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Tuesday, 14 October 2008 09:57

Blizzard look to milk fans via battle.net

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In the shadow of expectation around Diablo 3 and StarCraft II, a discussion panel at BlizzCon 08 has revealed plans by Blizzard to start charging money for battle.net.  The long-time multiplayer network is preparing for more action and Blizzard may well be feeling the need for greed.

Who can blame them really?  They are somewhat struggling to make ends meet.  Blizzard’s World of Warcraft has only ensnared 15.1 million paying players, a mere drop in the ocean when you consider the connected world’s population.  Why wouldn’t they want to make a few extra bucks as part of the anticipated popularity of the upcoming Diablo 3 and StarCraft II?

All jokes aside, Blizzard have had the venerable online service Battle.Net up and running since the start of 1997.  That’s over ten years of free Diabloing, StarCrafting and WarCrafting for Blizzard fans. 

Shhhhhh, it’s also over ten years of great publicity and selling points for Blizzard products as well.

Not done with one cash cow (World of WarCraft) however, Blizzard look like they want to make some money from Battle.Net in the future.

According to a report via Cinema Blend, speaking at a BlizzCon 08 Discussion panel, Diablo 3 director Jay Wilson said; "We are looking to monetize Battle.Net so that we get to keep making these games and updating features. We kind of have to.”

Details are yet to surface, and could simply be a payment system for extra content or customisation options rather than an subscription for actual game-play.

With millions of people willing to pay US$13 per month for World of Warcraft, you can understand how tempting it would be for Blizzard to introduce such a fee for their other universes.

Microtranscations are all the rage in the video game industry of late, but the only way consumers can tell the companies putting them in place, that they are not welcome, is to vote with their feet.  Let’s face it, that is not going to happen with either StarCraft II or Diablo 3.  Both are going to be sales blockbusters looking for some online action.


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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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