At least that way they're "still a Blizzard customer." There's plenty more room for big MMO titles "to share customers," and grow the global MMO market.
"For us, I think it's really important that we recognize that somewhere, sometime it's likely that someone is going to cannibalize World of Warcraft players," said Blizzard co-founder and product development EVP, Frank Pearce.
"So it's better we cannibalize them ourselves than let someone else do that, because if we cannibalize them ourselves, they're still a Blizzard customer." Diablo III will be out before the new 'Titan' MMO project and will likely pull away some of the WoW base.
"Whether it's a Blizzard game or another great MMO, I think there's plenty of space in the market for great MMOs to share customers," he continued. Blizzard has high hopes for BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO, believing it could help the genre.
"We have players that burn through content in weeks or months that takes us two years to create. There are so many people looking to play these experiences so passionately, so many hours a week, I think there's plenty of space for the industry to grow."
He points to EA's The Sims franchise which has spun gold for the studio despite 'saturating' the market with endless add-ons and expansions. It still struts its stuff among the top 10 in the videogame sales charts today with new releases.
"If people are looking at something like that and saying there's no space, then I don't know what to say," said Pearce. "If you make a great game experience that's really awesome, there's always more room in that market."
Can only a Blizzard game cannibalize World of Warcraft?