Blizzard Entertainment Exec Rob Pardo Sees An All Digital Gaming Future

By: Anastasia


Blizzard Entertainment Exec Rob Pardo Sees An All Digital Gaming Future

Blizzard Entertainment had a very good 2012. The company saw Diablo III sell over 6.3 million copies in its first week. The latest World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, helped draw back MMO gamers to the fantasy world. And StarCraft II remains a top game in eSports around the globe. Blizzard Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo talks about whatís next for the Blizzard half of Activision Blizzard Publishing and addresses the shift in the games industry toward an all-digital future in this exclusive interview.

What do you think gamers will like about StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm?
What happens a lot of times with our expansion sets is it really gives us the opportunity to learn all the lessons we did from the previous one and just do a ton of improvements to make the game itself better. With Heart of the Swarm, weíre adding the Zerg campaign, which I think will be really exciting. We finally get to explore Kerriganís story and we have all kinds of additional features for eSports and community enhancements. Itís probably one of our best expansions that weíve ever done.

Do you see potential for Diablo IIIís Auction House translating to other games like World of Warcraft?
Iím not so sure. I think itís a really interesting thing that we did with the Auction House and I think there were some pros and cons with Diablo, but I really donít see it ever coming to World of Warcraft because World of Warcraft was never designed for it. It really wasnít designed up and we already have a player economy. We have an Auction House in the game for virtual currency of course, but I really donít ever see us bringing real money currency to World of Warcraft like that.

Whatís the feedback been like for World of Warcraft Patch 5.1?
So far, so good. The thing that was most surprising about 5.1 for everybody was how fast it came out after Mysts of Pandaria itself. Weíre pretty well known for it taking us awhile to get that first big mega patch out after the expansion and we really said not this time. This time we wanted to get the first patch out right away and I think it caught people by surprise that we had one out before they were even out of content from the original release.

Besides Blizzard games, what do you play in your spare time?
I play lots of stuff. I know Iím a little late to the game, but most recently Iíve been playing Minecraft. Iíve been playing a lot of tablet games. I played the most recent Black Ops. I play Skylanders with my son. I play all kinds of games, all the time.

What games are you looking forward to in 2013?
I think we got all the Wii U stuff. Weíve got Bioshock Infinite coming out and thatís going to be pretty exciting. I keep on hearing rumors about something new from the Bungie guys. Iím excited about a lot of stuff. 2013 definitely should be a big year. Itís going to be an interesting year because weíre going to start the console transition. We have the Wii U out and I really want to see all those games. I think Wii U is getting trashed just a little bit in the press, but we donít know. Itís like Nintendo always delivers and they always deliver especially on their first party games, so I really want to play all their first party stuff.

The industry is gearing up for the next round of consoles. What do you think about an all digital platform?
I think you will see it happen. I donít know that it will happen with the next console transition, because I think theyíre still going to have the digital media as a delivery device, but I think all the consoles are going to embrace digital download. I think it will be this hybrid transition model and what I will guess will happen is youíll still see a lot of optical media at the beginning of the cycle, but I bet you once we get towards the end of the next cycle almost everything will be digital downloads.

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