May the 4th be with you!
Blizzard has announced another mobile spinoff of a popular franchise people are still waiting for a proper new installment of. I can only surmise that after the negative reaction last time, they came to the conclusion that people actually didn’t have phones, and that’s why they were upset.
Even worse, while Diablo Immortal at least looks like Diablo (and they’ve caved and will bring it to PC anyway), this new Warcraft game looks like some Clash of Whatever mobile nonsense.
It’s been eight years since Blizzard released an actual new game. They have so many layups in their franchise toolbox, and this is where they’re putting their resources?
To a point, Blizzard have been hemorrhaging so much of their old guard so often over the years to the point I don’t think there’s much left to make a difference. Can you even say they’re the same company of developers who’ve made all their franchises successful at this point, even the ones as recent as Overwatch?
Blizzard as of now is as if a legendary Ship of Theseus, but the magic iron-oak that made it a legend has been more or less entirely replaced by normal timber…
Human body replaces nearly every cell in 7-10 years. You ARE the same person you were seven years ago, and you’re also not. Lose a leg, lose an arm, and it’s gone. Suffer a major injury, or just don’t keep yourself physically or mentally fit, and it’ll atrophy.
Which doesn’t mean that the franchise is dead or that Blizzard is dead. But you do need to temper expectations while they recover. If someone’s going through PT and strengthening their core, maybe don’t expect them to do marathons immediately.
I think there’s a bit of a difference between an individual with an injury and a team being almost entirely replaced with new members.
Wrote up a bunch before realizing that OP was talking about the state of the company, and not the franchise. Which… big difference. Franchises will outlast companies, and in almost every case, you don’t *need* the exact same dev team to make another entry good. You just need quality game makers, who are major fans of the original, who understood what made them great and who are bold enough to innovate rather than just iterate.
But companies aren’t “getting back to 100%”. They’re constant change and growth. And if the growth is going in a bad direction, correction is difficult
Franchises need quality makers who are also fans of the product.
The most notable example I can give currently is the quality difference between the Star Wars movies (made for Hollywood) and the TV shows (Mandalorian, Clone Wars etc. made for fans).
There’s a lot of knowledge, history, lore, and particular approaches and skills that go when a dev team loses most of its key players. I’ve been on one of those teams and I’ve been contracted into environments where this happened on an even larger scale (bigger company, now one in the $bn+ globally). You can find good coders and game designers and architects. What tends to not really come back is the overall vision and the interconnectivity of many separate threads in the overall setting. In my experience, and having also seen many games that evolved from great games (in… Read more »
Unless the developers are replaced with exact duplicates of themselves, your analogy falls short.
Losing key team members I think is problematic for their live service games. They lost the talent that made those titles successful and as such they will flounder until they can find designers that can breath new life into, or at least stabilize, these titles. As far as new product go though… I don’t know why anyone is surprised that Blizzard has been focusing on mobile titles lately. Their prime directive is to take a popular genre, skin it with one of their IPs, add the Blizzard polish to it, and release. You know what is popular right now? Mobile… Read more »
Mobile ad-infested on a platform that just isn’t as rich as consoles or PCs is just not something I value, but there is a general feel that mobile is a critical revenue stream that should be cultivated (for shallower, more casual games) and if they can slap on a mobile front end to some existing IP, that’s a low cost release. Whether it is intersting enough to not be a flop…. that’s a risk. The software dev house I worked for for 11 years broke off a game studio with the idea of taking our general software expertise into the… Read more »
A team, band, or organization can change all of it’s members and still be the same, however it has to be accepted that it is not EXACTLY the same and that the contributions of people involved influenced it. The Dolphins sports team was never the same without Dan Marino, ACDC was NOT the same band after Bon Scott died, there are examples of both positive and negative change with this sort of replacement.
I understand they need money. Every company does. I just dont understand how on earth anyone selling a product they know their customers want, manages to fuck that up completely. Do they not do market research anymore? Is their “development team” only made up of memelords and trolls? It is amazing to me, that despite the CLEAR response of fans that they DO NOT WANT A MOBILE GAME they still went ahead and did it. Can you imagine that happening with any other type of company and product and it then being okay? “We sell milk, you like our milk,… Read more »
Well, it’s actually pretty simple. Blaming their developers is entirely wrong, since it’s the higher-ups that make the decision on what they’re going to work on next and the higher-ups rarely actually understand their own products or audiences. They do, however, hear “mobile games” and “billions of dollars” and, well, that’s really literally the only thing it takes.
Greed + ignorance is seldom a good combination.
you are right, i mistyped. Of course it is not always the developer themselfes who make these decisions, they just implement it and follow a roadmap. I was talking about financies, bosses and other higher ups who dont play themselfes and just see the business side of things. But even if you dont game and even if you only see revenue, dont they ever ask “how did it go?” “do you think this new game will be a success”? If the person in front of them goes: “its gonna be great mate” and then fucks off to another company, then… Read more »
Depends on the culture – I personally worked at places where the bearer of bad news often got layed off. The boss at that place didnt want competant workers, he wanted yes men. And hey, it aint my money he’s torching with bad ideas, and I would like to stay employed, so I shut up, started looking for other work, and just went along with whatever stupid idea he came up with this week Perhaps its the same here, the want a mobile game cash cow, and anyone saying no will be removed one way or another. Hell overwatch probably… Read more »
That’s prettty much how Scott Adam’s (creator of Dilbert) would see it. Senior management only hear key things that get their attention (buzzwords and things related to inflowing money) and they really don’t care about the actual product. They care that the company as a whole is profitable.
It’s easy for a company to assume that those fans are an extremely vocal minority, and that the vast majority of players would like something different. Because often, that’s exactly the case. And WOW is huge. Over 100 million people have made an account for WOW. The vast majority of who have since stopped playing and lived for a decade or more away from it, not necessarily gaming. They’re not looking to please existing fans; they want to win back old fans who left. You want to recapture that magic, bring them back, entice them – ESPECIALLY with an extremely… Read more »
I think you’re right and there’s a lucrative market for mobile games like this. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I kinda assume these higher-ups have. Annoying the most vocal of their core fans might even be a bad long-term strategy… maybe… but I’m confident that such launches are at least profitable in the short-term.
To be fair, I think the backlash aginst the diablo one wouldn’t have been there if they’d been open from the start that it was a mobile game. People were expecting Diablo 4 or at least Diablo 2 remastered and so all the audience wasn’t the people who would be interested in Diablo Mobile.
Thing is, do we have stats on how well diablo immortal did? Or how poorly? We know that publishers, with certain monetization models, don’t really need to care about their former core audience. Especially when it comes to mobile style games a large chunk of the profit seems to stem from whales, not the average ‘consumer’ I feel this is a bit like how some companies are dead set on NFT’s, no matter what. They just decided that whatever backlash they might receive now, it will be worth it in the long run due to all the money they can… Read more »
As someone else suggested, developers are not at fault. Their job is to code the widgets so they work well. Make them stable, optimized, and adaptable. They typically don’t have much say in what the game will be like, just that their module works well. The decision on what the game will actually BE, comes from up on high: management. Then you have designers craft what that game will play like: mechanics, engine rules, etc. Then the requirements gets passed to the developers. Now managements decision can vary. They can rely on surveys and market research, or just shoot from… Read more »
Blizzard: What, you STILL don’t want our mobile games?! Fine, pachinko machines it is…
Pachinko machines are the end point for Japanese companies, blizzard and Activision are both American companies. Thier end point is mobile casin- i mean “games”
I dread to think all that is just an example of “this isn’t even my final form” kind of situation.
brave of you to assume activision isnt being targeted by konami
You joke, but that is the exact direction Konami went towards.
I’m kind of curious how bringing Diablo: Immortal to PC will change things. I mean, they can’t actually make a it a good full game, because then they’re competing directly with DIV. But they can’t screw it up too bad ,because that’ll impact DIV sales. Delay DIV for a year? Close down DII and DIII servers to force people over? I can see many choices, but none with actual good results.
DIV isn’t ready to release for at least a year anyway. Same with OW2, they are both slated for 2023. So it makes at least some sense to tie people over with cheap to make games in the meanwhile.
6 years not 8.. overwatch was released in May 2016 and by my count it was 6 years ago not 8.
He’s referring of course only to real games, like Hearthstone which came out in 2014. 😉
To be fair, I don’t see how they could really make another mainline game while WoW is still active and progressing. If they did, it’d probably have to be a prequel, past campaign already covered in WoW, or some side story with little impact or connection to the bulk of the current lore.
Caverns of Time type of deal. Have an entity interfering in Warcraft History and let the player be a Bronze Dragon or something similar, trying to prevent/correct changes by changing form and infiltrating different armies in different times. Gives a pretext to “remake” the original Warcraft I and II with more depth and a story closer to what retcons have done through WoW. Give a bunch of events from Warcraft III you never played through in the original game and/or a few key missions from the original revamped. And allows to explore about anything you want, in any period, wether… Read more »
From what I’ve heard, the people of Blizzard are quite often tired of working on PC games for years. For many veterans there working on mobile games is a fresh change of pace and scenery. They are putting their resources into mobile games, because the people want to work on them. That being said, the game looks like… a mobile game. It looks so average, it doesn’t have anything spectacular. But the game will live and die based on the gameplay. And I’m willing to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt. With the exception of W3R, no game of… Read more »
So you are saying, they should be like Peugeot? be brilliant at sometehing and then when you get bored with it, go and do something else? I dont think thats how corporations noways work. Or a workplace for that matter. Especially american companies dont exactly have a reputation to take the feelings of their employees into account when deciding what to do. And if developer X doesnt want to code Y on PC anymore, hire someone who will.
Because its your revenue stream and his paycheck that is on the line.
what is wrong with peugeot? pretty good car for their prices.
Blizzard is not an indie software house, they don’t do games for passion, they follow the money. If their developers get tired and don’t want to work on the money-worth projects anymore, they’d probably be replaced with someone who would.
When you listen to investors instead of the people buying your products.
Smartphone games make sense. 116.9 million PS4s were sold and 51 XBox 1s. Plus however many dedicated gaming rigs that can handle a modern game (which is probably less, as best selling video games tend to be in the tens of millions range). That’s a potential audience of let’s say 200 million. Heck, let’s make it 250 million. Compared to 6.648 billion, which is the number of people with smartphones. The audience is over 25x larger. Seems like a reasonable place to put their money. Especially after how fickle their PC gamer audience has been, as seen by the reception… Read more »
however, most mobile games are pay to play, be it speedups or time savers or whatever you might think of. What i can already see in front of me is that certain things will limited you playing the game. Because that is what the chinese gaming market is all about. It is flashing your ingame stuff, how much money you spent on it and how awesome you are in that game. However, PC games have, apart from EA titles, been mooooostly free of this (we do have early access titles though….) and if i recall correctly, everytime someone tried that… Read more »
You know what Pay 2 Play games remind me of the most?
Where you pumped quarters into a cabinet endlessly to try and improve and get a higher score. And that’s help up as a classical pinnacle of gaming many grown gamers have nostalgia hard-ons for.
There’s room for both. And it doesn’t take nearly as many people to pop out a mobile game that will make serious bank and help pay the thousands of workers needed to make a AAA for an entitled and toxic fanbase that will inevitably review bomb it on Metacritic.
You think that money is going to get reinvested in other titles rather than lining the stockholders and investor pockets?
Not all the persons who own a smartphone are gamers, though. And not all the mobile gamers are fan of the Diablo’s or Warcraft’s franchise. Quite the opposite, Diablo or Warcraft fans prefer to play on other platforms, I’d guess.
First, anyone who plays Candy Crush or Wordle is technically a “gamer” now.
Second, almost all gamers have mobile devices. And the success of the Switch shows that many of those gamers want games on the go.
And good games, that aren’t Wordle…
You said :
That’s the thing… even if only one-in-five smartphone owners is a “gamer” that’s still over a billion people.
Heck, if only 10% of mobile users are gamers, that’s still an audience three times larger than console & PC gamers.
I initially read this as a joke, saying that only 51 Xbox 1s were sold due to the chip shortage. I laughed, even though you didn’t mean it that way
That’s be the X Box Series X that’s only sold 50 consoles. Because Microsoft wants to make it hard to remember…
To be honest, I was quite excited to have a Diablo game on mobile. Between work, the kids and life, I don’t really have the time to sit down for hours and play, so having it on mobile seemed like a nice way to enjoy Diablo, so I registered to get it since day 1. However, at that point, I’m begining to think they’ll never release it…
They started this a while back (sadly; they hinted at it in interviews a few years ago). Activision shareholders gotta have that sweet, sweet mobile cash. . .
The only problem is that Blizzard’s fanbase is smarter than that of King’s. Most of them will recognize the situation and won’t tolerate the publisher trying to milk them like some sort of heifer. So it’s going to blow up in their faces.
I’m from Toronto, and many here were super-excited that the long-rumoured Toronto level was finally coming to Overwatch.
I was too busy being shocked that Overwatch was still in active development.
I’m thinking maybe it’s the gaming industry as a whole struggling to reel in customers? My current theory is, among other factors, the pandemic made many people reevaluate their time on Earth and what they were doing with it. Maybe they wanted to do something memorable that lasts longer than a thrill of a video game?
Just my five cents. Can’t speak for a whole planet.
Considering that gaming sales have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic, I think it’s fair to say that people HAVE reevaluated their time on earth, and think that they need some more vidjagames.
Wait, what happened to The Campaign? I want to see the cleric resurrected!
He’s on Hold. Enjoy some annoyingly sappy hold music while you wait.
it could be the “time skip” that was mentioned in the last comic. So what you see here, is a kin to a commercial? 🙂
This seems like one of those games mobile manufacturers force you to have on your phone
I still have an old-style flip phone. I am not a phone person and I barely use it. I also don’t have a permanent squint, or crimp in my neck and I don’t like playing games on a tiny screen. But that’s just me.
You are not alone!
If they wherent turning off the 3G network where i live, i would still be able to use my nokia 6230i… 🙁
Yeah, I personally don’t update my phone for years and don’t really use apps for them all that much. I definitely don’t put mobile games on my phone as well.
Was given a company phone for work recently and it had some games on them, so I just play solitaire on it in the break room on my lunch when I finish eating.
tbh I give 0 damn about diablo license but this game looks interesting for a mobile game, even if I allready have hearthstone for this device.
In fairness, Tim, Blizzard is working on their new survival IP. I’m going to insist on calling it CraftCraft though.
Makes sense. I have a phone for 5 years now. First 2 years it was like I didn’t even notice I left it at home or at work. I didn’t even care. Now that bloody thing is with me everywhere.
My personal hope is that we get these releases to keep us complacent while they are still polishing the really awesome new releases they have their main teams working on. [Morgan Freeman Shawshank Redemption voice] “I hope…”
I’m kinda wondering how it works out from the talent/dev perspective. I don’t think that one can easily transition from being a good PC game programmer/designer/maybe even artist to being a good mobile game dev. So the company either has to hire a new team or accept some lower-sales games while existing team learns how to be great at mobile game development – in both cases that’s an investment that assumes you will continue to create new mobile games. I wonder what is the long term strategy here.
I think the difference here is perspective. While I think Blizzard is on the wrong path, I think I see the logic. Some of the people in industrialized countries have game consoles or PC’s and play computer games. Many, many, more people have phones. Lots of people who say “I don’t play video games” play games on their phone. They are shooting for the bigger market but have forgotten that that’s not really the company they are. To get traction with the people on phones they will need to catch lightning in a bottle, not rely of the nostalgia of… Read more »
*Shrug* I could go into how gamers have changed so, even if Blizzard did the same thing that it did 20 years ago, what may have been a layup in the 2000s is not necessarily even a 2-pointer today. This comic involving Tim’s kid and Roblox comes to mind. https://cad-comic.com/comic/not-like-this/ Or I could go into how Activision Blizzard is in transition and there were probably too many resources sunk into this game to turn back now. But I think I’ll just say: PC game revenue in 2021: 36.7 Billion Console game revenue in 2021: 50.4 billion Mobile game revenue: 93.2… Read more »
the last good game on the blizzard launcher was destiny 2 and we know where that went.
Blizzard basically ended with Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2.
We’re talking about the company that suffers under the delusion that the Dungeon Finder somehow destroyed their community and have therefore decided to exclude it from WotLK Classic, even though that’s the one and only feature I was waiting on before diving back in. Is their continued failure to read the room a surprise to anyone? I’m pretty sure that market research is non-existent over there.
I really want to see the like/dislike ratio on that Warcraft trailer. Who asked for this?!?!? I was hoping they were going to announce an actual Warcraft 4, but I doubt the people left at the studio remember how to make a proper RTS anymore.
8 years? But Overwatch was released in 2016.
I’m not sure if I prefer companies cynically using beloved IPs for quick cash grabs like Blizzard and Konami, or if I prefer them being sold on a firesale like Square Enix reportedly just did.
Maybe, Finally, there will be a finale to Legacy of Kain and another Deus Ex entry?
They have been too busy sexually harassing women and creating a toxic work environment to make new games, so they are phoning it in.
TBF they kind of had a massive upheaval lately and probably lost a lot of good talent.
Blizzard is a lost cause. They’ve got their eyes on the money and their ears shut for what people want. They’re acting with the arrogance of a software giant that can dictate what the consumers have to consume because they’re not getting anything else (or at least that’s what they’re trying). Their products have far better art now but everything else went straight downhill. That’s not even limited to the games itself but shady moves like with Starcraft 2’s editor or how they want you to have a Battle.net account for their products. But what if that one day doesn’t… Read more »
whats a phone? its not a gaming console if skyrim is not on it. this is why my fridge is a console and my phone is not.
Blizzard no longer cares about making games. They care about making money. They will pump out the crappiest piece of software for the least possible effort if they think they can make a buck out of it.
yep, activision motto. ever since blizz north sold out they been stockholders only.
The Diablo immortal still misses a release in germany, so blizzard is dead for me.
I mean yeah…most news coming from blizzard in a long time have just been between bad and worse. From the entire abuse stuff, to overall treatment of their employees, to their tone deaf behaviour at blizzcon… I have a hard time even thinking what their last bigger release that I actually enjoyed was. Maybe Starcraft 2? Diablo 3 was a huge disappointment for me and at this point I am not even angry at that. Unless the entire company really changes from the ground up I don’t even want to support that shitshow. So them not offering anything that would… Read more »
This is what the kids call late stage capitolism… they make more money for a smaller investment over a mobile game with arguably predatory monetization… It’s a good (if amoral) strategy in the short term…
Of course, long term if they don’t produce more AAA quality standalone PC or console games, the value of the IP they’re trying to leverage for their mobile games was fall and EVENTUALLY it will cost them big. Problem is, “eventually” can be a very long time.
As my security company said to me when I complained about not being able to use the web for the cameras “well everyone uses their phones.”
I would love to have been there last time, just to reply with the good old
“I also have a butt hole, it does not mean that I like butt sex”.