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Blizzard: Companies underestimate launching new MMOs

Tue 14 Oct 2008 10:03am GMT / 6:03am EDT / 3:03am PDT
Development

CEO admits studio also failed to anticipate logistics of launch; yearly Warcraft expansions "still the ideal goal"

Activision Blizzard

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Blizzard, Inc. is a worldwide pure-play online...

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Publishers and developers new to the MMO genre underestimate the difficulties of launching in the market, according to Blizzard's Mike Morhaime.

Following GOA's struggle to launch Warhammer Online, GamesIndustry.biz asked Blizzard's CEO if companies fail to anticipate the true logistics of launching a massively multiplayer online game.

"I think everyone who hasn't done it will probably underestimate the logistics behind it - we certainly did," he explained.

"You focus on the things you are used to but you don't necessarily realise how difficult it is to scale up quickly and with an MMO you have to factor in providing 24/7 customer service, multiple languages... and that's not just hiring all those people to do customer service because internally within the organisation you still have to support your employees and that's a whole lot of management infrastructure that doesn't exist before the launch."

Morhaime further revealed that the company still aims to release a World of Warcraft expansion annually but is currently on the "longer than a year plan" and following Wrath of the Lich King fans won't see another for more than a year.

"That's still the ideal goal," he said in response to GamesIndustry.biz, "but as with anything there is this underlying rule that trumps everything which is that we'll take as much time as we need until... it reaches the expectations of ourselves and our players."

"Right now we're on the longer than a year plan," he added. "The next one I think it is still unlikely that we're going to get it down to a calendar year. We're going to continue to try and decrease that but really the content of the expansion is more important and I think you guys are going to find with Wrath of the Lich King that it's going to be worth the wait."

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