After recent events, it is necessary to point out that Activision Blizzard has collectively said:
to the rest of the games developed for 2016.
Here is a quick glance at how they set themselves up to own the rest of the year.
First, they gave us little tastes of Overwatch Beta winter of last year. Then, when Gearbox’s Battleborn–the only new competition in the Team First-person shooter (TFPS) genre–was set to release, Blizzard dropped the hammer with a free Overwatch beta weekend hours before Battleborn’s midnight release.
Now, most gamers know that Uncharted is well, awesome. It is going to be played and expected to be a GOTY contender whenever a new chapter in the franchise is released. Blizzard said recently “they don’t just make games but they play them”, and it must be true. Knowing that people were going to be playing Uncharted, they only extended their weekend beta from the *cough cough* “coincidental” release of Battleborn to hours before the release of Uncharted. Effectively neutralizing their competitions opening before their game was even ready to launch.
Diabolical or Genius the proof is in the gameplay and they seem to have Battleborn’s number at every turn:
- Both have beautiful vibrant environments but where Battleborn’s UI can feel cluttered and abrasive to the ocular senses with all the information, Overwatch gives you less intrusive visuals and more audio queues (run away little girl run away),
- Where hours of gameplay/ more money must be used to unlock all the unique characters in Battleborn, Overwatch just gives you everyone and says here go wild. But the biggest detriment is that
- Where Battleborn matches will average close to 30 mins, Overwatch matches sit within 5-15 mins allowing for less frustration and investment in potential losses ( shorter match=less rage quitting that just causes people who stick it out to then have an even more agonizing defeat as they are temporarily outnumbered and behind.
Let’s talk about how this strategic attack on the competitors is a just a spring flurry compared to the full on Blizzard that is coming this summer (you like what we did there).
So here stands Overwatch, developing a solid player base against limited new blood, Call of Duty: Futurama edition (advanced warfare) with a very mixed reception, and a stale Destiny in need of a new expansion and some serious dedication to fixing bugs and recent crashes.
What is to follow?—On June 10 the long awaited WARCRAFT movie will be hitting theaters successfully bringing moviegoers into the World of Warcraft and previous wow players planning to capitalize on the WoW goodies sitting in the mailboxes of players going to Azeroth again or for the first time.
That alone is going to boost Warcraft population for at least the month of June.Even if the movie has the kind of reception expected from its initial negative reviews, with the monthly subscription, players want to get their month’s worth whether they buy it with in game gold or with real cash. But the month is all they need–
Then, they will have the pre-expansion event in July. Basically, if you are a recovering WoW addict this is when you begin your relapse and start building up your gold stacks for the coming expansion.
And what MMO is alive and well enough to deter you from this… EVERQUEST NEXT…sadly, that game is never coming out….
May, June, and July followed by the obvious boost in subs and sales from the Legion expansion. This is guaranteed to bring you back because demon hunter hero class , plus double jump, plus leveling the PvP playing field, plus “lore based” changes to classes and abilities, did I mention double jump…
Blizzard should change their slogan to hashtag winning.
After the first month wow formula dictates the release of the first raid wing and I will go ahead and predict Overwatch story driven DLC and hidden characters that are probably already developed. Why expect some type of story-based expansions?
Well, looking at the making of the game, the signs are there. It was originally Project Titan which was at least 4 years in the making before being Frankensteined into Overwatch.
Blizzard has established WoW’s “mini dungeon” Scenario encounters and proving grounds which both seem applicable to the Overwatch game modes and let’s not forget the comics and animated shorts that Blizz is producing that dump the much-needed exposition that is lacking from the current game modes. Seems to be no greater way for Blizz to capitalize on this new brand than by doing what they do best and delivering some awesome story to go along with some awesome gameplay.
Examining Warcraft I-III, we see that they have DROVES of lore. Overwatch is designed to follow suit and the mastermind/evil genius thing about it is that Blizzard with all its resources has the ability to deliver whatever additional content they want and it will probably prosper because even without it folks will still enjoy just playing the game.
Let’s not forget the other Blizzard franchises that are going to benefit from this recent success and synergy.
- Heroes of the Storm just added Tracer, Overwatch character, and it would be easy to add more to the line up there,
- Hearthstone Demon Hunter pack has to be added to the mix
- And Diablo IV is just begging to be teased at E3 with some new WoW or Overwatch inspired class to showcase.
So there it is, Blizz decided to take over gaming for 2016 while easily avoiding or just stomping out the competition this year. If you planned on coming back to WoW for a bit or are mildly hooked on Overwatch like we are, what do you think? Is Blizzard truly poised to dominate 2016 or are we overestimating this Gaming Behemoth?
Let us know, in the comments below.