Wednesday, July 7, 2010

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

So now that the bloggers everywhere has once again awoken and are (rightfully so) screaming murder (yaaa Chas is back) the big question seems to be "why are they doing this?"

Several bloggers have explained that this will not cure trolls, completely. Nor will this make the forums a nicer place to be. (it will however make them much quieter.. and easier to moderate... so I guess it will make them nicer)

Noisy rogue even mentioned how he told us so (and I'll be the first to admit it, I doubted things would turn into this.)
Tobold mentions that this might be Blizzards first real Publicity blunder.

I think this was all very intentional.

Spinksville has a dreamquote that i'll start this post off with

There was a time when Blizzard was viewed as a company run by and for gamers. That time is now over. Even aside from the wrongs or rights of the proposal, no company that fails so badly in understanding gamer culture can really claim to be one of us any more.

I think this is very much in line with Tobold who claims this to be a publicity disaster. And it is. What I am saying is, that Blizzard (activision) knew this would happen, but do not give a flying fuck.
Here is why.

First we take social gaming, then we take on social gathering

First Blizz conquered the world of mmo's. There is no doubt about this. The biggest competition they have is aion with (at the most) 1/3 of their player base. This would give any company blood on their teeth. Especially a company owned by Actvision (yea I went there).
First they tried and see if we would buy some cool pets. We would.
Then they tried to see if we'd buy *anything*. We did.

Then their eyes grew wide, and the smell of gold was in the air.

This is how I see this happening:
"God, we are making a lot of money of everything people buy from us"
"yea, wouldn't it be great though, if we could get in on the crowds that are playing farmville on facebook?"
"Ha! Yea, imagine world of warcraft as a facebook game harharharhar"
"yea boss, i know, a game with this many devouted players, and this development cycle, I doubt anyone would..."
"shut up you idiot, we wont be a part of facebook, we will DESTROY facebook!!"
"eh what?"
"We did it with mmos"
"yea, technically Blizzard did, we are Activision after all"
"Did I say you could talk?"
"I mean, look at the hungry little lemmings we have playing our games. They WANT to spend money on pixels. Look at how they get all hot and bothered over achievements. My niece plays farmville, there its all about achievements too."

[end scene]

I do believe that Blizzard will outfacebook facebook. That is the real point of Real-ID. It will beat out as the way we communicate.
Will they succeed? I think they just might. Dispite what Spinksville says. I think they know very well how gamers work and think. And I highly doubt they give a flying fuck what gamers want. They do not want gamers paying or playing their games.

They want nintendo-wii-farmville-gamers playing and paying for their games.

This part of Spinksville statement still holds true: Blizzard has given up all pretence of being a gaming company by gamers, for gamers.

Perhaps we should call them the achievement-mafia of the west coast.

Why this just might work
Like I said, I think that Blizzard knows very well, that gamers are up in arms about this. But gamers are a part of the last generation. There are no teenagers that are gamers. Not in the sense that those of us born in the 70's or 80's where gamers.
kinect, PlayStation move and wii proves this. Consoles are not made for gamers anymore. They are made for consumers.
Consumers are two things in games: Bored housewives and their families and young kids.

my generation, the 25-65 gamers who are gamers as a defining characteristic, are not commercially interesting for blizzard. we are for many others (for now), but not for Blizzard.

Strangely enough I gave this response to Larisa in a forum post about being an old gamer. This was before *the news* broke. And I think these sort of kids, will not give a flying fuck about whether its Facebook they are giving all their info to, or Blizzards real ID. All that matters is, who their friends are using.

[...]what I wanted to touch on is the youth revolt. Or lack theiroff. It is part of a very long discussion that i'd rather not dive into. but in short i do think that generations since the punks in the 80's and the grunge in the early 90's have found ways to revolt in their own ways. Most of these cannot do a uniform revolt, since their parents are so different. You do not have the same upper middle class surburbia to fight, because most parents these days listened to NWA or Nirvana or AC/DC in their youth. So the way that they can revolt is by going full-fledged corporate. No bars full out "here is everything about me". They don't give a fudge about REALID, face-book info. Their phone-number. Mailing nude photos to each-other. Showing boobs for a happy-meal. 
Or go on reality tv and have sex on screen (paradise hotel for example). There are still plenty of ways for the next generation to revolt and upset us old people. 

And possibly one of the more sneaky ways of disturbing older generations is by not caring that they play their video-games, go to their concerts of facebook-friend them. 
I know I'm disturbed as fuck when my 16 year old cousin writes about how drunk she got last weekend (and who she ended up going home with), on facebook. Knowing full well that both her parents and our grandmother is reading that too.
These are the customers Blizzard care about. The kind who re-roll twice a week and use "plz" and ":)" as full and valid sentences. They will not care. I'll betcha that they are the ones who are posting positives about this change. To them (and those that are older but stupid) this is not a big deal. They are part of a generation that really do not give a fuck about their identity being used.

Who are the casualties then? those ignorant enough to not understand the backlashes. And the Blizzard employees. People like Bashiok.
People who loved the Blizzard franchise. The good troopers who will defend their companies values to the very end.
People  whom this happens to:
As I understand it, they are getting so many angry phone-calls at his house now, that his family ain't picking up the phone.

This is what happens when you love your company, and defends them.
Micah, I feel for you. Hope you are getting a big fucking raise from this. You deserve it!  


  1. hmm my one hope:

  2. I disagree. Mainly because the teenagers are not a good market portion. And that's because they don't have (mainly) money, they're dependent on the older generation (people 30 or 35+). That's the market portion who has money and that's why Wii games have a broader target audience. Yes, they're the future, but companies tend to care more about the short-run term and easy cash than long-time investments. Eventually these teenagers will grow up, get a decent job and will have cash to spare. Meanwhile it's us the lion's part that companies want.
    Using real name in forums and everywhere else won't end the trolling or dickhead behaviour. That's a poor excuse (at least Blizzard hasn't stated that yet). Using real name is a great way for Blizz to make money selling the information to datamining companies. You like to talk about cars while hanging around in Dalaran? Expect Ford, Audi, BMW, etc banners and spammail. Music? Hey check out this week's #1 in your local radio! And so on...
    This won't end well the way it's going. And while teenagers may not care about privacity now, they'll doo once they grow up a bit.

  3. I doubt they will care later on. Its the generation gap :D