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Two factors that might influence Titan's timeline: WoW's state & Vivendi's plans


August 4 - Vivendi Reportedly Back Off Plans To Sell Activision Stake

August 2, Activision Blizzard Q2 2012 Results Conference Call - Check out the summary

Funnily enough, the development process is quite often not the deciding factor for when exactly a game will be launched or marketed. In fact, pretty much every launch date in the gaming industry is decided mostly on other considerations, like competition moves, aiming periods which usually have high sales (Christmas), the collision with other internal projects, the need to start getting back all the investment, etc.

Of course the general timeline is being constructed on how the development is going, but after all the other factors are counted in, launches can move up or down by entire months. The announcement date for a project that is still years away from release is even more flexible. With this in mind, let's see some of the other, non-development factors that might influence the exact dates for Titan's announcement and launch. One of them I had in mind for quite a while, the other has just appeared on the horizon.


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WoW's state. 

Blizzard is not a company that needs to launch games fast in order to quickly recover its investment in them. That's why I'm thinking there is no strict deadline for Titan. Sure, there is a set date, there has to be, but my guess is that nobody inside the team that's working at the game really feels pressured to respect it. Titan needs to be absolutely great, it doesn't necessarily need to arrive on time.

This is even more true if we consider that Blizzard already has an incredibly successful MMO active a.k.a. World of Warcraft. Titan's arrival will surely be the biggest hit WoW has ever taken and will probably ever take. It's something that I'm sure Blizzard is wary of and that period will be extremely risky for the company. Worst case scenario is that WoW will suffer a shock, with many people leaving it for Titan, but then leaving Titan too because they won't like it and thus probably leaving Blizzard all together, flocking to whatever other game will be popular at that time.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is an incredibly smart saying. Blizzard has WoW in its hands and it's a darn good "bird". The smart thing to do would be to not let it go too soon.

Ok, so to jump to the actual point, I can't help wonder if WoW's subscriptions state does not directly influence the timing of Titan's announcement and launch. What if, the better WoW is doing, the less pressure there is on the Titan team to meet all the deadlines and on the marketing team to make the game public? The opposite is also true, of course. I've said it before, if the subs would start to go down in a meaningful way, we'd see Titan pushed through the door quite fast. Not necessarily launched faster, but at least announced earlier, to keep people interested and positive. Investors too!

Maybe this is one of the reasons why the development pace for Titan was really slow in the first years (2007 - 2010). WoW was booming, even above Blizzard's expectations, so investing a lot of man power and resources in a new MMO didn't make much sense. They were probably content with knowing they have something new planned and with starting some really basic development, but that's about it.

WoW has successfully navigated through 2011's obstacles and MoP is looking good, but more than ever, it's incredibly hard to predict how well will the giant do in 2012 and in the coming years. As long as it remains stable, I think Titan's timeline might be prone to a few "delays", while in case its numbers start taking a real hit, we might get Titan info sooner than Blizzard initially projected.


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Vivendi's plans 

There have been some rumors lately stating that Vivendi, the parent company of Activision Blizzard, might be looking to sell the gaming giant. This is mostly because of problems that Vivendi has, not because of Activision Blizzard's performance (which was great, as it was Vivendi's 2nd fastest growing unit in 2011), but even so, the hit in investor confidence and stock price will probably affect the gaming company quite hard.

This is why, in an article posted on Seeking Alpha, a financial analyst by the name of Jeff Borack suggests that if this sale goes through, Blizzard might be hard-pressed to officially announce Titan, in order to introduce a positive factor in the company's future. With Diablo launched and MoP soon out the door, there aren't many things coming up that can keep investors positive and interested. Titan is of course a huge attraction, but with no official announcement being made yet, there is no way for anyone to see in what state of development the game is and what kind of revenue models will be used.

Even more, according to the analyst, if Vivendi were to sell Activision Blizzard, it would be stupid of them not to include Titan in the price calculation. As he puts it, "A press release and a simple website could net Vivendi hundreds of millions in its sale of ATVI, a no-brainer move."

All in all, this guy has a point. Thing is, it all depends on Vivendi and its plans, and right now there are only rumors of people considering a sale. It's not much, but there rarely is smoke without a fire. It also connects a bit with my previous point. If WoW subs start going down, even with just rumors of a sale happening, Blizzard might need to introduce Titan into the picture, to show that the company's future still is bright and secure.

Update: Bloomberg reports that Vivendi has indeed decided to sell its stake in Activision Blizzard, according to a "person with knowledge of the situation".


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The relation between Vivendi, Activision, Blizzard, Activision Blizzard 

I want to end this article with a bit of info about how all these companies relate to each other, as I've seen A LOT of confusion about this. Especially the forever popular and deeply wrong saying that Activision owns Blizzard. I'm not an expert on this kind of stuff so I might not be 100% correct, but it's the most accurate info I could find:
  • Vivendi has owned Blizzard since 1998. More exactly, Blizzard has been part of the Vivendi Games group, together with other companies like for example Sierra.
  • In 2008, Vivendi bought Activision and merged it with Vivendi Games. All of Vivendi Games's studios were absorbed by Activision (Vivendi Games no longer exists), with the exception of Blizzard Entertainment, which retained its autonomy and corporate leadership. Thus, the resulting company was named Activision Blizzard.
  • So Activision and Blizzard remained separate companies, both of which are owned by Activision Blizzard, which is owned by Vivendi.
  • The Chairman of Vivendi Games, René Penisson, became the Chairman of Activision Blizzard (he has been replaced meanwhile with Jean-Bernard Levy).

  • Bobby Kotick, the head of Activision, became the CEO of Activision Blizzard.
Now you know, so please feel free to apply a swift round-house kick OF KNOWLEDGE to those you see yelling that Activision is running or ruining Blizzard.





16 Comments

Love the history, the links, obviously more than a "my opinion is" post. Well done.

I do wonder about Blizzard's famous "When it's ready" ship date. Vivendi is an artistic creation business and knows that a song or a game or a created thing could be polished forever. To counter that, there is and will always be ship date goals. It helps prioritize. Anyone who has worked in software development and anyone who has funded software development know that the date will be missed. The real question is by how much.

Back to "When it's ready". This runs counter to the assertion that Titan will release sooner if WoW subs decline. I'm sure that C-suite types at both Blizzard and Vivendi up the pressure as the development cycle lengthens - notice Jay Wilson's cavernous eyes and grey hair over time.

The real question and meta-question is "How much pressure to ship is appropriate relative to a creative endeavor?" In the case of Titan, the potential sale of AB will surely gray the hairs of the C-suite guys. In the end, it will be the relationship between Bobby Kotick, Rob Pardo and Jeffrey Kaplan that will determine whether the product is shipped early or not.
Great read! You really researched this stuff out. Umm you can just delete my previous thread mynsc... :p

So your idea of subs influencing Titans release got me thinking. What if Titan is free to play? I have to imagine that a free to play New MMO from Bliz would canablize a lot more people from WoW because who wants to continually pay for a game instead of playing a free one? You'd think that they drag out as much money from their subs as possible right?

I think you hit the nail on the head in stating Titan's announcement may get pushed up, especially in a sell situation. One potential positive thing that could come from a new owner is availability of resources that were previously unobtainable, depending on who buys the shares.
Definitely an interesting take on the subject, Mynsc. I of course have been unable to find it since, but that same night I found that tweet confirming Blizzard does do 'show and tells' I had seen another from someone in the game design business lamenting the fact that they always keep their projects secret while movies (and some other examples I forget, maybe music?) openly promote theirs in advance.

Sarnakyle - If Titan is really going to be Free to Play, wonder if they will do things like they did with Diablo 3 and WoW. Pledge to pay for a year of WoW, get some special benefit/items in WoW/Titan. Pay for a month of WoW during a special promotion, get some vanity item(s) for Titan. Or make the WoW pet store things carry over, presumably Titan will have companion pets, so you could have a Lil' KT in both games.

On the other hand, Titan may include a bunch of alternate revenue sources, like in-game ads (which may be confirmed), a RMAH (which Blizz gets a cut from), premium subscriptions like WoW/EQ have/had, etc.

Another thing it may do, if it is F2P, is focus more on DLC type transactions like the other MMOs that have gone F2P. For example the base game will include, say, 1-60, include the Norse, Egyptian, Greek, and Persian races, the Paleontologist, Shaman, Myrmidon, Berserker, and Priest classes and x questing zones/dungeons/raids.
Then sometime down the line, you can buy and unlock the new Atlantean race for $x.xx, the new Stormcaller class for $x.xx, and it may even have solo or small group size dungeons you can buy (like the adventure packs? in EQ2), which other people would be able to 'sample' by playing with someone that owns them. (Like how they wanted to do premium subscriptions to be able to invite your cross-realm Real ID friends)

The expansion(s), if it goes with more of a 'DLC' minded model, of course will include level cap raises, new races from the expansion content, new class, new leveling zones to accompany the new level range, etc. but then a few months down the line after that more new 'DLC" content comes out, like you will see new Aborigine NPCs in the expansion and be able to buy them as a race along with some new class you are introduced to, like Vampire Slayer.

I'm not sure how well such a model would work, maybe if the expansions were reasonably priced along with the 'DLC' content, but there would still likely be massive rage that it wasn't included in the first place.

Just for fun, trying to think if WoW had been run with that model:

TBC: New races High Elf for Alliance and Ethereal for Horde. New class Demon Hunter.

WotLK: New races Vrykul for Alliance and Taunka? for Horde. New class Necromancer.

Cataclysm: New races Aarakoa(?) for Alliance and Dragonkin (whatever those bipedal dragon things are) for Horde. New class Runemaster.

How well it would have been received? I have no idea, probably not well by the vocal members of the community, unless it was free in content patches. However, if they had sold that stuff as mid-expansion DLC? They probably would have made millions off Vrykul, Necromancer, Ethereal, High Elf, and Demon Hunter alone. I hate to say it, but when I was actively playing WoW, I probably would have bought most of that if it was reasonably priced. I loved playing the different classes for the first time, and have always thought it was pretty lame the Alliance lost their High Elves, despite seeing them as NPCs still. Imagine a Vrykul warrior in T10, too, Fury spec dual wielding Armageddon or something. That would kick ass.

Edit: Whoops, got sidetracked trying to remember what NPC races/classes were prevalent in those WoW expansions.
Anyways, this link has been tossed around a lot lately in regards to Diablo 3. I noticed a quote on it, and made me think of the whole in-game ads in Titan thing.

"[Blizzard] has been thinking about how StarCraft, because it is a short-session experience, can actually be the model for in-game advertising and sponsorship and tournament play and ladder play for the future."


'Short-session experience.' I am guessing that means that unlike say WoW, you aren't playing in the same world for hours, and will just be in 5-40 minute matches? If it means in-game ads would work with it because every so often you will go back to a 'dashboard' where presumably the ads would be, that really makes me curious if Titan may be similar. It's late though and my body is saying go to bed while my mind races onward, and I'm sure there's some evidence out there that specifically states Titan will be more like WoW in implementation, but I'm picturing something like PSO where you start on a space station/city (that would have the ads around it on billboards etc.) then use matchmaking/pre-made parties to go do a mission, 10-40 minutes later you finish it, go back to the hub, get exposed to more ads, repeat. =]

Hmm, speaking of which, I believe PSO 2 is in open beta now, haven't been following that at all, wonder how it's doing.

Back to "When it's ready". This runs counter to the assertion that Titan will release sooner if WoW subs decline. I'm sure that C-suite types at both Blizzard and Vivendi up the pressure as the development cycle lengthens - notice Jay Wilson's cavernous eyes and grey hair over time.

The real question and meta-question is "How much pressure to ship is appropriate relative to a creative endeavor?" In the case of Titan, the potential sale of AB will surely gray the hairs of the C-suite guys. In the end, it will be the relationship between Bobby Kotick, Rob Pardo and Jeffrey Kaplan that will determine whether the product is shipped early or not.


Nicely said! You have a very good point, but you only mention the ship date, which is indeed less flexible and probably very far away. When writing the article, I was mostly thinking at the announcement date. I think this has quite a free role, in the sense that it can move in time easier and by bigger margins, in case current events demand it. Events like a huge sale or a drop in WoW subs or why not, an increase in WoW subs (which would probably move it away from us).

So your idea of subs influencing Titans release got me thinking. What if Titan is free to play? I have to imagine that a free to play New MMO from Bliz would canablize a lot more people from WoW because who wants to continually pay for a game instead of playing a free one? You'd think that they drag out as much money from their subs as possible right?

I think you hit the nail on the head in stating Titan's announcement may get pushed up, especially in a sell situation. One potential positive thing that could come from a new owner is availability of resources that were previously unobtainable, depending on who buys the shares.


A Free2Play can still bring tons of cash to Blizzard, if it's well thought one and the game is successful. But yeah, the sub model is probably more rewarding for a company so indeed they might not be willing to lose it so quick.

As for the second paragraph, I don't think Blizzard has had any real resource problems in the last years. I guess another owner, more specialized on making / publishing games could offer more expertise than Vivendi or catter more appropiately to some needs (although I think this is one of the reasons for which Activision was brought in), but on the other hand, it's hard to see one big enough to be able to buy not only Blizzard, but Activision too. :D As far as I know, right now, EA is valued at less than ActiBlizz, so this is not a possibility, and EA is one of the biggest out there.

I'm not sure how well such a model would work, maybe if the expansions were reasonably priced along with the 'DLC' content, but there would still likely be massive rage that it wasn't included in the first place.

Yes, the reaction would be pretty crazy and in a way well deserved. The MMO industry is moving away from the Pay2Play model and I think this partially includes the DLC model too. I mean, you'd have to pay to be able to access huge parts of the world, or classes, races, etc, besides having to buy an expansion. I think it would be a model too extreme.
Damn, I am late to the party, most of the good points were already made. Anyway, I do agree with previous posters, this is a very well written and researched article that looks more professional then most of the drivel in my local newspapers.

As for your points, while I do agree that WoW's subs have a major impact on Blkizzard's decisions simply because they are the biggest source of revenue to the company, I do not fully agree with you on the point that decision about announcing Titan is solely dependant on WoW's subs. That is simply because subs are a very, very fickle thing and monthly or quaterly report whith mere number of subbed people doesn't give a whole lot of information. Subs are cyclical, some people join, others quit for few months and then come back, some leave but are then lured back in. It just seems to me that it would a very bad idea for Blizzard to base such a important decision on which quite literally the future of company hinges on, on something like sub number for a particular month or quater. Now what they could do and what they should do is monitoring long-term behaviour of subs, all the falls and rises with the goal of making a good model for predicting sub growth or fall that will give them net sub number, and then they can discuss the number of subs in net growth or net loss. But, like it sounds, is still mostly predicting how subs will behave in some future period. Which isn't that good for a business.

So, yes I agree with you that WoW subs are one of the most important elements in Titan's future, however I disagree with the implication that if they have a particulary bad month and period, they will announce the Titan. What if they have horrendous perior, for example, lose half their subs and it overall seems like WoW is doomed. Then they hurry and annouce Titan (on that topic, I also agree with you that they have probably long since prepaired for Titan's announcement and that, if need be, they could announce it right now), bu then in the meantime, WoW made a complete recovery, subs have returned on their old levels the next month. What are they supposed to do, un-announce Titan because WoW is still making money? No, Titan's announcement and release are closely related to WoW and it's subs, but my, long-winded, point is that they can't think in such short-term basis like, WoW is doing bad this quarter, let's announce Titan, but they have to think long-term both in WoW's current and potential future subs, state of the gaming industry, competition and, as you have written and with which I agree, financial reasons completely outside of the industry.

As for Vivendi, the problem with that issue is that it is so multi-pronged. Yes, I absolutely agree with you, if Vivendi decides to sell Activision Blizzard, having one more game on the resume, especially a game that has a high chance of being another WoW, to repeat the success of WoW would be amazing for them. That, of course does have problem of basically meaning additional costs during the development of said game, or Titan, but any serious investor/s with money to buy Activision Blizzard would have the money to finance that, with the promise of another WoW giving them billions. However, the issue comes from conflict, Vivendi would want that Titan announced so that they can sell the company for more money then they would normally be able to get, but that comes as additional factor to the long-term decision making and whole host of other factors I talked about in the first part, how does Vivendi ambition go against state of WoW's subs, Blizzard's long term plans, Activision's long term plans and any plans any sort of buyer would have for the company, plus Titan's development process and even a factor like global crisis. All that creates a complicated mess of financial decisions that leave us with ability to do nothing but speculate.

As for last point, yes it is irritating when people say something like "Bli$$ard", or "Blizzard no longer exists" etc, all of which are bad attempts at making Blizzard seem like some merciless giant that is (ab)using customers, etc. It is kind of cultural issue nowadays, with people, mostly younger kids, thinking they are cool or rebells if they go online and bash some large corporation, while wearing clothes, sitting on furniture, using tools, eating food, and having a concept of coolness that were all built or set by large corporations. It is different with people who generally rebel against society and choose to live as hobos or the like, but when people who obviously have computer, internet, by stats, most likely high speed one, and all other benefits of civilization do it, it just sounds, and ultimately is, as hypocrisy. Don't get me wrong, we should critisize and call out companies and individuals that are infriging on our rights, like FBI and media corps that are trying to censor the internet and, by extension, free speech, but bunch of idiots calling out something like consumer rights and "uniting" through internet for some pointless cause because some company doesn't listen to what is basically, law of the lynch mob, is ludicrous.

And, since you said it is okay to ask you, and I was always curious, how did you decide on the name "mynsc". It is a fairly unusual and difficult to pronounce. I don't mean that in insulting manner, this is just curiousity. For the longest time i pronounced it as "mysinc", which I am not certain is the right pronounciation. If you want mine name for yours, I wanted to make a language-neutral name that sounded like a real name, which is to say it didn't have any nouns in it, that I could use anywhere, that was unique and that didn't single me out as any nationality.

As for last point, yes it is irritating when people say something like "Bli$$ard", or "Blizzard no longer exists" etc, all of which are bad attempts at making Blizzard seem like some merciless giant that is (ab)using customers, etc. It is kind of cultural issue nowadays, with people, mostly younger kids, thinking they are cool or rebells if they go online and bash some large corporation, while wearing clothes, sitting on furniture, using tools, eating food, and having a concept of coolness that were all built or set by large corporations. It is different with people who generally rebel against society and choose to live as hobos or the like, but when people who obviously have computer, internet, by stats, most likely high speed one, and all other benefits of civilization do it, it just sounds, and ultimately is, as hypocrisy. Don't get me wrong, we should critisize and call out companies and individuals that are infriging on our rights, like FBI and media corps that are trying to censor the internet and, by extension, free speech, but bunch of idiots calling out something like consumer rights and "uniting" through internet for some pointless cause because some company doesn't listen to what is basically, law of the lynch mob, is ludicrous.


Reminds me of that 'occupy wall street' where a picture was going around showing the 'protesters' with smart phones, brand name apparel, etc. :laughing:

And, since you said it is okay to ask you, and I was always curious, how did you decide on the name "mynsc". It is a fairly unusual and difficult to pronounce. I don't mean that in insulting manner, this is just curiousity. For the longest time i pronounced it as "mysinc", which I am not certain is the right pronounciation. If you want mine name for yours, I wanted to make a language-neutral name that sounded like a real name, which is to say it didn't have any nouns in it, that I could use anywhere, that was unique and that didn't single me out as any nationality.


I'm not him, nor do I know the reasoning, but I've always thought it was a take on Minsc from Baldur's Gate. :turned:

http://www.gamefaqs....line-2/63237102
So, I started looking at some PSO 2 info, and saw this topic. Pretty close to what I had outlined as a possible F2P Titan plan, where you have a Premium monthly sub plan that gets you cool/better stuff, then a cash shop where you can buy utility items, new characters, character re-customization, vanity items, etc.

For Blizzard though it's hard to say which way they would go if it is F2P. On one hand, like with PSO 2 and other F2Ps (as a 'vet' of the original PSO, seeing things like skill resets, mag resets, scape dolls as possibly real money only items is disheartening) they might go all out and make you buy 'necessary' things like extra storage space, new classes, etc.

On the other hand, Blizzard has made more money than most people could ever hope to make in their lives by selling silly things like the That Retarded Horse/Winged Lion mount, and Lil' XTs/Lil' KTs/Lil' Moonkins. I'm not sure I want to know how many millions they made from those things, I think the Winged Lion mount was $3-6 mil on the first day alone.

If players are already willing to buy 'vanity' things like that, would they be willing to buy 'necessity' things like classes, races, 'adventure packs'? They're already paying, what, $10-25 for 'vanity' things (the mounts at least save you some gold I guess), and I'm sure the people that scoff at the 'TRH' owners would buy things if it was more useful like a new race/class or content. For Blizzard's executives, that much potential profit is probably hard to ignore.

Reminds me of another Daeity post, where he emailed Blizzard's VP of Online Technologies about them putting in a RMAH for WoW, and was told: Retrofitting something like the RMT AH into an established game like WoW is considerably more challenging than building a game with the AH in mind.

Think he was referring to D3...or Titan? :devil:
@Dendarang

Even late, you managed to add quite a few interesting points. :) Was a good read, don't have much to add to it. When it comes to Vivendi, I think, as the parent company and considering the fact that if they decide to sell ActiBlizz they won't be very interested in the long-term success of the company, they will practically force an announcement, no matter other factors. But even so, this shouldn't hurt the game too much, unless it reaaaally is not ready to be made public.

And, since you said it is okay to ask you, and I was always curious, how did you decide on the name "mynsc". It is a fairly unusual and difficult to pronounce. I don't mean that in insulting manner, this is just curiousity. For the longest time i pronounced it as "mysinc", which I am not certain is the right pronounciation. If you want mine name for yours, I wanted to make a language-neutral name that sounded like a real name, which is to say it didn't have any nouns in it, that I could use anywhere, that was unique and that didn't single me out as any nationality.


Go for the eyes Boo, GO FOR THE EYES!! RrraaaAAGHGHH!!! This should answer the question. I was (and still am, although I haven't replayed it in quite a while) a huge Baldur's Gate fan and this character really stood above the rest for 15 year old me. :D And still does actually hehe. So I took his name, with a small modification because as I quickly found out, it was quite a popular ign. And I've pretty much kept it since then.

I agree it's not a charismatic name and pretty hard to pronounce / write, but it's a bit better now. Back in the day, people usually took me for an N'sync fan. :))
Updated the Vivendi's plans section with a link to another Bloomberg report. Looks like Vivendi has indeed decided on selling ActiBlizz, if we're to believe the site's sources.
“The problem is there are no readily apparent buyers for Activision,” Pachter said.

Ok, scary news I have to admit. The problem with this statement is it suggests that Vivendi will have to make the package as attractive as possible. This further strengthens Mynsc's prediction that Blizzard could be forced to reveal Titan. Why wouldn't they? They're looking for a 8.1 billion dollar deal. It's gonna take a LOT of incouragment to make another company decide to fork over that kind of money in these times. But: "Both Pachter and Woo recommend buying Activision stock."

There are other concerns as well. Would the company that bought them try to control Bliz more? Like "no more it's finished when it's finished." or would the they to manage Titan in light of some of the bad press Diablo is receiving? Questions about a company's future will always arise when it is up for sale.

Lastly, Bloomberg is pretty reliable source of info so I'll give this article a 80% chance of being valid.
First off, I would like to apolgise, I haven't been checking this site reguraly, so I just now saw your responses. Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2 were always on the list of games that I wanted to play, yet never got around to actually playing them. I have heard basically nothing but great things about them and I am aware that they are hailed as some of the greatest PC RPGs ever, but I still have never played them, though, now that I have fairly large chunk of free time, I might play them over this summer. As for the name, I wouldn't say it is uncharismatic just odd, or better put, unusual to the unknowing ears. When I was creating my own name I had thought about using modified version of name of some of my favorite characters but I ultimately decided against it because I wanted a name that is, amongst other things, fandom neutral.

As for your update, not much to say it to it, other then now we can only wait and see if your theory of Vivendi forcing Blizzard to unveil Titan will be true or false. That is, of course, assuming that the rumor is true. One thing that I have been curious about is, why is Vivendi selling Blizzard. As far as I am aware, Vivendi has owned Blizzard since the 90s and Blizzard is still one of, if not the, most lucrative game company in the industry. The most obvious reason would probably be because Vivendi, not Blizzard, is having great deal of financial troubles and wants to cut some expenses but that still doesn't really make a lot of sense to me seeing as how lucrative as a company Blizzard is. Now, I will be first to admit that I am not an economist so, I may not be completely aware of all the processes that are going around there, but it still doesn't seem like smart decision. Though, if it really leads to earlier release of Titan, it may be one of my favorite decisions in the world of business, ever.

As for the last part of this post, I want to quote two posts that (obviously) aren't mine, but that are both interesting.

First one is straight up is mostly interesting because it is one of few complations of major game shows that are coming up, which is information that is irritatingly difficult to find.


The upcoming events, I can remember off the top of my mind, for the former are:
  • Game Developers Conference Online (Austin, Texas) — October 9-11, 2012
  • Games Convention Online (Leipzig, Germany)
  • GamesCom (Cologne, Germany) – August 15-19, 2012
  • PAX Prime – Aug 31-Sept 2, 2012
So that there are no issues, this one is from Blizzplanet article posted about a week ago on this url: http://www.blizzplan...nouncement-soon

So, what do you think? Now that we have fairly strong rumor that Vivendi might be selling Blizzard, do you think that there is a chance for Titan announcement on any of these. Or perhaps on one of the smaller ones? I admit, I am not certain on which of these will Blizzard be present. One thing I would be willing to bet is that Titan won't be revealed on Gamescom, for all the same reasons that they have been absent from E3 since Blizzcon started.

And the second one I was going to copy/paste is a Diablo forum post which alerted me to detail on the job postings page. Which :


Blizzard Entertainment is seeking a senior engineer who possesses a powerful blend of user interface interest / expertise and 3d graphics experience to join our Next-Gen, MMO team. The candidate is responsible for helping Blizzard Entertainment set a new industry standard for user interfaces (UI) in gaming.

Responsibilities
  • Create world class UI system that is movie quality (but still highly usable).
  • Build a 2d / 3d UI framework.
  • Create in-game UI to support and augment gameplay systems.
  • Work closely with UI designer to implement UI features in game.
url: http://us.blizzard.c...html?id=100006L

Now, I might be ingorant of the more techincal aspects of creating a game, hell, I most definately am. But, what is a "world class UI system that is movie quality (but still highly usable)"? How can UI be of movie quality, what is movie quality for a UI in the first place. Maybe they are referring to how high def it is? How cinematic it is? Or are they talking about some type of HUD? I really don't know. I realise that neither of these are ground breaking and that you have most likely seen both of these, but still, I thought they were interesting for spurring some discussion, if only a few posts.
And for that matter the second point in the list is equally confusing, to me at least, maybe this is stupidly obvious to someone. What is a 3D UI? Or, more to the point, how can UI, numbers, thumbnails and pictures that convey information about happening in the virtual world, how can that be 3D. My best guess would be something like 3D maps which were present, in, I believe, one of newer Metroid games.
@Dendarang

Phew, you write lengthily articals :) Ok so the Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition is currently in the works. It is rumored to be released in September. I highly recommend you pick this game up when it does release. It is essentially an updated version of the original with changes being made only through non-mandatory DLC. If you really just wanna play it this summer then by all means to ahead. I just thought I'd let you know about the enhanced edition.

I am torn on how I feel about the possibility of Titan getting a force reveal. Part of me is like you in the aspect of really wanting to know what this game is (if they even released a single screenshot I would blow up!). But I also don't want this game to get shown before it is ready. If there is full public awareness, that creates pressure. Pressure from investors, pressure from fans, pressure from management to get systems running and this can cause things to get rushed. I would gladly wait an extra year to get all systems running smooth as butter instead of getting the product out the door, than making major patches right away. The whole situation is interesting, if not concerning.

Why don't you think it has a chance to be revealed at GamesCon? If I had to chose one of those four events, that is the one I think they WOULD reveal Titan at (I will still be floored if this actually happens). Bliz has confirmed they will be there and there is a bit of hype surrounding them at this event. I don't think we would see a Titan reveal until we get some kind of confermation that these rumors are true and that Vivendi is in fact selling. And to answer your question, I have read that Vivendi has increasing debt, there for promoting the sale. I don't know much about them but they must have other assets that look much better than Activison/Blizzard.

As for the job posting, this is why I'm so pumped for this game! This helps to confirm my thought that Bliz will be pulling out all the stops for this game! Good news, good news :)

I am torn on how I feel about the possibility of Titan getting a force reveal. Part of me is like you in the aspect of really wanting to know what this game is (if they even released a single screenshot I would blow up!). But I also don't want this game to get shown before it is ready. If there is full public awareness, that creates pressure. Pressure from investors, pressure from fans, pressure from management to get systems running and this can cause things to get rushed. I would gladly wait an extra year to get all systems running smooth as butter instead of getting the product out the door, than making major patches right away. The whole situation is interesting, if not concerning.

^Agree

Maybe Titan is build around 3D? Would be really awesome :)

Maybe Titan is build around 3D? Would be really awesome :)

Or maybe they are referring to a world 3D map instead of 2D... who knows? :o

As for your update, not much to say it to it, other then now we can only wait and see if your theory of Vivendi forcing Blizzard to unveil Titan will be true or false.


Can't take credit for the theory. It belongs to the analyst I mentioned and linked in the article, namely Jeff Borack.

. As far as I am aware, Vivendi has owned Blizzard since the 90s and Blizzard is still one of, if not the, most lucrative game company in the industry. The most obvious reason would probably be because Vivendi, not Blizzard, is having great deal of financial troubles and wants to cut some expenses but that still doesn't really make a lot of sense to me seeing as how lucrative as a company Blizzard is. Now, I will be first to admit that I am not an economist so, I may not be completely aware of all the processes that are going around there, but it still doesn't seem like smart decision. T


Not an economist either, but from what I understand, Vivendi has some debt problems that it wants to get rid of and they decided the best way to go about doing this is selling some of their non-core business. Acti-Blizz has probably been chosen because of its high value, of the general skepticism that investors have concerning the gaming industry and because Vivendi wants to switch focus towards other domains.

So, what do you think? Now that we have fairly strong rumor that Vivendi might be selling Blizzard, do you think that there is a chance for Titan announcement on any of these.


They don't necessarily need an event to announce the game. They could do it through a press release, a couple of high-profile interviews and a shiny presentation site. Being a new game, showing it at an event is definitely not going to cause the same reactions as when D3 was first announced, at a Blizzard invitational.

I don't think it will be announced at gamescom, but not only because of what I said in the previous paragraph. To announce a game you need to have a name for it. To have a name for it, in this day and age and with a corporation as huge as Blizzard, it means trademarking it first and all that legal stuff. It's how Cataclysm and MoP were first discovered. I've been watching Blizzard's activity in this field and nothing has popped up so far, which makes me believe that we won't have an announcement in the next 2 months or so.

I might be wrong of course, either because of some legal implications I'm not aware of or maybe because they'll do this extremely fast, at Vivendi's pressure, so the name will get trademarked just a few days / weeks before its announcement.

  • Create world class UI system that is movie quality (but still highly usable).
  • Build a 2d / 3d UI framework.


The first point might refer to the fact that in movies, UIs are designed with the single purpose of looking impressive and other factors like usability, system resources needed etc don't matter. This of course leads to some really nice looking interfaces, that steal you eyes for the few seconds they're on screen, but which would fail in a real-life scenario because they're just for show off. Blizzard wants the best of both worlds. :D An UI that looks as spectacular as the ones we see in good movies, while also being highly usable.

As for the second bullet point, I believe it means building a set of tools that allow for more efficient UI designing. Something like a map editor, but for UIs. 3D just means that it should be able to build 3D interfaces too. The most basic and well known 3D Interface I can think of is the Aero-Flip for switching between applications in Windows. Can't think of an MMO that uses one though.
Hi there, great job with the website =)

To be honest I think the idea of Vivendi forcing Blizzard to reveal Titan is absurd. The only way I see it happening is if the talks with prospective buyers fall through and they have to put the shares for sale on the open market. As for these prospective buyers there is an article posted here: http://www.reuters.c...tionNews&rpc=43

Although a formal process has not started, bankers close to Vivendi are sounding out cash-rich trade players, including China's Tencent and U.S. duo Time Warner and Microsoft, as well as private-equity heavyweights KKR, Providence and Blackstone, banking sources said.


The reason why I think Titan won't be revealed is because these prospective buyers would not want it to be revealed. They will discuss it behind closed doors under a million NDA's but they will definitely not reveal it to public because these buyers will also be interested in maintaining a competitive advantage in the market and having Titan secret. If Titan is revealed, for them the value of ActiBlizz goes down.

However, if no-one wants to buy it and Vivendi decides not to spin-off ActiBlizz and Universal into another company, they will put the shares on open market and most likely reveal Titan to create appetite for shares.

The reason why I think Titan won't be revealed is because these prospective buyers would not want it to be revealed. They will discuss it behind closed doors under a million NDA's but they will definitely not reveal it to public because these buyers will also be interested in maintaining a competitive advantage in the market and having Titan secret. If Titan is revealed, for them the value of ActiBlizz goes down.


Interesting idea.. I think that you could be right. There is no real reason to reveal Titan to people aside from those potential buyers unless they go open market. I sure hope your right!

Welcome to TF btw :)