Monday, March 10, 2008

Billion dollar WoW killer

I got a few e-mails linking to various reports on the story that Activision boss Bobby Kotick claimed you couldn't make a viable competitor to WoW even if you invested up to 1 billion dollars. Yeah, I've seen that story, but wasn't originally going to comment on that obvious nonsense. While it is theoretically possible to make a bad game for 1 billion dollars, you'd need to spend that money very unwisely to do so. It is far more likely that you could spend $100 million for a MMORPG which gets 1 million subscribers and then makes $200 million *per year* of revenues. Mr. Kotick had two reasons for his outrageous claim: He needed to explain the Activision Blizzard merger, and he wanted to discourage investors from giving money to future competitors.

A bit later the same guy explained how the new company could make a Call of Duty MMO. Very convincing: First he says viable MMORPGs can't be done even for endless amounts of money, then he invests money in the next MMORPG. I don't know why Vivendi doesn't put a press ban on the guy, they just had to deny an earlier comment from Mr. Kotick announcing in-game ads for Starcraft II. I hope the guy is any good as manager, because he sure shouldn't try doing public relations or game design.

Blizzard is a company making very good games. But the idea that Blizzard somehow could have a monopoly on being the only company to make a successful MMORPG is laughable. And if you'd invest $100 million in a MMORPG *now*, World of Warcraft will be in full decline by the time your game gets out anyway. We haven't seen anything from Blizzard or any other MMORPG company which suggests that you could keep up your subscription numbers for 10 years. WoW will still be *alive* in 2014, but it won't have 10 million subscribers any more. Especially not if they continue with their current expanion model.

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