"is valid," they want their community "connected" however.
That don't want separate groups online for each game but as an "overarching Blizzard community," so everyone is provided the "benefits" of a platform.
The rise of 'always-on' is proving an issue for many gamers especially when it's demanded on single player experiences. Blizzard don't promote it primarily as some DRM method though but as a way to connect their community together regardless of the game.
"The opinions of the people who feel like they don't want to be online when they're playing is valid. But for us, our goal is to have an always-connected community, and not just necessarily a community around World of Warcraft, and not necessarily a community around StarCraft or StarCraft 2, but an overarching Blizzard community," said Frank Pearce.
"To create that community and provide everyone who's part of that community the benefits of that community, we want them to be connected and playing online."
Piracy isn't their real motive behind Battle.net's new direction and integration. "I would never say it's not a factor, but it's definitely not the driving factor," said Pearce.
"Ultimately, if people want to pirate the game, they're going to find ways to pirate the game whether we require an online connection or not."
"Our focus is not on preventing piracy, but rather on creating an online experience that's so compelling for people that they aren't thinking about pirating the game because they want to be part of this community and they see value in having this community, almost as if this vibrant community is a bullet point you would put on the back of the box as a feature."
These words echo what Valve's Gabe Newell argued in that piracy can only be beaten by providing a superior service and not enforcing intrusive DRM, although Blizzard appears to be adopting both methods. Diablo III requires you to be always-on to play alone.
"Part of the decision as it relates to that is, is it more important we give the people who are on occasion going to want to play offline the ability to do that? Or is it more important we get this game into the hands of our players as quickly as we can?" he continued.
"We decided we wanted to get it into the hands of our fans as quickly as possible."
It's a "very high-class problem," noted Pearce. "To have a community that's so passionate about our games and what we're doing that they have strong opinions about this is a really nice position to be in. We definitely listen to the feedback from all the fans."
"Hopefully they trust us to make the right decisions for the games and for the community, not just for the short term but for the long term."
Blizzard doubts those who 'protest' against the changes will actually boycott their games. Their thinking is that they're so invested already they can't resist. "I don't think they would be posting that vigorously if they weren't invested enough to buy it. You would almost expect it. If they're an online activist lobbying for something in a game, it's like, you're so invested at that point you'd almost have to buy it," said StarCraft 2's Jonny Ebbert.
"Yeah. It's true that sometimes people's actions are different than their words," added Pearce. Check out the between Frank Pearce, Jonny Ebbert and Eurogamer. Are all these protests over needing to be online with Diablo III pointless?
Blizzard wants "an always-connected community" for all titles
02 September 2011 | By Simon Priest