Blizzard Didn't Anticipate WoW's Demand

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Blizzard Didn't Anticipate WoW's Demand

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Blizzard "grossly underestimated" the demand for World of Warcraft to the point where it had to stop shipping boxes to stores.

World of Warcraft is pretty much the benchmark by which all other MMOs are measured against these days. However, you'll probably be surprised to hear that Blizzard didn't actually think the game was going to be anywhere near as big of a hit as it was. In fact, it turns out that the company "grossly underestimated" how high the demand was going to be, which led to the game's early launch problems.

Speaking at DICE last week, Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce explained that "I don't think we had any idea what we were getting ourselves into" when he talked about the game's 2004 launch. As a result, the studio of "just" 500 people had to stop shipping boxes out to stores. Since then, the company's grown to include 4,700 employees worldwide.

These days, Blizzard has a much better finger on the pulse of its online community, meaning it can gauge where interests lie and anticipate for activity increases when new expansions and features are launched.

Source: Gamasutra via Massively

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Well if they had actually expected it to perform as well as it did, they would have been extremely arrogant. :P

I've been noticing a number of short, relatively low content news posts recently. Is it just me, or are others noticing it too?

Hmm this one isn't news. This was given as reason way back when it was something to give reasons for (as in just after launch). Why bring it up now? What is the context for it?

Wow. What is this? International Humble Day? First Tim Schafer not thinking he would get jack all for his kickstarter, now blizzard saying they did not think WoW would be this popular.
Thank fuck for Jaffe and his trying to compare his silly little car game to Skyrim.

It was launched at the height of Everquest popularity, with close to a half a million concurrent subscribers. I don't think anyone was predicting the numbers WoW got except one reviewer in PC Gamer February 2002(pg 54): "A World of Warcraft MMORPG will be like owning a license to print money. A lot of money."

This is probably the first time I'm saying this, but how is this news, exactly? People from Blizzard have been saying this for years now in their interviews.

Actually ...

Pierce talked about this in detail in 20 Anniversary documentary. And others as well.
That documentary is still publicly available as far as I know.

http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/b20/videos.html#blizzard-retrospective

JakobBloch:
Hmm this one isn't news. This was given as reason way back when it was something to give reasons for (as in just after launch). Why bring it up now? What is the context for it?

That is what the DICE summit is all about. Talking about past experience to help developers so they don't make the same mistakes or learn what they can do right.

Hammeroj:
This is probably the first time I'm saying this, but how is this news, exactly? People from Blizzard have been saying this for years now in their interviews.

+1

I've known this for many many years as well. Slow news day, I guess.

Zen Toombs:
I've been noticing a number of short, relatively low content news posts recently. Is it just me, or are others noticing it too?

How would you define low content posts?

Crono1973:

Zen Toombs:
I've been noticing a number of short, relatively low content news posts recently. Is it just me, or are others noticing it too?

How would you define low content posts?

What I'm referring to is short news posts that talk about very minor events. Effectively, a "slow news day" type of situation.

4,200 empoyees more then they had 7 years ago, and yet they still recycled 6 bosses in their last raid. I know they were working on a new expansion, but come on, 10 of those guys could have been used to make new models.

I guess that's why the game went from really good to really watered down.

Zen Toombs:
I've been noticing a number of short, relatively low content news posts recently. Is it just me, or are others noticing it too?

Could be a slow news day. Some news is better than no news.

Well since they didn't really have a benchmark to measure it against, it's not surprising Blizzard got snowed by demand.

Hammeroj:
This is probably the first time I'm saying this, but how is this news, exactly? People from Blizzard have been saying this for years now in their interviews.

Yeah, Escapist has been pulling a lot of these lately. Check out their "YOU CAN GET A VIRUS DOWNLOADING PIRATED MATERIAL" news post a week or two back, it's baffling what they consider to be news.

wow 4700 employees...doing jack shit. no wonder they charge so much in monthly fee.

Maybe plenty of people were having issues with Everquest at the time, and as we know, popularity snowballs.

JakobBloch:
Hmm this one isn't news. This was given as reason way back when it was something to give reasons for (as in just after launch). Why bring it up now? What is the context for it?

It's news to me... Just because you and many others have heard this before doesn't mean it can never be brought up ever again... ever.

I just wish they'd make WarCraft 4. Or reboot it or something.

Zen Toombs:
I've been noticing a number of short, relatively low content news posts recently. Is it just me, or are others noticing it too?

Well, sometimes there's just not a lot to report on, or all angles have been covered. They COULD start fabricating stories, like, "Bobby Kotick seen grappling with John Riccitiello in the mud behind a Philedaphia Denny's over rights to deflower prize-winning show goat 'Ramus'" but, I think that sorta thing goes against journalistic ethics or something.

Yeah, this is pretty obvious, and frankly, I'd say from the way they're eternally shoving out new content as fast as they can to satisfy the fanatics who blast through the game in a week of non-stop playing, it looks like they're either constantly struggling to meet the demands of an unsatisfiable client base or they're playing solely to the speed gamers and don't give a damn about the casual ones.

II2:

Well, sometimes there's just not a lot to report on, or all angles have been covered. They COULD start fabricating stories, like, "Bobby Kotick seen grappling with John Riccitiello in the mud behind a Philedaphia Denny's over rights to deflower prize-winning show goat 'Ramus'" but, I think that sorta thing goes against journalistic ethics or something.

There are some who would disagree with that statement.

I also think they are grossly overestimating their new expansion.Not to mention that fact that WOW is now a joke of itself.Unless your like 10 years old I cant see how anyone would be excited about pandas and Pokemon as high points of the next wow expansion.

those of us who played wow on release noticed that

on an entirely different note: does anybody else get the ads for world of tanks and wonders who the fuck would want to have french tanks in that game?

Completely old hat to me. I could have told you that based on the crippling shortage of servers.
They had filled out the servers under a WEEK of launch; I remember it because one of my classmates in CISCO barely got onto a server, and half the bloody class followed suit within a couple of months.

CardinalPiggles:
Maybe plenty of people were having issues with Everquest at the time, and as we know, popularity snowballs.

Doubt that. It's more likely that the reason for it was Blizzard building up a huge following with their games from Warcraft onwards, which they did. Blizzard is, or was, at least, the company with the most devout fanbase at the time, and they had it for good reason.

CardinalPiggles:

JakobBloch:
Hmm this one isn't news. This was given as reason way back when it was something to give reasons for (as in just after launch). Why bring it up now? What is the context for it?

It's news to me... Just because you and many others have heard this before doesn't mean it can never be brought up ever again... ever.

Just because it's news to you doesn't make it news. I don't know if you've noticed, but this article was posted in "The News Room". That's the problem people have with it.

IamGamer41:
Unless your like 10 years old I cant see how anyone would be excited about pandas and Pokemon as high points of the next wow expansion.

And yet, most people seem to think it's fine and dandy.

Okay, good. I'm as confused as everyone else.

Hammeroj:
And yet, most people seem to think it's fine and dandy.

I'm a person and I'm not impressed. I realise that this sample size of 1 is probably not large enough to count for much, but I'm hoping if I make enough noise and complain loads that Blizzard will change their entire game for the sake of me and me alone :-p

dragongit:
4,200 empoyees more then they had 7 years ago, and yet they still recycled 6 bosses in their last raid. I know they were working on a new expansion, but come on, 10 of those guys could have been used to make new models.

I know right... Firelands and Dragonsoul have left me with very bitter taste in my mouth.

Icecrown and Ulduar at least tried a BIT harder, and if a little hiccup like Trial of the Crusader and longer wait is all we have to do to get that kind of variety and larger content area again then I'll gladly sit down and keep my mouth shut...

Anyway I could write pages about the terrible raid formula at the moment but it won't help matters, the game itself is still very enjoyable and with more to do than ever, it just lacks the great social hooks I think the previous endgame expansions had (LFR and LFG now allowing you to do all the game has to offer without making a single friend)...

Fappy:

Zen Toombs:
I've been noticing a number of short, relatively low content news posts recently. Is it just me, or are others noticing it too?

Could be a slow news day. Some news is better than no news.

thats not how that saying goes :p

you would never actually choose rehashed news from 5 years ago over nothing would you?

Now lets see if they can anticipate its fall.

You mean that when WoW first launched MMO's weren't the big ticket games they're considered now? You mean that like most MMO makers, at the time, Blizzard was hoping for around 50,000 subscribers and never saw the 3 million plus subscribers they got instead even being a possibility?

Tell us something we didn't already figure out back in 2004!

I find people posting things like "all those employees and they can't think up better ideas or fix bugs!" hilarious.

Most of those employees are.. gasp.. not developers. They are GMs, Billing staff and Tech Support. Even with all those people, they still can't keep up with the demand of 10+ million players.

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