Monday, January 11, 2010

Blizzards Future MMO

I like prediction posts. I understand they are mostly inaccurate but considering that all video games are based on imagination I think they let us consider the what if’s using our own imagination.

One of my bosses went to school with a Blizzard dev working on the new MMO. Last spring we were talking about Blizzard in general and he gave me a few leaks ahead of time… each one was accurate. The only one he told me about that hasn’t been announced yet is that Blizzard’s next MMO will be FPS related. That news… or I guess it’s still a rumor at this point, is all over the net lately.

Massively has been compiling all the rumors of Blizzards new MMO and it got me thinking. Based on what they have said and what I already know and suspect I have an idea of what Blizzard should do, if they aren’t already.

Let’s cover a few facts. Second Life is a success. It took the MMO game model and altered it for a social environment. The largest group of current WoW subscribers is casual gamers; in fact the majority of all people playing video games are casual. Social internet sites have been dominating the internet for the past 5 years in the same way WoW has dominated the MMO market. Steam is the primary method PC gamers purchase video games and Xbox Live is the most popular console community.

What does all this mean? Simple really; when you put everything together. Blizzard does not want to cannibalize players from World of Warcraft for its new game, that makes no sense. Why would they compete against themselves? This means the new MMO has to be truly different.

I think Blizzard is creating a community much like Second Life and the failed Playstation home. Users will log into a virtual world where they will be able to live. They will be able to a house and decorate it, these houses will facilitate the same uses that Facebook is used for. It will be their main point of access and contact to their friends, different groups, and various other personal areas. It will be a modern aged virtual world… or city more than likely.

To bolster this city Blizzard will add in a FPS game portal. You can jump into a FPS style game with RPG elements and play with friends. This will be a game within their created world. The beauty is Blizzard can launch the FPS game with minimal content because the selling point of their game will be the virtual community. This game will be for the Hardcore gamers, while the world its self will be for the social butterflies.

This will also permit Blizzard to link in all of their current games and future games with the same support and features Steam provides. You could launch all of your Blizzard games through this online world, thus adding to the perceived content of the world. It would also enable Blizzard to bundle multiple game fees together when customers may have only purchased one before.

If Blizzard truly wishes to expand this world even more and possibly dominate the entire gaming market Activision could pull all their titles off Steam and move them to this virtual world Blizzard creates.

The virtual world with no games would get a lot of people not interested in games to log in, and then from there as they become familiar with the controls they could be convinced to buy other Blizzard or Activision products.

If Blizzard and Activision do this, and it works, it would overshadow all other gaming communities.

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