Blizzard execs want to reinvent real-time strategy on mobile phones

Blizzard logoFor years now, dedicated PC gamers have known Blizzard as one of the few large publishers that has kept an almost singular focus on their platform of choice. So it might come as a surprise that the company seems to be thinking about mobile platforms as the focus for its upcoming real-time strategy plans.

Speaking to VentureBeat recently, a trio of Blizzard executives suggested that the idea of bringing real-time strategy (RTS) to mobile platforms deserves "conscious evaluation," as Senior Vice President and co-founder Frank Pearce put it. That means potentially changing up the way the genre has been known to work in its home on PC, he said.

"If we were going to continue to evaluate experiences in real-time strategy, I think we’d have to figure out what that means to the current player space," Pearce said. "Legacy of the Void is great. [But] I don’t think that people want to sit down and play 45 minute missions any more. I think that space might need some reinventing."

Pearce suggested that developing for the pared-down specs of a mobile platform might make it easier to produce lots of content with a smaller development team as well. "The WoW [core development] team is 250 people, and they’re able to create a tremendous amount of content. But all of us would still like to get more content into the hands of the community more quickly," he said.

That doesn't necessarily mean dumbing down the genre to mimic the kind of free-to-play, "casual strategy" games that are incredibly popular on mobile platforms (such as Clash of Clans). And it doesn't mean a mobile RTS from Blizzard is in the cards in the near future. "I feel like there’s still a big opportunity in mobile beyond just casual games," Blizzard President and co-founder Mike Morhaime said. "I’m not sure we’ve figured out what that is yet."

Blizzard execs want to reinvent real-time strategy on mobile phones

Still, the massive success of Hearthstone, which continues to be a top grossing game on iOS and Android, seems to have altered Blizzard's PC focus a bit (not to mention console ports of Diablo III and plans to release first-person shooter Overwatch on consoles). Remember, Blizzard parent company Activision acquired Candy Crush maker King Digital last year for a whopping $5.9 billion (£3.8 billion). Even if the PC is still the world's biggest gaming platform, Blizzard seems like it doesn't want to be left behind in the mobile gaming gold rush.

Elsewhere in the interview, the Blizzard execs said they had no current plans to develop for any virtual reality headsets, expressing skepticism that the revamped technology could prove truly social. "Everybody’s talking about VR and wearing funny helmets," Senior Vice President Chris Metzen said. "Culturally, we’re interested, and we’re watching... It’s possible that other companies will take more tentative steps and plant their flags. I don’t think we’re quite ready to conquer all that yet."

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Blizzard, computer games, smartphones

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