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Titan: "Unlikely to be a Subscription Based MMORPG"


08.08.2013 - Jobs Update: The "Next-Gen MMO" section on Blizzard's Jobs Directory page is now gone.

 

 

Speaking to share-holders at Activision Blizzard's Q2 2013 Results Conference Call, Mike Morhaime, the CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, had a few words especially reserved for Project Titan.


Mike Morhaime

We're in the process of selecting a new direction for Project Titan and re-envisioning what we want the game to be. And while we can't talk about the details yet, it is unlikely to be a subscription based MMORPG.
 
I also want to reiterate that there has been not been an official announced or projected release date. What I can say is that the commitment to quality has always been at the core of Blizzard values and we've gone through this type of iterative development process several times in the past on our way to creating genre-defining games.
 
As we continue our assessment, we have shifted some of the resources from the team to our other franchises including WoW and Blizzard All-Stars which we believe will add immense value to those projects.

Not a very clear statement, especially since it was pre-written. Will it be a subscription-less MMORPG, or will it also be a different type of game all-together? Unless I'm missing something, the way he worded the phrase leaves room for debate.
 
Even with the ambiguity of the statement, this does help clear a bit the exact reason(s) for the recent reset. We had already considered that it was a pause designed to give them time to look into different business models (like F2P) and / or different game-play options, and Mike Morhaime's short speech definitely adds strength to these two options.






28 Comments

This is very interesting. I hope we keep hearing more and more. I think the F2P model still needs to be perfected, and hopefully by the time Titan is released there will be a fine-tuned F2P model.

F2P can mean RMAH, Online Stores, Adverts and probably many more monitisation techniques that could prove detrimental to the feel of the game if they arent implemented properly.

We shall see i guess.

Those are good news.It's nice it won't be P2P.I hope more for some kind of B2P hybrid model with a game shop and RMAH.After all Blizzard has to make money somehow after the box selling.

The company is already experimenting a few things like RMAH in with D3, game shop in WoW and F2P model in their new moba.

I really hope that their new business model with Titan will be some kind of mix,which wouldn't be a F2P game.

Means nothing good for Titan... Hopefully it will just be a hybrid model with b2p and item shop with only cosmetic stuff but who knows lets wait and see. And for gods sake please NO RMAH

So nobody else here got the vibe that it might not be an MMORPG either? I mean, if all he wanted to say was that Titan won't have a monthly subscription, he could've said "Unlikely to have a subscription-based business model" or something like that. The fact that he introduced the MMORPG word into the statement makes me suspect that they might be reconsidering this part as well.

well i got this idea a few mins back(100% speculate):

 

Blizz aims for casuals(like it or not thats gonna be it like we saw it the last years with their games). Whats the actual most played genre out there? MOBA. They did a MOBA battleground in WoW but postponed it for whatever reason. What if they gonna try to make a MOBAMMO? Openworld questing(or do that whitin the battlegrounds) with leveling and all that stuff with Moba styled "battlegrounds" with or without some PvE bosses im them?

well i got this idea a few mins back(100% speculate):

 

Blizz aims for casuals(like it or not thats gonna be it like we saw it the last years with their games). Whats the actual most played genre out there? MOBA. They did a MOBA battleground in WoW but postponed it for whatever reason. What if they gonna try to make a MOBAMMO? Openworld questing(or do that whitin the battlegrounds) with leveling and all that stuff with Moba styled "battlegrounds" with or without some PvE bosses im them?

 

That's what All-Stars is for I think. Any ideas they have concerning MOBAs I'm sure they'll be introduced into All-Stars. There's no reason to put all your eggs in the same basket and make 2 new games around the same sub-genre (MOBAs).

In that case they must have very bold and inventive new ideas to pump life back into WoW. With their mindset of it having a longer life ahead of it they must have something major in the works or being planned for that will ensure this outcome, as im sure they have realised by now that its losing its foothold.

 

What genre do you suppose they will focus on then? Or will this even change with your suggestion of a Non-MMO based Titan? I find it a little to hard to believe that they would spend the resources for R&D and go through a rather major "Reset" during development for something other than an MMO. But then again Diablo 3 had a similar development process, but with less developers.

Interesting... and frightening! 

I hope it's still MMORPG, WoW-ish game, not Moba-ish game.

Goht had some nice idea there, moba + mmorpg... It actually sounds about as awesome as it gets. I started playing Dota 2 couple days ago, and I love it (weird, because I hated LoL), but there's one thing that is wrong with moba games (imo) - you have to start over every time... It's like the beginning of the game is slow and boring, in time you get gold and levels, gameplay starts to become fast paced and awesome, but 3 minutes later it ends!

Interesting... and frightening! 

I hope it's still MMORPG, WoW-ish game, not Moba-ish game.

Goht had some nice idea there, moba + mmorpg... It actually sounds about as awesome as it gets. I started playing Dota 2 couple days ago, and I love it (weird, because I hated LoL), but there's one thing that is wrong with moba games (imo) - you have to start over every time... It's like the beginning of the game is slow and boring, in time you get gold and levels, gameplay starts to become fast paced and awesome, but 3 minutes later it ends!

 

The main point for this though is so that the game has a more defined beginning, middle and end. All the while any encounters planned or otherwise become more valuable and more intense as the game is progressing through those phases. I think it would be very boring if everyone was of similar level with similar gear, all encounters would be the same since there is no differing Levels or Item tiers to seperate how a person is playing that particular game.

 

Perhaps if they introduced some sort of "reclamation" system whereby each kill you gain you get to unlock any one item in your gear set at a time. At least then there is some form of progression throughout the match that increases the difficulty and intensity of that match.

So nobody else here got the vibe that it might not be an MMORPG either? I mean, if all he wanted to say was that Titan won't have a monthly subscription, he could've said "Unlikely to have a subscription-based business model" or something like that. The fact that he introduced the MMORPG word into the statement makes me suspect that they might be reconsidering this part as well.

 

English is not my native language but what i understand from the Morhaime statement is that Titan will be a MMORPG, only not a sub-based MMORPG. I mean, if you say i.e. "He has not a red car" you are meaning that his car isn't red, not that he hasn't a car, right? Maybe i'm getting all wrong, but that's my impression of the quote xDD

i'm losing more n more faith in blizzards project titan...

 

seems like they really started over (even with the concept idea). this will take another 5 years from now on if it will be a AAA+ title. bye bye 2016.

English is not my native language but what i understand from the Morhaime statement is that Titan will be a MMORPG, only not a sub-based MMORPG. I mean, if you say i.e. "He has not a red car" you are meaning that his car isn't red, not that he hasn't a car, right? Maybe i'm getting all wrong, but that's my impression of the quote xDD

 

True, but MM said something more along the lines of "He's unlikely to have a red Toyota". :D I'm not a native English speaker either, but in my ears this phrase places in question both the color and the mark of that car.

 

Anyway, I am not saying one way or the other, just that I find his statement a bit confusing. Also, in question here I think is only the "RPG" part. Titan will be an MMO game, it just might not be a pure RPG. FPS - RPG hybrids are quite popular these days, so they might shift it towards that. Or who knows what else. Anyway, this is pure speculation.

So nobody else here got the vibe that it might not be an MMORPG either? I mean, if all he wanted to say was that Titan won't have a monthly subscription, he could've said "Unlikely to have a subscription-based business model" or something like that. The fact that he introduced the MMORPG word into the statement makes me suspect that they might be reconsidering this part as well.

What I can say is that the first thing that immediately caught my attention, and I brought this up in the quartly thread, is that Mike is suddenly referring to the game as Project Titan. If memory serves me, the only two people working for Blizzard to use the codename Titan publicly was Bashiok and Pardo. Every other time the game was referred to (including every single previous investor call) it was dubbed the "unannounced MMORPG".

Whether or not that means it is no longer and MMO or an RPG? Hard to say. It certainly is food for thought. But if you are suggesting that "it is unlikely to be a subsription based MMORPG" means that it will be a sub game of another genre VS an MMO without a sub, well that is also a difficult pill to swallow. It is hard to imagine any game in the near future having a sub, but If it was going to happen, I believe it would have to be an MMORPG.

Honestly, I am not interested if it is F2P... updates (patches) to the game will be slow or non-existent. Why would Blizzard invest so much money in a long term project without wanting to make a huge profit on it in the long run.

 

How are you going to support masses of support staff, game designers, servers, programmers and managers? I mean yeah revenue from in-game stores, buying the game itself will definitely help; however, knowing Blizzard I don't think this will work out to well.

 

Every F2P MMO I've played has been total crap and those that have switched to F2P have turned boring and patches have taken much longer and are so small. WoW has a large dynamic world that is mostly supported by the monthly subscriptions.

 

I don't know, I don't think this will turn out to be a great MMO, there must be a catch here!

 

I am suspecting that if you want the full game experience with tons of features and a 'premium' gaming platform, you are going to pay something like 10/20 a month... which I have no problem paying for. Some MMOs do that, if you pay you get more stuff and better quality of gameplay, faster leveling, in-game services, etc.

 

I also think a RMAH will be implemented and fees be applied to the transactions.

 

A big company like Blizzard supporting a massive MMO will require a lot of money, time and effort. THERE HAS TO BE a way for them to generate a lot of steady income besides initial purchases of the gaming content. Or I feel patching the game quickly, on a regular basis and plenty of content will not be possible... in a profitable sense anyway!

What if we could pay real money fir transportation within Titan. I mean long range teleportation if you didn't have ingame money enough

This is kind of interesting since they had that one career position open that implied in-game advertising (I didn't see that job, the franchise director or something like that, when I looked. Was it fulfilled, or did they axe a lot of the jobs on there when they 're-envisioned' the game?), and this revelation might imply that they were leaning towards a subscription model before. Years go by, many new games come out, and suddenly a subscription-based set up doesn't seem as appealing.

 

Here's an open position with some humor mixed in. They need a Director of Business Intelligence with 'data in their veins' that can help 'level up' the talented members of the business intelligence team.

http://us.blizzard.c...html?id=1300022

 

Recommended Talents

Healthy understanding of game industry landscape and evolving business models

Can hold aggro as a tank and doesn’t stand in the fire

 

Oh, Mynsc, you're not the only one interpreting the language differently. On MMO-C's main page, 'unlikely to be' has become: "Titan will not be a subscription based MMO." :)

 

As Sarn mentioned, it was peculiar they called it Project Titan. Every other time in these quarterlies and calls it's been 'unnannounced next-gen MMO' or something like that, right? And it just so happens 'Project Titan' is used in the same statement about how said project is getting a 'new direction' and being 're-envisioned' and that the new Titan is 'unlikely to be a subscription based MMORPG.'

 

I can see how the 'it's no longer an MMORPG' interpretation can be viewed based on the wordings there, but as Tyrael said, "Time will tell." (Perhaps someone could try to tweet at a Titan-related Blizz employee and possibly get Mr. Morhaime's statement clarified? If it's still an MMORPG they might confirm it as such, since that fact should already be revealed by the statement in question and there would be no reason to deny it, unless it's no longer the case, right?)

I am suspecting that if you want the full game experience with tons of features and a 'premium' gaming platform, you are going to pay something like 10/20 a month... which I have no problem paying for. Some MMOs do that, if you pay you get more stuff and better quality of gameplay, faster leveling, in-game services, etc.

 

 

This is interesting and could be a very big possibility. Call of Duty Elite (Premium Service, much like a gaming Facebook or EA's BattleLog) along with BattleLog for BF3 and other EA Games has proven that a Premium Subscription Model is more than just a viable option but a very sustainable and open ended solution. Millions of players have purchased CoD Elite or BL Premium since their avaliability and the content they provide is well worth the money (at least in BL Premiums case since im a Premium Member for BF3)

It could be free to play, or most likely buy to play, but instead of (wow examples) patch 5.1 5.2 5.3 etc. we would get new expansions just as often as those major patches.

this way we wouldn't need to pay monthly fee, but need to buy boxes more often, like twice a year. similar income i guess...

I'm a bit late to the party but I don't know what to think of Titan anymore.

 

With all the next-gen stuff rolling out in the coming 1-2 years the gaming market will change considerably.

 

Who knows what the next big thing is going to be and if something during the coming 1-2 years hit big (which I belive will, like Destiny/some other MMO etc) and Titan is far from that picture again Blizzard is going to have its hands full with playing catch up.

 

They need to decide for a direction for Titan ASAP and then just go ahead and implement it. Their iteration process no longer works as it did. The gaming market is more agile than ever and you need to react quickly.

 

If they don't manage to bring out Titan announcement before 2015 they might as well hit the delete button on the Titan code and think prepare for next-next gen instead because by 2015-2016 there will be so many new games out that is in development today the "new" Titan engine will feel old.

 

Just look at EQ Next. While everyone was looking at Titan out of nowhere came SOE and raised the bar for every future MMO out there. Whether or not they succeed is irrelevant. Once we have heard of all the functionality it's a matter of time when other companies will take those ideas and make them better. 

IF Titan goes F2P I for one will NOT be playing it.  

 

F2P = Pay to win, and that is unacceptable to me.

 

One of the reasons I believe WoW did so well was because everyone had the same access to content across the board.  You couldn't use real money to buy an advantage, be that in terms of buying gold, gear or in game bonuses (XP boosts etc).  It was a level playing field.  This meant that both PvE and PvP remained competitive and were based on skill and dedication rather than Paypal.....

 

To be honest I'm getting a little disillusioned with Titan.  It is taking way too long; there is so little news; what there is suggests even Blizz don't know wtf they're doing with it and it's massively behind other next-gen MMO's we know about.

 

I always hoped that Titan would launch between the end of 2014 and early 2015 and really revolutionise the MMO market.  That looks increasingly unlikely.  In fact I think it looks more and more likely that Titan will be the next Starcraft: Ghost, or at best the next Duke Nukem Forever! 

 

RE "it is unlikely to be a subscription based MMORPG". English IS my first language, and this definitely leaves room for multiple interpretations.  Why use the phrase MMORPG if all you want to say is that it will not be subscription based?  Then again, if not an MMORPG what will Titan be?  I suspect he wanted to communicate that it is unlikely to be subscription based, but that certainly isn't what he said.      

 

One other point to look at is WoW being down to 7.7mil subscribers.  At this rate in a years time it will be sub 5mil.  Will this put more pressure on Blizz to get a new MMO onto the market?

WoW might be losing subs, and that's definitely bad and worrying for Blizzard, but as far as profitability goes, I'm positive things are not at all bad.

 

Even ignoring the fact that most lost subs came from Asia, where they provided I think less than 15 bucks / month, there's the whole Store concept that's slowly but surely gaining ground. When WoW had 12M subs the store was basically non-existent when it came to revenue, but now it's grown into a very important "system". I'm sure it's already bringing in considerable cash, with the cost of running being extremely small.

 

Not to mention the fact that most product sales / monthly fees are now made digitally, which again gives more share of the profit to Blizzard than the old fashion box / game card.

 

We can also think of how much more streamlined the support process is now, allowing them to reduce support staff or redistribute it to other games.

 

All these considered, while not as popular, I'd say the amount of revenue / player is considerably higher right now than what it was when WoW had let's say 12M subscribers.

They should just give up on trying to get Dota back, TI3 showed that Valve has the true Dota and everyone else should just go back to making other games.

 

As far as people here thinking F2P = P2W, you havent played MMOs with heavy microtransactions for funding like GW2 and Firefall (no P2W)

 

 

 

WoW might be losing subs, and that's definitely bad and worrying for Blizzard, but as far as profitability goes, I'm positive things are not at all bad.

 

Even ignoring the fact that most lost subs came from Asia, where they provided I think less than 15 bucks / month, there's the whole Store concept that's slowly but surely gaining ground. When WoW had 12M subs the store was basically non-existent when it came to revenue, but now it's grown into a very important "system". I'm sure it's already bringing in considerable cash, with the cost of running being extremely small.

 

Not to mention the fact that most product sales / monthly fees are now made digitally, which again gives more share of the profit to Blizzard than the old fashion box / game card.

 

We can also think of how much more streamlined the support process is now, allowing them to reduce support staff or redistribute it to other games.

 

All these considered, while not as popular, I'd say the amount of revenue / player is considerably higher right now than what it was when WoW had let's say 12M subscribers.

 

Asians don't "sub", the sub loss is from NA and EU

Several years of study has brought me to a conclusion about the MMORPG market and now I would like to share them with the forums. 

 

The New era of MMORPGs and Generation X:

 

Blizzard has a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder mixed with a wisp of paranoid schizophrenic, A new gaming revolution has been pressed upon the development community. World of Warcraft has changed the design community in the worst possible way, It is just too damn good. Blizzard has forced themselves into a corner just as it has its competitors. They have created a giant of a game and now the ENTIRE gaming community expects new releases to be on par with WoW.

 

This means that the content database of new games has to be massive. Lets take a look at the failed wow killer 'Defiance'. Graphically it is a beautiful destroyed world. The game and story line feels like a movie and not a 'grind' like WoW leveling is. However, Generation X gamer's jumped into a realm where WoWs world is MASSIVE. There is so much more content and R&D invested in WoW. Ultimately it has spoiled gamer's and destroyed the development community. NO ONE remembers vanilla except for us geezers. Gen X jumped into Lich King and beyond. They have an almost infinite amount of years of content and lore to explore. They did not see WoW as it once was in Beta or vanilla.

 

The new generation of gamers have caused the designers and investors to become "paranoid'  to include Blizzard Entertainment. Developers are SO scared that their games are going to flop that they stop R&D. Blizzard is now doing exactly the same. Diablo 3 was a MASSIVE flop and SC2 was not any better causing a substantial amount of pressure placed on Titans shoulders, Blizzard is ultimately depending upon the success of Titan.

 

The mindset of the current MMORPG gaming community:

 

Just about every MMORPG gamer I know is looking for a substitute for WoW and Blizzard only has one method of creating such a game.... That is spending a crap load of time developing and absolutely perfecting Titan.... They are trying their best to release a game that not only has years of content but also is latest and greatest when it comes to physics and graphics engines. The only way to keep their fan base when WoW eventually dies is to release a game that is superior to world of warcraft in every manner: Content... Lore... PVP... as well as a risky new attempt at something the community has never seen before in a game. 

 

What do WoW fans want?

 

People do not want a World of Warcraft remake or even a sequel. Blizzard will soon retire the #1 jersey and Wow has had a beautiful and extremely profitable past. A majority of gamers now see the amount of money wasted on a subscription. They want to buy a game for one price and not feel like they are being thrown into a monetary sinkhole. Expansion packs I am sure will still cost as much as the game cost on launch but subscriptions will be expired. 

 

This means that blizzard has to come up with other methods of bringing in the cheddar. Games like World of Tanks and (OB) World of Warplanes helped pioneer a special currency system where money is made by giving individuals who want to spend money extra items, gear, vehicles, etc. But at the same time your loyal fan who doesn't want to spend money can still enjoy the game and have a good time. I suspect blizzard will incorporate some type of 'gold system' such as the ones present in Wargaming's games. 

 

Why such a long drawn out development process?

 

Blizzard also has a seriously crooked development tactic they are using. This long drawn out development process gives them certain advantages. They are letting other developers attempt such ideas. They begin writing it into code and then erase it when another developer flops with the new idea and start incorporating something else. Eventually the Titan developers will have a catalog of exactly what works and they will all be implemented into the game.

 

How does Blizzard intend on making Titan succeed?

 

Ultimately the ONLY way any video game designer stands a chance in the MMO world is to retire World of Warcraft. I suspect blizzard will wait until after the final expansion and just as users get tired of that content they are going to drop a MASSIVE new mmorpg on their laps. 

 

 

They are playing with money. No longer is Blizzard the company we remember. They are a cash hungry market monopolizing fiend who is trying to play their cards right so when WOW is retired they still have the market with Titan. 

 

As mad as I am about blizzard's greed I would probably do the same exact thing if I were the head of Activision. The only thing we can do is sit back and relax. It is an absolutely terrible time to be a game designer and I sympathize for those who fail because of WoWs success. 

Nice post Secretsquirrel. You make some nice points.

 

I think the main problem with Subscription Models these days comes down to the level of content that is expected by todays Generation of gamers. You make a good point that todays Gen gamers were basically introduced to WoW during WotLK and by that point the World was huge and the content was diverse and beyond the horizon, they did not have to grow with the game as it developed and that is all they know. This is where the problem is, they dont understand the reason for a Subscription, they think its just a Greedy Blizzard sucking all it can, this might be true to an extent but running the single greatest MMO in existance has its financial pitfalls.

 

So current Gen gamers expect the same level of content as WoW without the Subscription because they dont understand where the content came from and what sort of Development costs this level of content comes with, So they just simply dont get the game and go play something else.

 

A fremium model for example with microtransactions or an ingame shop will attract current Gen gamers because any price tag on an item will be considerably less than that of a Subscription to WoW for example. But the interesting thing about ingame shops is that a single player might spend more than $15 a month buying items. A statistic that might hold true and could be part of the reason why WoW and other Blizzard games are beginning to lean more heavily in that direction, more importantly perhaps this is the reason why Titan will not have a Sub Model, its just more profitable.