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Tuesday, August 26, 2008
 
Blizzard's Successful Business Empire
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

BusinessWeek recently published a new article exploring the success of Blizzard Entertainment. The article examines the company's successful Craft franchises, it's efforts to keep in touch with gamers' wants, and its willingness to discard games before release if they aren't "fun enough."

Indeed, the 250-person outfit has become one the games industry's leading innovators, creating games that players crave and profitable new businesses that rival executives envy. "[They're] essentially design geniuses, making games easy enough for casual players and deep enough to attract and hook hard-core players," says Jeff Green, editor-in-chief of online gaming magazine 1Up.com. "Simple to learn, difficult to master is the holy grail of game design," he adds. "Blizzard does this every single time."

As Wilson suggests, Blizzard's purpose is simple: to make fun games. Sounds easy enough, but the task is complicated by the nature of modern video games, which can require development budgets rivaling those of blockbuster Hollywood releases or major corporate product rollouts. As the games industry has emerged as a serious business, Blizzard's hallmark has been its effective and persistent effort to remain in touch with players.

It's also learned to feed on criticism. Betas of future expansions to World of Warcraft include reporting software that allows players to offer instant feedback from within the game. Employees endlessly play and replay games both on and off the clock, constantly looking to make improvements. At lunch, "strike teams" play concentrated sessions of games in development to provide feedback. "You know a game is ready when management has to send e-mails out after lunch begging people to get back to work," jokes Wilson. Some designers even plan vacations to coincide with major release dates in order to play alongside regular consumers.
Head over to the site below to read more.

BusinessWeek: Inside The World Of Blizzard
Blizzard Entertainment


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