Blizzard EVP Frank Pearce has admitted that World of Warcraft’s subs base could be cannibalized before the release of the company’s next-gen MMO by its “other” game: Diablo III.
Speaking to Gama, Pearce admitted Blizzard’s mindful of incoming games that could chip players away from WoW before Titan’s release. And if anything’s going to do it in that time, it’ll be one of its own.
“It’s hard to say. I think even a shorter-term concern is whether or not we might see cannibalization of WoW players from Diablo III when we launch it, because it’s a similar type of experience,” said Pearce. “Not exactly similar, but it’s that RPG feel.”
He added: “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.
“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 still doesn’t have a release date, although a 2012 ship is likely.
Blizzard has said constantly that Titan and WoW can co-exist, but Pearce admitted that the transfer of main talent to the newer game is “deliberate.”
“Whether someone’s leaving for another team or moving onto other opportunities outside of Blizzard, it’s important for us to have a solid succession plan in place,” he said.
“World of Warcraft has been in development in some shape or form dating back to 1999, 2000, somewhere around there.
“That’s more than 10 years, and as cool as it is to be working on World of Warcraft, and as great as I think that would be for anyone to have an opportunity to contribute to something as successful as that, to do it for 10 years is potentially asking too much of someone.”
Titan has no release date as yet.