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We're not competing with Warcraft, says Buttler

By Mark Androvich

Mon 24 Mar 2008 8:00am GMT / 4:00am EDT / 1:00am PDT

Trion World Network CEO Lars Buttler does not see the market as a zero-sum game with World of Warcraft and nothing else

Trion World Network CEO Lars Buttler does not see the market as a zero-sum game with World of Warcraft and nothing else.

"I think it is really important to point out that we are not trying to compete with WOW or clone it - in my mind that would be boring and it would be creatively constraining, and I also think it would be massively limiting the amount of risk and innovation we are willing to introduce," he said.

Though he thinks it is wrong to suggest that no one can compete with World of Warcraft, he recognises that the game currently remains unchallenged.

"Look at all the stuff that has been launched and apply one simple bar - could you sell this at retail if you stripped out all the online components?," Buttler asked.

"In other words, is it a good game? I don't think that any other MMO could then stand...Or very few exceptions."

Speaking to, Buttler said that World of Warcraft has ramped up the last ten years of the MMO category and polished it really well - but that doesn't mean that there aren't another ten years or another twenty years to come.

"Saying WOW is the end of all things would be like saying Mario or The Sims or Madden or any other great franchise are the end of all things in their particular categories," he noted.

"There will always be new and great developments. In the games world, that's particularly true because technology evolves so much."

Buttler doesn't necessarily agree that being the market leader will automatically give Blizzard an advantage.

"In many cases, the biggest obstacle to future success is current success," he said, pointing to past games such as Everquest and Ultima Online.

He thinks the future will allow for dynamic game worlds that can always improve - using the full capability of server-based architecture that can learn from success and failure after launch.

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