason for being, but gamers seem to take it so personally that the game companies want to make a living.

You don’t see Burger King adding a new sandwich to their menu and then fast food junkies all over the planet start getting all up in arms because Burger King charges for them, but yet gamers do this."

I started another long winded comment, and decided to bring it here...

@Rao
May I ask this? Does Burger King offer anything free? And then decide to charge you for it?
Lets say you buy a Burger, and the fries were free.
Then they decide one day that they must charge you for those fries.
How would you react?
Would you think "Oh poor Burger King must be hurting for money, and they must charge for those fries now...good for them"
or
"Burger King is declining in business, and they need our money..."

Yea...that is what it is like.

All I am saying is if they decide to "charge" for Battle.net, then they better offer a reason.
Look at HG:L. They had the game as a free service. Yet, if you paid for a monthly they added a ton of features to your game.
Now, back to the Burger King deal. Lets say they decide to charge for the fries...but originally they were a medium, and they switch it to a large, THEN charge.

This is how it is done.

Look at the ways Guild Wars monetized.

Extra Character slot - Charge
Unlock skills for PvP - Charge

Services are the way to monetize. Maybe THIS should have been the route. People want to feel they are getting something for their money.

If Battle.net is still a glorified chat room lobby to meet others or sell stuff...you can manage this through some other way (say X-Fire).

Now, Blizzard has mentioned charging for "customization" of your look.

THIS is the way to monetize.

As long as the only way to get that look is by fees and not something that is already offered in character creation...cool.
Also, the item you buy cannot be a drop either.

It sounds like everyone believes I think Blizzard should not be making money...far from it.

But, they need to be careful HOW they make it is all.

@Tipa
"Games companies are in the business to make money, and maybe monetizing b.net will finally drive all the b.net kiddies off to Xbox Live where they will be safely away from real gamers."

Ouch (we won't go into a study done that showed the average age of the Xbox 360 user is 35-44)..
But, to honestly think that "monetizing" gets rid of kids...uh, have you played WoW? I have found 14 and 15 year old kids in EQ2 with bad attitudes many a time.
This is far from the purpose of the monetizing, and to think such a thing is foolish.
This was just a silly attack on Xbox live users. And I agree that there are a ton of mouthy brats (my son included) on the service.
But, it sure will not drive away that kid that needs everything, which happen to be the ones who are the mouthiest.
It will just cement a more "elitist" attitude if anything.

The monetizing will just engender attitudes across the board. Blizzard is seen as a powerhouse right now, and so far is STILL not slowing down (this seems to be the argument of WHY Blizzard needs to charge) and if sales are any indication, WoW is still topping the charts even though WAR has taken the top spot for several weeks.

This is just greed at this point.

Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 will both sell like madness. They will earn funds which should help with Blizzards continued development of their next big MMO.

And believe me, THAT MMO will sell also. THIS will be their next cash cow.

Battle.net is just a slap in the face to the fans of these games. And fans are fickle.

Guess we will have to wait and see how this progresses. To me, Blizzard can have my cash for Diablo 3.

Battle.net will be off the table for me....

But of course, I see the removal of LAN play as the slap on the other cheek. And guess what...blind fanboys will also turn that cheek, no question asked...

Sorry...maybe I should feel sorry for poor Blizzard....

Whatever!

6 comments:

Hudson said...

I am so there for Diablo 3. Maybe it will solve my MMO hopping once and for all? I think so.

As for the micro transactions. The only time I hate to see it is when a company like NCSOFT gets their hands on it for integral IN GAME functions like a character respec. WTF? Charging real money to swap out character abilities?

Openedge1 said...

If anything, MMO's are starting to be a pain.
The games do not really offer anything really creative anymore.
Some are fun to play once in a while (AoC, EQ2, Guild Wars)..
But, I have had more fun in my single player games of late (Viking, Mass Effect, Lost Odyssey).
Diablo 3 could be fun, but I hope LAN options are NOT pulled.
If so, I will not be on board.

As to multiplayer fun, Fable 2 is coming up in a little over a week.
Same couch co-op and world sharing through Xbox live is truly the ticket.

This game will be a winner.

Rao said...

In all honesty, my comments were more aimed at the general over-reaction that a lot of gamers have towards gaming companies in general. I admit that I did a poor job of being specific.

To be more specific, how many times have gamers referred to Sony as "The Evil Empire" and made comments about "All they care about is money?"

Personally, I don't know anything about Battle.net. I had never even heard of it until Ardwulf made his post. If it was a free service and is suddenly, without warning, becoming a paid service, I agree that this is wrong. However, if it is an intellectual property of Blizzard that they have offered for free and they are changing to a paid service and are giving ample warning for that change, I agree that this is not the most customer-friendly of changes, but as the owner of the property, they have the right.

Again though, I don't know anything about this particular argument. I don't know the history, the present or the future of it. Just making an observation.

My comment was more in line with the first example in this reply and, to further illustrate, this one.

Sony is now offering an in-game card game for EQ, EQ2 and SWG. Nearly every day, I see a post or a forum reply from some player throwing a tirade about Sony charging for LoN and how unfair it all is. If you point out to them that the card game is totally optional and that they don't have a pay a dime for it if they don't want to, they counter with, "Well, I can't get the paintings/mounts/illusions/whatever unless I buy the packs. It's not fair."

The whole argument thing over businesses having the audacity to try to make money has just worn thin on me. Perhaps, being totally ignorant of Blizzard and Battle.net, I spoke out of turn.

adingworld said...

The game companies charge what they can get away with and/or chooses a model which they think may maximize their profit in the long run.

Blizzard probably feels they can add charges because more people with accept this than a few years ago; MMO games have made more people used to the concept of paying extra for the ongoing service aspects.

Have the operational costs for online games increased over the years? Probably not, more likely that it has decreased "per player" - at least with similar architectures and solutions for the infrastructure.

But they are not really in a position where they compete with price; maybe if there were true WoW clones out there it would be another matter...;)

Openedge1 said...

@Rao
Ok, lets look at it this way..(please know I am not singling you out in anyway...)

You are charged your monthly for EQ2 as an example..
Then they decide they need to monetize LoN and will charge an extra fee for LoN now.
You as an EQ2 player cannot get out of this feature, as it links to the game and to continue updating EQ2 you must pay that extra for LoN.
Either quit EQ2 or play it offline now.
This is one example...but, like we have said...we are unsure if Battle.net will offer anything beyond the online service lobby for D3 or Starcraft 2..
But, the above example is what happens...LoN is free now, but if they "need" to monetize it...how will you feel?
Especially if it kills a feature for your game?

I am with adingworld here.
The amount of money Blizzard has made has been tremendous, and charging for something that was once free with no information of enhancements to that offering smacks more of greed and less of a "service".
There is no possible way it can cost MORE to do this feature, especially the way that technology works.
As time goes on, the cost of technology goes DOWN.
If Guild Wars can have a lobby service (every city in GW) free STILL, and only sell the box and profit..Then Blizzard sounds like the money grubbers they are.

Rao said...

Don't worry. I wasn't feeling singled out. I have actually enjoyed the discussion.

I keep writing another reply, but it keeps turning into a mini-novel. I don't want to clutter up your comments page though. I might end up turning my thoughts on the matter into a post. We'll see. I think it is probably a discussion silly for me to be in anyway since I can't stand Blizzard games in the first place. :b I suppose I shouldn't care one way or the other.