Blizzard Entertainment, BlizzCon, Overwatch, 2021 The New Studio Taking Over Blizzard Games & Xbox's Huge Mistake
So that’s an iffy situation there’s also a whole bunch to dive into there, because a lot of us suspect that there’s, a bit more of activision’s influence, slipping in and also team, xbox temporarily lost their minds, which is quite interesting. Also, a quick tease here is the january patreon note big art changes to the style of our stuff and also the sword pin, which is, i think, pretty damn awesome. The links are, of course below, and that is uh well the primary way that this channel is actually you know a thing. So a big thank you to you and let’s go first blizzard, so activision studio, vicarious visions are being folded into blizzard entertainment entirely. Now, for a recap, so you understand here: vicarious visions basically were legends of the early 2000s, particularly in the porting business, and that actually means that there’s a very high chance that you have played and loved one of their releases. Now, in more recent years, they were more of a support, team and a whole bunch of activision stuff. That, of course includes call of duty and destiny 2 until of course, bungie left. Very recently, though, they are the remaster guys they led crash and sane in trilogy. They, of course, were tony hawk pro skater, 1. 2 remaster. I mean these games were amazingly good remasters. If, if they had a skill, i think it would be creating different versions without losing the original’s vision or passion.
I think that’s how you could encapsulate the remasters that they worked on now, though they’re just a part of blizzard entertainment right. That means they’re dedicated entirely to well existing blizzard projects. This is honestly kind of tragic to those of us who loved their remasters. It really is and well it’s a bit of an end of an era, because this is a 31 year old studio and now well they’re kind of just slurped into blizzard entertainment. Now, on the blizzard side, though, this could be a sort of hopeful 200 man rescue mission. Blizzard’S output has been, i think, shockingly low for the resources they seem to have overall and not many of their initiatives have really helped out. With that i mean we spent half of 2020, releasing videos about how blizzard are continually losing their some of their best staff to greener pastures like riot games and then the likes of dreamhaven, which is a veritable blizzard 2.0 founded by the president of blizzard, who had Just left world of warcraft is doing very, very well absolutely but that’s. Basically, all they’ve got going for them right now, because overwatch 2 and diablo 4 are still just big old question marks on the horizon, not to mention their last release. Warcraft 3 reforged is unofficially the worst blizzard game ever it sucked. They need to be saved blizzard. That is – and i guess in this situation – um – who else but vicarious visions, to try to do that.
But this is not just an office full of good developers to use as they see fit. Our read here is that activision is injecting well a bit more of their own into blizzard entertainment into that other business unit. Maybe to write a sinking ship, i mean keep in mind here. Vicarious visions have been part of activision since 2005., right that’s three years before the blizzard merger, so they’re they’re the old blood of activision. In many ways, in fact, their studio head has been an activision since 2003, and after almost five years as a senior producer for activision, she was assigned to varkari’s visions, eventually becoming the studio hat. She now has been promoted to the executive vice president of development. At blizzard she is old, school activision she’s now the vp of development at blizzard, and she reports straight to jay allen brack, the current president. Now this is purely speculation on our end, but it seems to me that this is more of activision coming in there. Maybe it’s, just sort of saying, hey, activision, all blood who can get stuff done, go in there and show blizzard how to get stuff done. It sort of feels like that, with you know the studio head now being basically a vp of development to blizz. While all of this is just happening right now, it actually won’t be that long. We think until we start to see the fruits of this new partnership and we think the initial fruit is going to be diablo 2 remastered, so it’s an open secret that it’s been in the works but jason schreier all but confirms it himself and that it’s also Vicarious visions project they have been working on this for at least a few months.
The timing of this one. You know all of this happening one month before the online blizzcon replacement, that’s not lost on anyone, but all in all i’d say this should be good news for blizzard, because if you look at vicarius they’re, clearly a passionate and effective team who, when it came to Remastering those titles did an absolutely incredible job. They kept all the passion and the joy in those games. They didn’t poison them with unwanted modern editions. So if the diablo 2 remaster is anything like tony hawk remaster, then we’ve got nothing to be afraid of. So that is a positive. It does beg one question, though: why did they have to go to vicarious visions to remaster diablo 2? What about the blizzard classic games team? Well, according to bloomberg that team doesn’t exist anymore, because after a catastrophic release of warcraft 3 reforged and a grueling year, team one was restructured and that actually means that it was torn apart in october. This even included staff having to re interview for other positions with some of those staff upon the re interview actually being uh. You know, dropped team, one responsible for warcraft 3 reforged, which you may think oh wow team one they must suck. No, they also did heroes of the storm and starcraft ii and say what you want about heroes of the storm. I think a lot of that game is absolutely top notch. Quality it’s, just not necessarily the type of overarching design that would go up against a lull or a dota, but hot great game, starcraft 2 beautiful game and that all does explain.
Starcraft 2 support being dropped back in october. Right team one gone, it seems it’d, be cliche to call this an end of an era, since i think the era of the blizzard we all loved and could sort of just trust. Well, that’s, i think gone. I mean the main thing that i do in terms of you know like viewers, and all of that is our warcraft channel and even with me saying that i no longer treat blizzard the way that i did. I treat blizzard just like any other large publisher, because, frankly they they don’t deserve any better treatment. Because of well i mean how they do things so yeah. It does feel pretty damn miserable. To be honest, that team one’s legacy has came to such a bitter end, especially after just nailing it with starcraft, 2 and now they’re just kind of dead and gone. But maybe this is blizzard just accepting that it’s time to move on, and maybe there is some sort of new era where blizzard is a bit more corporate a bit more. You know ship shape and stuff, but actually um you know was able to ship product on time which maybe that’s good, maybe that’s bad. Maybe we should just think about dreamhaven and hope that it does well. I suppose it won’t be that long until we find out a bit more though, because blizzconline as they so cheesily put, it is, i believe, the 19th and 20th of february so about a month from now on the bright side.
Look if vicarious visions can do for diablo what they did for tony hawk and crash, then i guess uh. I mean that project’s not really in blizzard’s hands and that actually might be a good thing given how war three reforged went and on that by the way. It’S worth noting war, three reforged was not a big calamitous disaster because of the quality of team one or anything like that. It absolutely seems to be the case that that was just humongous leadership, budget and timeline failures that set that team up for a humongous failure, because how the hell in a timeline where microsoft are doing a new age of empires and are doing their definitive edition of Age, vampires too, that does super well, and all of this stuff is going really good. I mean how the hell do you go and mess up? Warcraft 3 wow it’s an odd time for blizzard we’ll just have to wait and see, but at least pretty damn solid team are working on the d2 remaster. We put the fan at the center of every decision we make moving over to redmond. Xbox’S leadership apparently lost their minds for a bit because out of the blue, they announced a significant bump in the xbox live gold pricing sort of following the steps of the likes of netflix. I suppose doing that little price bump it’s 2021 most of the world, is in lockdown we’ve all got subscription services to see them through the lockdown.
So i guess market leaders may as well try to get a bit more if they can right. So the plan here was an extra one dollar for those renewing monthly or an extra five dollars for the three month sub. Now this would have brought the new proposed pricing to 10.99 for one month, 29.99 for three months or 59.99 for six months, that’s. What a 12 month subscription used to cost? You might be thinking what about that sub. Well, remember they scrapped the 12 month option a while ago and that led to a whole bunch of speculation. Now that means that uh yeah a year of xbox live gold. That’S went from 60 bucks to 120 for new customers, so that’s rough, or rather it was going to be rough because after an absolutely brutal 15 hours of backlash, they walked back and then some. They said this. We messed up today, and you were right to let us know and when we said then some well, that was a long awaited, fix, xbox users. Now that this big calamity has happened, they’re no longer going to need to pay for xbox live gold in order to play free to play, games right, that’s, a pretty big change from the past. Now they said they’re working to deliver this in the coming months, but uh i mean look it’s one hell of a story. This is a company making an announcement, people disagreeing and giving them a big old slap for it and then the company listening and uh i mean it’s weird, because they they took one step back in their initial mess up and then i suppose, two steps, four, because Not only did they just revert the bad thing they were going to do, but then they actually gave people a bit more surprising.
I mean the backlash was something else to behold, but i think it was clearly successful here, at least anecdotally, like every big voice in the business, who complained also made sure to highlight how xbox is the only platform that makes you pay to play a free to Play game basically saying that you know it’s a 60 a year, hidden cost for those who just happen to buy the console, and that is something that hurts the value proposition, especially for families who just want to get an xbox to you know let their kid go And play fortnite, so xbox were going to raise that hidden cost to 120 a month. Just after releasing the xbox series s, the budget conscious console that basically was there to capture market share. You can see right, get your market share consolidate. You know, sort of increase. Those prices so yeah, i mean they’ve, seen the air of their ways here they promised to fix it. This is a win win situation, so let’s just hope for a hope for more of these and for consumers to continually be vigilant because it turns out sometimes when we are good stuff happens. Finally, let’s go over why they were going to make this change in the first place. It sounds hair, brained at best and extremely out of touch, but it did have a point beyond just increasing margins. They were basically using it to push people towards xbox game, pass. Ultimate right instead because it includes gold and has so so many other things in it, that’s.
Basically it their plan was was obvious. I think once they pulled the annual sub of xbox, live gold and then put gold onto game pass ultimate pretty much. They want you doing game pass ultimate. It is as simple as that so make the xbox live gold value proposition, really not as as good, which kind of makes xbox uh. You know game pass ultimate, makes that a sort of a better looking deal, a better value proposition yeah get people over there, so yes, gradually making one service worse to make the other one look better. By comparison, i don’t really think that’s the best way to um to advertise how good your product is to customers. I mean they’ve made it abundantly clear that their business model is reliant and game pass and getting people into the ecosystem. I think this change was obviously intended to incentivize people to spend just that little bit more for game pass ultimate and then pretty much just stay there forever on that big xbox subscription – and i think that is the core message here, be it disney plus, be it Xbox ultimate whatever it is, big companies are coming in there they’re wanting to get you on those recurring revenue. Bundles. Remember that, okay, that is it for me. I hope you enjoyed today’s video and, i suppose, speaking of a recurring revenue bundle, do you want to go and join in ours. You’Ll get some pretty sweet, patreon loot like that sword in your post box, so you can check that out down below.