Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WoW . . . Just WoW

I am getting tired of writing these posts. But they seem to occupy a lot of my thoughts and reading time lately. The subject has been brought up by better bloggers than me, that maybe Activision/Blizzard has ulterior motives behind the plan to bring battle.net 2.0/RealID to subscribers as a new kind of Facebook-style social network.

The Pensive Harpy commented extensively on a disturbing trend in the relationship between players and Blizzard, since Activision began the merger effort. Based on a Team Liquid article chronicling the merger and actions taken since by the new company--not to mention stupid comments made by Bobby Kotick, CEO of Actiblizz--it appears that the former clients/customers of Blizzard/WoW have become a commodity that the new company plans to monetize through selling ad space to as yet unknown sponsors. Pai highlights the aforementioned TL post as well as a post by Escape Hatch, illustrating the similarities between the television business model and the apparent business plan of battle.net 2.0.

I am of two minds on this. On the one hand, it disgusts me, because I do not like being used, monetized. My leisure time is too valuable to me to be sold to some advertiser. Of course, the television commercial is a long tradition in the United States, I should be used to it. But really, I rarely watch TV anymore, I spend my ersatz TV time playing computer games and surfing the interchoobs. When I do catch a show, it is usually DVRed, so I can skip the commercials, much like the VCR enabled me to do since the mid-eighties. At home, I use AdBlock Plus, a Firefox addon, to avoid as many ads on the net as I can. A few get through, of course, often embedded in a way that I can't get rid of them (thanks, Yahoo Mail). Don't worry, Facebook. I still have to see your lame singles.net adds at work where I have to use IE for my web browsing, even though I have no interest in them, I simply happen to have a "single" status on your site. The "Try World of Warcraft" adds are amusing, too, considering I already play.

Anyway, I watch TV essentially for free, and I surf the web essentially for free, only paying my cable company for the access to both. Explain to me, Blizzard, why I should pay you money so that you can advertise who-knows-what to me.
There is another theory as to why all this has happened to Blizzard, but it is no less disheartening. Malstrom thinks that maybe the developers at Blizzard have lost touch with the player base, and are doomed to eventual failure before they realize what they have lost.

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