Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blizzard's investor call and us

Yesterday was another of Activision-Blizzard's investor calls and while not a lot of light was shed on Diablo 3's release date, we can draw at least one tentative conclusion from the discussions. The folks at Blizzard bragged how the Real Money Auction House would bring them some nice profit margins.

Why should we care about that? Well, if it's good for Blizzard, it's good for us, both in the short and long terms.

If Blizzard is very optimistic about the RMAH, that means they are expecting a lot of activity. A very active market is preferable to a torpid one. It means that goods move easily and they don't spend a lot of time on the virtual "shelves". Blizzard already knows what items will be traded on the auction house and I can infer from here that they are trying to make those items very desirable for trading. Of course, that's my take on it and I might be proven wrong, but why would they expect so much activity if their items were boring as opposed to very desirable? It stands to reason that Blizzard will do all they can to facilitate lots of trading on the RMAH. After all, not only have they invested heavily in the concept but this will be their only income from Diablo 3 in the foreseeable future.

For us players, this could potentially mean 2 things in the short run: a) exciting items that drop from monsters or that we can buy from other players on the RMAH (or even the gold auction house) and b) the possibility of easily selling our own items thanks to a very lively market.

In the long run, if the Real Money Auction House turns out profitable, this can mean all sorts of things. First, it will help run Blizzard's servers. Yeah, I know, we wouldn't care about that if the game could be played offline, but there's nothing we can do at this point. Second, it will help Blizzard make improvements to the game. Third, if the RMAH concept becomes successful, we are guaranteed to see this paradigm in future games, not only from Blizzard but from other developers as well. Fourth, well, in the very long run this real money trading concept that once alienated and frightened us might turn out to be a way of life and something that's widely accepted in the gaming and entertainment community.

My take is that Blizzard's optimism regarding the Real Money Auction House should easily translate into our own. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

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