The Dragyn's Lair: An Open Letter To Blizzard Entertainment - ShadowDragyn Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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The Dragyn's Lair: An Open Letter To Blizzard Entertainment

  • Buy season tickets for every NFL team.
  • Wipe my nose with $100 bills.
  • Occasionally fly to Paris for lunch.

These are a few of the pointless things I would do with my money if I was making the kind of dough Blizzard does.  I'm going to do something we all hate for a moment, and that something is math.  Bear with me, a point will emerge from the fruits of this labor.

Let's look at one game in Blizzard's staple, World of Warcraft.  It's a well known (and Guinness record-setting) fact that WoW has over 12 million current subscribers.  To put that in perspective, there are only 6 U.S. states with a population greater than that, and in fact only about 70 countries that can make the same claim.  If we ignore the retail cost of the game and its three expansions (which is already hundreds of millions of dollars) and focus instead on just the recurring subscription revenues, and assume that all players are paying up front for the cheapest rate (which many aren't, including me), Activision Blizzard pulls in about $2 billion a year.  That's around $160 million per month.  Just for fun, I kept dividing until I realized that Blizzard adds another million to their pile about every other hour.  I feel the need to restate that.

World of Warcraft generates $1,000,000 in residual revenue every two hours.

Here's another healthy dose of perspective for you.  In that same amount of time, I make enough to buy a retail copy of the game and the latest expansion.  But of course, I stop generating money at 5 PM.  Blizzard doesn't bother with such laziness.  Nay, they do this all day, every day.  I assume there is a team of gnomes that takes turns at the printing press, pausing only long enough to pocket the occasional hundred dollar bill.  Why not?  After all, who would possibly notice?

Of course, I can hear some of you thinking already.  "But Shadow, Blizzard has to maintain the servers and pay programmers to work on new content."  "Come on, Shadow!  After taxes and overhead, it's probably only several hundred million a year in net income."  "Shadow, give them a break.  You obviously don't know the going rate of a hundred-foot yacht these days."  Valid points, all.  I'm sure Bobby Kotick cringes every time he looks at his diesel fuel bill after a weekend cruise.  I myself have a Chevy Avalanche that I have to fill up at current gas prices, so I feel his pain.

I promised earlier that I would be going somewhere with all this.  I'm getting there.  Just hold on for a bit longer.

All sarcasm aside, Activision Blizzard has the money to do whatever the hell they want in the game development arena.  They probably start projects for breakfast, throw $10 million in market research at it, decide it's a dumb idea, and cancel them before dinner.  Do you guys appreciate the picture I am trying to draw here?  They are freaking loaded!

I say all that to say this to Blizzard: please, for the love of all the gaming gods and the mortals that worship them, bring your games to consoles.  I know interface is an issue.  I'll be happy to use a mouse and keyboard for them.  And even if most gamers won't, what will it cost you to design a console-friendly interface?  With the talent pool you have available, I'm confident you can do it right.  You've never let us down before.  The hard part is done, right?  The game already exists.  You just need to port it.  What will that cost...five million?  Ten, maybe?  Hell, let's call it twenty!  You'll make that back by the time you get to bed that night!

Surely, there are enough people like me out there to justify the effort and expense.  I've been a Blizzard faithful since Warcraft 2, having bought every game and expansion (including 4 collector's editions) they put out since then.  That is, until now.  I, like many gamers these days, don't want to spend a couple grand to upgrade my computer for the sole purpose of playing StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3.  Especially when everything else I buy is on my PS3.  It's just too much money to justify, even for a Blizzard fanatic like me.

In closing, here is my message to Blizzard.  No one in gaming can deny that you are among the best developers in the world.  Your games are the epitome of quality and polish, and the gameplay is second to none.  In return, we, the faithful fans, have given you our loyalty, along with billions of our hard-earned dollars.  I don't feel it's too much to ask for this in return.  Please, Blizzard.  For all that we have given you, we deserve this.

Besides, I really don't want to explain to my wife that I'm selling our car to finance my Diablo habit.

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