Monday, January 26, 2009

Blizzard Losing Money?

Tobold asks if Blizzard might be tightening its financial belt. He suggests that this may be why Lich King appears to be suffering over population and server crashes and that this could also be the answer to why no real new raids were implemented at the launch of the expansion.

From my limited real world experience, this could actually be the truth. I have experienced the tendency of a profitable company that refuses to invest new money into the projects (or people) that made the company successful. In other words, the more money a company makes, the less it wants to spend.

I am not sure that this is the case with Blizzard, but the evidence does suggest the trend. Advertisements on the company forums, less raid content, long delays on the first "small" bug-fix patch, over-populated servers, over-populated instances...the list goes on.

Regarding the population issues, one would think that more people would be a good thing, yet Blizzard seems to be attacking the issue as though it is a problem for them. When Burning Crusade experienced the same issues at its launch, Blizzard added new hardware to the servers to increase their population loads. They still added new servers later on when the world populations continued to increase. Why Blizzard appears to be dragging their tails this time is a mystery and only adds weight to Tolbold's speculations.

The idea that the company itself might be financially unstable seems rather ridiculous to me, however. Starcraft and Diablo II individualy brought in enough cash over the years to cover the development of new sequals of their own, without the need the World of Warcraft cash cow. Now, whether or not Blizzard properly utilized that cash is another question entirely. Even if those games were unable to support their own sequals, World of Warcraft brings in enough money each month to produce a fully developed AAA MMO.

No, I do not believe for a moment that Blizzard is strapped for cash. Chances are they have simply gotten greedy and are attempting to cut costs to appease the shareholder's demands for ever-increasing salaries. Shareholders are a vicious species of Man. They are more than willing to see people go jobless rather than not see an increase in their profit. And that is the crux of many multi-million dollar entities.

The first two years of World of Warcraft were very glamorous for everybody involved. But once the Shareholders begin to demand 50% increases to profits year-after-year, they will force the managing personel to cut everything in sight in order to make that profit. Shareholders are not satisfied with a steady or flat income, they are always seeking more than the last paycheck.

If there is a financial crisis of any sort at Blizzard, look to the vampiric shareholders.

No comments: