From Disappointment to Optimism (The Blizzard/Sony Relationship)
A match made in heaven?
I have mixed feelings about the PS4. That being said, I am sure there are more accomplished writers here that can speak to the ups and downs of what was shown. However, I wanted to focus specifically on what I felt was one of the bigger surprises of the whole show; Blizzard backing the new Sony console.
The first reason for surprise is obvious, the majority of Blizzard’s success is based in the PC market and their Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo franchises. They have been the PC gamer’s go-to company for quality strategy and hack & slash roleplaying games. In fact, in a sea of developers that seem to rush unfinished products out the door in order to jump start the revenue stream, they are one of the few that decides to do things their way. This includes taking the time to make sure that their games are done right and still sticking with the PC platform, which was expected to be on the decline (in your face industry analysts!). Chris Metzen, who was by far my favorite presenter of the whole press event, did say something about console development being in “Blizzard’s blood” due to where they started. While their first bit of work did go to consoles, it was their PC games that made them as big as they are today. That line struck me more as marketing text than anything else.
Secondly, Blizzard strikes me as an odd developer to move to the console based on the style of game they make. They are not easily portable and working within the limitations of a console also introduces a number of issues that I imagine do not exist within PC game development. Mind you, this all can be explained through the Blizzard Activision union. As Activision is showing through their recent support of the Bungie project Destiny, they are more than willing to invest in developers that are willing to push products across multiple platforms. The money math in that case seems to make sense.