Interview – Mike Morhaime
VentureBeat had the opportunity to sit down with Mike Morhaime recently.
- More venture capital and media companies are starting to pay attention to gaming.
- Now is a great time for indie game studios.
- Mike invested in Rally Cry, which is creating a more organized way to connect, play, and compete with each other.
- Mike also invested in VENN, a video network targeting gaming, pop culture, and esports audiences.
- Mike is passionate about gaming bringing people together. He saw the power of gaming very clearly at Blizzard, and looked forward to BlizzCon every year.
Working from Home and Coronavirus
- The tools to support working from home are quite good.
- Persistent video and audio to simulate an office environment is a way to deal with working from home.
- Gaming is one of the forms of entertainment that hasn’t been hugely affected.
- The gaming community knew the magic and power of gaming. People outside of the gaming community that no longer have access to some of their regular pastimes are discovering gaming now.
WoW and Social Gaming
- In the beginning, Mike thought WoW would reach a smaller audience and have to grow from there. Right away the curve was a lot steeper than he ever imagined.
- His takeaway was that WoW was the most social of Blizzard’s games at that point. You had groups of people experiencing the game together. Especially in the beginning, you needed to join a guild to experience some of the content.
- The social experience, being able to share your entertainment with others, is important.
- MMOs aren’t as popular anymore due to accessibility and time investment. They could have a resurgence in the future.
- Maybe there are other types of games that can capture the social experience even more.
- As WoW evolved over the years, it became less social. In an effort to increase accessibility, the team removed some of the reasons why you needed to play with the same group over and over.
- Making WoW less social takes away some of the reasons why some people play.
- Blizzard can count on the community to let them know very directly and critically when they aren’t doing things well.
- It’s nice to have a toolkit with more monetization options.
- When you are choosing a monetization model, you have to think about whether that model serves the content and experience you want to create. It puts different types of pressures on designers, what content they’ll create, how you measure success of the product.
- You want to make sure that what the game needs to be great is consistent with what types of pressures you are going to be under with a certain business model.
- You have a lot more options if you are starting a company right now, in terms of how you can get that funded. You used to have to go to a big publisher and get an advance on royalties. Now there are lots of companies interested in funding projects.
- The gaming industry is full of dreamers that want to focus on creating great content and not necessarily interested in focusing on the business and logistical side of things.
Ghostcrawler’s Tweets – WoW’s Social Feature
Ghostcrawler provided a response to the interview with Mike Morhaime. (Yes, this section is back)
I have been asked a bunch about Mike Morhaime’s chat with Seth Schiesel. While WoW did a lot of things right, some of its greatest contributions were social….
People forget sometimes that when WoW became popular, things like instant messaging didn’t really exist, let alone having social features in every game….
Early WoW players would see another player and be all “Is that another human? That’s crazy.” …
People connected on WoW. It was the first experience for many gamers of making a friend online instead of IRL. There were these stories we received about kids who used WoW’s mail system as email, of fathers who could only talk to their teenagers through the game….
It is going to be really hard for any MMO in the future to recreate the sheer novelty of social interactions that WoW produced. The world is different than it was then.
WoW Classic – Earthfury Update
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