tl;dr 1 – we all agree that Blizzard was out of touch when they didn't see it coming, but I think that if they explained their reasoning more, less people would have been outraged about it.
tl;dr 2 – I put dozens of hours making a short video with charts and graphs (I promise it is not your normal YouTube video) – https://youtu.be/4WvO0QxWWA8 (also, I will take the best arguments from this reddit post and add it to my next video on the subject.)
But for those of you who don't watch videos, I have pasted my video script here:
Last month, Blizzard announced that they will be releasing the new Diablo as a mobile-only game, which created a huge uproar. Now, most people realize that it's their game and they can do what they want, but what really confused people was blizzard’s reaction to people being upset about it. Blizzard was legitimately caught off guard when they were booed on stage… (shows clip)
So beyond generally being upset about it, most of the outrage is people wondering how Blizzard could be so out of touch that they did not see this coming? They built up all of this excitement and made the announcement expecting the crowd to cheer, but then when the crowd booed, they were shocked. We weren't shocked. We all knew it was going to happen, but they were.
So blizzard and The Gaming Community are obviously on different pages, and I think I know what happened. Blizzard is a big company with a lot of resources and even though I have no doubt that their game developers play lots of games, they are going to have a very different mindset about games than the rest of the world because games are their job.
And one of the things that they are all going to be keenly aware of that we are not necessarily aware of is that the gaming industry is experiencing one of the biggest shifts in the history of Gaming. Gaming is rapidly moving to the mobile phone. So much so that if you look at the data, a lot of experts would argue that within only 5 years, 80-90% of gaming will be on the mobile phone.
Now before you rage quit this video, let me show you the data that they're talking about so that you can decide for yourself whether or not you agree with them. Now one thing that we need to keep in mind as we look at this data is that in the area of Technology, convenience almost always beats quality eventually. This is not always true, but as a general rule, it is easier to increase the quality of something that is convenient then it is to increase the convenience of something that is high quality.
Probably the most famous example of this is in the area of photography. 17 years ago, the photography industry started to divide when people began adding cameras to cell phones. Most people at that time believed that camera phones would never take off because a phone camera would never be as good as a stand alone camera. And as phone cameras became more and more popular, the companies that were convinced that Standalone cameras would always be better, spent millions and millions of dollars trying to make cameras smaller and lighter and more convenient. But it ended up being mostly a waste, because as I said earlier, it is almost always easier to improve the quality of something that is convenient than it is to increase the convenience of something that is high quality. And now only 17 years later, over 85% of photos are taken from a cell phone.
So that's the most famous example of this concept, but there a lot of examples of this right? Over 70% of you are watching this video on your cell phone, even though the resolution on your computer or TV is much better. Convenience almost always beats quality eventually.
And the reason this is important to keep in mind as we look at the data is because knowing what has happened in the past is often crucial for determining what is going to happen in the future. The biggest argument against mobile gaming is that a mobile phone will never be able to have the quality that is offered by a computer or console. I have argued this exact point myself! But, in the last six years, money made from computer games has only increased by 26.8% from 26.1 to 33 billion dollars annually and money made from console games has only increased by 8.7%. Meanwhile, money made from mobile games has increased by 553% from 12.7 to 70.3 billion dollars making it to where, as of this year 2018 which is just now finishing up, mobile games just surpassed computer and console games combined totalling at 51% of the entire gaming industry.
So this is really recent, but what gets more interesting is what the experts say will happen now that it has crossed that 50% mark.
The most conservative experts say that it will just continue to trend the way that it has been trending which is still a lot of growth for mobile games. But there are other experts that believe that now that it is becoming the norm. Now that it's hit 51%, the growth is going to increase exponentially. If we look back at our camera phone example – during the first 10 years of camera phones, stand-alone camera sales continued to increase, but then at some point around 5 years ago when camera phones became common enough that they became the norm, stand-alone camera sales plummeted. So some experts think that even though computer and console games have been increasing some, they predict that once people finally accept mobile gaming and mobile games start getting better faster, console gaming and possibly even computer gaming will actually start to decrease.
I don't know if they are right. I'm not one of these experts, I am just telling you guys what the different views are, but I do know that as the 3rd richest game company in the world, blizzard is keenly aware of this drastic change in The Gaming Community. In fact, they're not just going to be aware of it, it's going to be part of their everyday life. They don't want to become the next Blockbuster.
For those of you who don't know, Blockbuster was the industry leader for movie rentals and when Netflix started giving them competition by using a different approach, Blockbuster didn't try to change to compete and eventually got put out of business because of their unwillingness to change with the times.
So my guess is that a few years ago, Blizzard had a company meeting showing these statistics about the gaming industry moving to Mobile gaming, and they said we need to get with the times so that we don’t become out of date. And after seeing the numbers and hearing the vision, all the employees developed a new mindset that mobile gaming is where things are going and have been working under that mindset the last few years. So by the time they announced that Diablo Immortal was going to be only on mobile phones, I think they assumed that we were all on the same page, but the truth is, most of us don't even know that the industry is shifting. Because we're not a game company. We're just playing games to have fun.
So that's my theory on why Blizzard was so out of touch with the Gaming Community. They know things that we don't know and I imagine that if they had made this announcement from the perspective that people were not going to be happy about it, then it probably would have gone over a little better. There definitely would have been less outrage about it.
Now in this scenario, we are still left with two main questions. Why didn't blizzard go multiplatform? And is mobile gaming technology actually good enough yet to make this transition?
So the first questions is “Why didn't blizzard go multiplatform?” Wouldn’t they have made more money if they opened it up to all platforms? I'm not a expert in this area, but I would say probably yes. More platforms means more players and therefore more money. But I don't think that blizzard is making this decision to get more money next year, or even the year after that. I think this whole decision is based around blizzard making more money 5 years from now or even 10 years from now. And if the experts are right about the data we looked at earlier, then Blizzard needs to be viewed as a company that make mobile games and not just computer games. So my theory is they are willing to take a loss on this so that they can aggressively get further into the mobile gaming industry.
Now, I'm not arguing that making it an only mobile game was a good decision because I am not an expert in this area, and it definitely doesn't make us feel better about not being able to play it on our computers, but I do know that a 16 billion dollar company doesn't do things without some kind of business strategy and so that is what I think that they are doing.
The second question is “is mobile gaming technology advanced enough to make a complicated game like Diablo as fun as it would be on your computer?”
If we go back to the example of camera phones, we can see that in the last 5 years as people gave up on cameras, camera phones started to improve even faster.
That has also been happening a little bit in the last couple years in mobile gaming with companies like ASUS and RAZOR rushing to produce the newest and best gaming phones.
I just recently got razors newest gaming phone and it has some amazing specs, but it is still a phone. And as we mentioned earlier, phones will never be as good as a computer, so the real question here is can game developers leverage the strengths of a phone enough to make it more desirable for us to play on a phone than on a computer.
Now if you asked me this question a couple months ago, I would have said “no way.” because the only benefit I saw in mobile gaming was convenience. And convenience is just simply not enough to move people away from a computer or console. But recently I started to play a mobile game called survival heroes and it has changed my perspective on the benefits of playing on a phone. In that game, the devs were able to capitalize on three more things that a phone can offer that a computer cannot.
The first one is the ability to create a complex controller that is more enjoyable to use than a game controller. The game is a blend of MOBA and Battle Royale, and every time you click on a skill, that skill then becomes a joystick. This is way more complicated than a control system in a game like pubg, and once you get good at it, it is incredibly satisfying. And I think they are going to get even better at implementing stuff like this in future games so that hopefully someday we will all feel like Tom Cruise on Minority Report.
When I was looking at the gameplay trailer for Diablo, I noticed that blizzard is planning to implement this same type of control system in their game. I don't know if they're going to do as good of a job as survival Heroes, but I hope they do because for the first time in my life, I prefer something over a game controller.
The second benefit phones have over computers and consoles is a more integrated game chat system. This is not unique to survival Heroes, but much like pubg and several other games, multiplayer chat on mobile gaming has become a little bit more convenient then it is on the computer because everything is already built into the phone. I don't know if Diablo is planning to implement a chat system like this, but it is becoming pretty standard so I imagine that they will.
And then the third one is how much easier it is to have a LAN party. This one also isn't new, but I never had a mobile game that was fun enough to want to to have LAN parties. But now, even as a 33 year old, I am inviting my friends over to have lan parties like we were in high school again. Because it is so easy. All they have to do is bring over their phone and phone charger. So Mobile gaming is actually letting me play games as an adult with my friends like I did in high school. I think this is a big part of blizzards vision… (shows clip)
And this might be an additional reason for making it a mobile-only game because if you have a friend that plays it on the computer and another friend that plays it on their Xbox, It will definitely be harder to just have them come over and play together.
Well. That's it guys. I hope that helps. Jcf is a relatively new YouTube channel so if you liked this video, sharing or subscribing or liking it, really helps me out.
Alright guys, I'll see you next time.
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