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Friday, August 4, 2000

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Diablo II vs Harry Potter?
12:39 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The usually staid New York Times has posted a curious article about Blizzard's recent release Diablo II, which draws economic and marketing parallels between this game and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, also a tremendous financial success, and also aimed at a similar segment of the market.

Helpful IMG reader Tyler Cheung pointed us to this article and a discussion thread that follows it, which is currently involved in a debate on violence in video games. The article itself is, in our humble opinion, a bit of a stretch, but it does make the interesting point that video games still register only slightly on the media radar -- and when they do, it is only as a negative reaction.

According to their calculations, Diablo II is nearly as profitable as the Harry Potter book, which broke all records for preorders (as did D2) as well as sold a greater volume on the first day as any book in history. Here is an excerpt:

In terms of revenue, that puts Diablo II within striking distance of the Potter book, which sold nearly three million copies in its first weekend in stores, according to Scholastic, its publisher, but those sales were often at deep discounts to the cover price of $25.95. Diablo II is on track to be one of the top-selling computer games.

Yet Diablo II, which is intended for older teenagers and adults, has hardly registered on the media radar screen. And while Potter and his creator, J. K. Rowling, have won praise around the globe for drawing videogame-crazed and television-besotted young people back to reading, games like Diablo II draw condemnation for ensnaring players in a morbid worldview and gluing them antisocially to a computer screen.

The article ends with an ironic twist -- it seems the publishers of the Harry Potter series are currently looking into developing video games based on the series, while Blizzard is developing a series of books based on their video game.

While a bit scatterbrained for a NYT article, this does raise several interesting points -- why do you think media portrayal of video games and gamers is so uniformly negative? Is it simply fear of the unknown? And what impact does the violence of a game, such as Diablo II, have on youth versus the violence in a book such as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which begins with a murder and features some violent content as well? Let us know through this article's comment page and IMG's forums.

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Archives  News  Diablo II vs Harry Potter?