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Report: Vivendi Planning For Further Blizzard MMOs

Report: Vivendi Planning For Further Blizzard MMOs

June 14, 2006 | By David Jenkins

June 14, 2006 | By David Jenkins
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Reports have debuted online regarding plans for World of WarCraft developer Blizzard to turn its other major game franchises into massively multiplayer online (MMO) games over the next few years, following the major success of World Of WarCraft.

The rumors appear to have emanated from MMO blog website, which claims that a recent presentation given by Blizzard owners Vivendi Games to select Wall Street investors indicated that “all” Blizzard franchises would be turned into MMOs over time. The assumption by fans has been that real-time strategy StarCraft and action role-playing game Diablo, neither of which have seen a full sequel in over six years, would be the likely first candidates for any such policy.

According to the story, the Vivendi presentation also discussed a new development model which allowed for new MMOs to be created within three years at a cost of $50 million. The publisher also allegedly plans on organizing games into one of two camp " those that can be played for short periods of time, and those which encourage longer play sessions. Korean developed title Freestyle Street Basketball, already signed by the new Sierra Online division, is used as an example of the former.

Although neither Vivendi nor Blizzard has commented on the rumors officially, if true they could have a significant effect on the MMO market - which is already dominated by World of WarCraft and its six million subscribers. The only circumstantial evidence for the rumors is Blizzard’s now long running attempts to increase its employee levels, as evidenced by a number of job postings on Gamasutra itself.

[UPDATE: A weblog posting on blog 'The Cesspit' includes the slides of the actual Vivendi presentation, which shows that the 'franchise potential' slide for Blizzard's titles has invitingly blank spaces in the MMO category, flagged as 'potential'. But these slides do not explicitly confirm any such game, suggesting that the goal is more Vivendi-driven and longer-term than anything being specifically worked on now.]

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