For the uninitiated, Blizzard is, without any doubt or room for argument, the most successful video game company in the world. They own three main intellectual properties: Diablo, StarCraft and WarCraft. Each, in their time, has been responsible for millions of hours of lost productivity, huge sections of the Internet slowing to a crawl, gang fights and at least few random fuckers playing the games so long that they fell over dead from forgetting to tend to their bodily functions. Their yearly revenues are in the billions of dollars. More people play their games on a daily basis than live in the metropolitan area of Los Angeles county.
Diablo is a point and click fantasy action game that introduced an entire generation of soon-to-be goths to their first pentagrams. Everyone called in an RPG, but it was really a way to make people buy more pain medication after they developed Carpal Tunnel syndrome from all that clicking. I hated this game, but it did change the face of how people viewed fantasy games and helped to bring PC gaming back from the brink of death. They are working on Diablo III right now, and the Internet neckbeards are up in arms because apparently the teaser screenshots Blizzard has shown have this weird shit called “color” and “light” slathered all over their “dark” and “brooding” game.
StarCraft is a futuristic realtime strategy game that is over a decade old and it is still played as something of a national nerd past-time in Korea. There are three fucking cable channel dedicated to nothing more than watching people move little men around the screen. But, oh man, what those crazy Koreans can make those little men do is amazing. I played a good bit of StarCraft in my youth, and I can say that it is the only competitive video game in history to achieve perfect balance. What is more impressive is that they did it with a trinary balance (three sides) instead of the traditional binary balance (two sides, ala chess and checkers). They are currently in the process of making StarCraft II. When that game launches I fully expect Korean to disappear from the map.
WarCraft is their third major IP, one that started as a fantasy RTS prior to StarCraft. But, what you really need to know is that Blizzard made a persistent world game out of WarCraft that launched back in 2004. Since launching the game has grown to have over 12 million world wide subscribers. Blizzard rakes in around 150 million dollars a month from this game. In movie revenue terms they are releasing Iron Man every month of the year. The second expansion is slated to come out for this game in a few weeks.
I’m talking about this because BlizzCon started today. BlizzCon is a giant Blizzard fan wank. Tens of thousands of nerds gathered in Anaheim, California to worship at the feet of Blizzard. And this isn’t some small thing. We’re talking about a group of nerds equivalent to the population of a good sized town showing up to this. And the best part?
Some of them dress up.
Please tell me what I’m looking at. Please.