Stolen PixelsStolen Pixels #119: After CurfewStolen Pixels - RSS 2.0
The Activision price story is actually from a few weeks ago. Still, wanting to raise prices when the victory is going to the teams with the lowest prices (casual games, Nintendo) and when all of the trends are headed in the opposite direction is sort of heroically simple-minded.
Just as other major publishers are getting the hint that online activation sucks and hurts gamers more than pirates, Blizzard has decided they don't want to learn from everyone else's example and so they are giving online activation a try in StarCraft 2. The only thing worse than being a lemming is being the very last lemming to fling yourself off the cliff, two years after everyone else.
Blizzard isn't talking too much about the new Battle.net 2.0 they're working on, except to tell us that it will be completely great and we will love it so much we won't even notice all the horrible things they're doing to us by eliminating LAN support and forcing us to register online. They are keeping very quiet on the Bnet 2.0 features, although they have been talking about cross-game chat support, friend lists, and other such social features. I'm assuming they're going for some sort of Xbox Live-type setup.
Blizzard is starting to remind me of the Microsoft of the late 90s: They have massive financial power courtesy of their flagship product, but they don't seem to have a clear vision of how to put that money to use. They end up showing up late to industry trends and using past success (Windows / StarCraft) to try and railroad customers in decisions where they would rather have a choice. (Internet Explorer / Battle.net.)
However, it's also possible that they are secretly building something intended to rival Steam. Everyone was launching digital download services last year, so the Blizzard thing to do would be to launch one next year.