Thursday, July 19, 2012

Good Grief

Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime is amusing.

Here's what he's saying (thanks Joystiq):
Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime has taken to the Diablo forums to issue a statement on Diablo 3. In the statement, Morhaime addresses the game's launch, noting that it had both positive and negative elements. Blizzard, he admits, was not prepared for Diablo 3's staggering launch numbers – to which players locked out during the initial server problems can attest.

Morhaime notes that Blizzard "looked at historical sales for Blizzard games and other top-selling PC games and watched preorder numbers" to the server requirements at launch, even going so far as to add further server capacity beyond its estimates. Still, says Morhaime, it wasn't enough, noting that "we've never gone from 0 to more than 6 million players across multiple continents within a few days with a brand-new game."

Um, exactly. Isn't that why releasing a game with always-on DRM is so stupid? Demand really can't be predicted with the precision necessary to avoid a disaster.

Look, and I want to be entirely clear about this, if a company decides to release a game where you have to have a persistent online connnection--especially when they make the ludicrous requirement that you must also be connected for single-player mode--then the f-ing servers have to work. Always. If they have to spend a boatload of extra money temporarily, that's their cost of doing business. They made a product that requires them to do these things. There are zero, absolutely zero excuses.

Is it fair to expect a company to have their servers up 100% of the time? If they designed a damn product that requires it for their half-witted DRM scheme, then hell, yes, it's fair. If they hadn't been asshats about it to start with, we could all play single-player without needing a connection, they wouldn't need all the server capacity, and none of this would have happened.

This should be Gaming Business 101. Instead, Morhaime makes it sound like golly gee, they did their best, and it didn't quite work out, but they'll do better next time, like he's playing in an under-10 YMCA soccer league.

If you're charging $60 for your product, chasing butterflies instead of playing your position is not acceptable.

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