The latest Call of Duty and Red Dead games both shipped without microtransactions so it wouldn't affect their review scores. Call of Duty in particular has an absurd amount of them, pay to win mechanics (in Zombies), and the battle pass is so grindy that you either have to no-life or pay (more) money to get to the end. This is from a game that shipped with a 50 dollar season pass. All of this on top of the fact that since CoD is a yearly franchise anything you purchase basically disappears if you get next year's iteration. It's like, no sane game developer that loves making games enough to put up with the industry would ship a game like this. Someone ran the numbers and said we can make x$ more if we make the grind harder.
I don't want to get into the narrative that the bean counters are ruining Blizzard because I honestly don't know if it's the case. All the restructured staff from Heroes have been rumored to be working on D4. Hearthstone is hearthstone. WoW, I don't know. Overwatch is still getting regular content updates and I would expect it to go F2P soon. I think some gamers have been a tad chicken little about changes at Blizzard, but Activision is so far gone that I refuse to buy any of their games.
In terms of calculating grind, that was the big thing with WoW when I left a month after the latest expansion dropped. It was just so clear that the rails of the theme park ride you were on were designed to milk you. I mean all games by anyone not releasing them freely are intended to make some kind of money, but once I purchase it you better be very subtle about it.
Basically all they are doing is rehashing old games now as well.
The problem is they are in the same wagon with Activision which forces them into some questionable bussiness decisions, and their focus shift toward satisfying the market rather than continuing to make polished games.
It’s hard to imagine how a company that received $15 per month from 12 million WoW subscribers for 10+ years can go bankrupt, but I guess nothing lasts forever.
On the flip side, that may be the exact reason they are going bankrupt or facing hard time. Making $15 x a month from 12 million subscribers must have lured them into thinking it will last forever so they get sloppy, lose focus, etc.
I don’t think Activision is anywhere close to declaring bankruptcy? While the stocks of many gaming companies have been suffering as of late, many of them presumably rose too high from the hype surrounding esports gaming, etc.
The games they made were unique and copied countless times by people because of a unique combination of gameplay mechanics and style.
They didn't capture the majority of their users on lore or polish. They captured them because they were fun to play.
It also spun off the entire MOBA period from AOS (starcraft) and DotA.
Personally, the Warlords of Draenor mission grind was interesting for a little while, but completely killed my interest in the franchise. Which I think is a central issue for long running games, you can drive people away vastly easier than you can pull them back.
The long term economics of video games is therefore tough, as surviving to tomorrow often means driving people away forever.
The original grind appealed to people because it was hard and there wasn't anything you could do about it.
It felt like an accomplishment.
The business side of the house wants a wide net so appealing to those people alone isn't enough, except that those are their core people who have paid their salaries. The faltering I believe is in part due to trying to continually grow and appease shareholders.
CoD seems to be doing fine so big business AAA games will still live on. Blizzard might pivot to doing something like this. I just believe big business is completely incompatible with the cult-like attraction of Blizzard's original IP.
It’s hard to say when peak appeal occurred as WOTLK had peak subscriptions, but slow growth. If anything Vanilla, BC, or WOTLK was the peak appeal and it’s just been down hill after that. Though their are plenty of ways to slice and dice the numbers.
IBM >> Engineers at helm replaced by MBA. Goes down the drain.
Plus many others I'm sure.
I think we can go on and on about how bean counters or business types or lawyers replace engineers at the helm, and end up destroying tech companies that were at the top.
I really wonder, why? Does it have to be that way?
But, lol. The irony.
He appoints Tim Cook to be his successor, who is NOT a product person but a supply chain specialist.
He definitely is not a product person. The same product team under Mr. Jobs may still be there, but I'd think most would agree Apple's been putting out new products that are somewhat lacking...
People criticize Steve Jobs for the fact that he was never an engineer. But he was never a suit either. He was more like Santa Claus: running around his workshop and getting so excited about all the new toys the elves come up with. He could play with your demo for a few minutes and tell you what was wrong with it, from the perspective of a non-engineer, and thus give you feedback on things that engineers take for granted.
There’s a niche of folks who are waiting for SF to make a come back the same way SJ did =)
And it's hard to blame them: imagine being a company that pours your entire soul and being into a PC/console game with 100 hours of gameplay, beautiful graphics, awesome voice acting, tons of replay value and depth...just to see a stupid mobile game rakes in 10x the money from people trying to get their "waifu" out of a loot box. You can only do this so many times before you cave in.
The historical media industry playbook is to export your development risk to an ecosystem of smaller "independent" creators, who become the farm leagues for the big players. The big players then co-opt the independent successes. This worked in music for awhile. I'm not so sure it's working that well for movies, for the same reasons you cite for games.
And it's hard to blame them: imagine being a company that pours your entire soul and being into a PC/console game with 100 hours of gameplay, beautiful graphics, awesome voice acting, tons of replay value and depth...just to see a stupid mobile game rakes in 10x the money from people trying to get their "waifu" out of a loot box.
It's not black & white. The AAA games with the "beautiful graphics, awesome voice acting, tons of replay value and depth" have their own flaws, due to the level of investment involved and the resulting risk aversion.
Marketing pretty much matters more (unless you pull a No Man Sky), but that's not new. These days though, monetization frequently means vastly inferior games make way, way more money. If it was just a little...or even a factor, the "art" would prevail for some devs. But when it's orders of magnitude, it gets really, really hard to ignore. Some still do. Bless them.
To an algorithm, or a metric, even miserable feeling variable schedule or reward addiction looks like "engagement." So if there's "engagement" and money, why should companies do anything different?
So how is it that games which have "art" don't come along, charge a bit less money, and win in the marketplace? I guess the argument can be made that they do, but they're in the minority. I wonder if there aren't also generational issues? Maybe the environment of today, where even young people have tablets and smartphones is just a different one?
Alternatively, it also leverages the rich vs poor divide. In gacha games for example, you'll have a very small minority of players pouring as much as several thousand dollars into a game, while the majority plays for free. The game still ends up coming out ahead than if they sold at an affordable price and had everyone paying it instead.
makes me very sad as someone who grew up with amazing RTS and the first generations of online/LAN games where $50 would buy you hundreds of hours of entertainment sans microtransactions
there are still some amazing games coming out graphics and storywise, it just sucks to see names i once respected trading in their reputation for cash - blizzard, bioware (EA), and obsidian chief among them
I'm actively trying to get better at it. I got more into following the professional scene over the last year, and I just purchased a War Chest in game this past weekend. It's a skin pack for my units, but 25% of the sale goes towards the winter WCS prize pool for professional StarCraft 2. I bought it to support the top tier competitors.
I also enjoy a game with a good single player mode, but StarCraft is deep mental challenge. There is no pay to win. I have a consistent pool of opponents near my skill level to play against, and the game is balanced enough* that I should be able to climb the ladder with any race.
* I think players will generally whine about balance in the matchups they struggle with. I do too, but this is actually part of the challenge of improving at the game.
but lets be real about the resources expended on these old games and developing their successors vs. the new generation of money sinks. it's a simple ROI calculation and unless you have an old school game fanatic running the show, i know where you're going to put your money to sustain/grow the studio
What did you find magical about those RTS? (I say this as someone who happens to have an online multiplayer engine which is best suited to RTS.)
add to that: great lore borrowed from mythology/made up, fantastic voice acting, champion units with extra abilities and item usage, complicated (but not overly) resource management, competitive online community, modding ability with a full map editor/scripting engine. plus a lot of interesting/funny people play the game all over the world which always spices things up. and continuous tweaks to improve the games balance
The player works to increase his/her own legend by winning battles. The purpose of this design is to create an extremely complex and immersive world with depth of gameplay, but still enable players to "dip in" for a half hour session every once in awhile.
That's what I miss most from 90s RTSs.
all of these are great games and a blend of them would be awesome if you had a clear vision for how to combine them, but would also probably be a massive undertaking
side note, i wouldn't consider anything a true RTS unless it has some type of resource gathering and tech/unit building element to it
Except that the empires ebbing and flowing wouldn't be due to content writing and large groups of players. (At least at first.)
i wouldn't consider anything a true RTS unless it has some type of resource gathering and tech/unit building element to it
It would have that, but in the form of unit recruitment or negotiating with and giving advice to nearby lords. (Perhaps local lords could grant you use of their smithies, craftspeople, and peasants for support/logistical tasks.)
Then you'd be discounting the Myth series, which means you are objectively incorrect.
All three Myth games play very similarly. They are real-time tactics games, and as such, unlike the gameplay in real-time strategy games, the player does not engage in resource micromanagement or economic macromanagement, does not construct a base or buildings, and does not gradually build up their army by acquiring resources and researching new technologies. Instead, each level begins with the player's army already assembled and ready for combat
Remember the unending supply of totally trash PC games that you could by at Incredible Universe in the giant boxes? Or the grab bag of games that were 15 on a CD for $15? I mean pretty much everything Head Games  put out was a rebaked version of the same terrible 3D polygon mess with trash controls, but for whatever was hot at the time.
It's always been ROI driven, with the major hits keeping the studios alive and tiny game studios just trying to get anything out that they could.
Think of Chuck-E-Cheeses and arcades in the 90s. There would be a few arcade games with interesting stories and mechanics and new innovations, and there would be ticket games where you would literally pay to win tickets to buy crap that is worthless, but is fun to acquire.
A good example of how this works is Paradox Development Studio. Paradox does a great job creating a constant stream of what are basically expansion packs, accompanied by free patches for those who are uninterested in what the expansions have to offer (and you don't have to buy the expansions linearly, either; if you want the third expansion but not the first two, you can just buy that one).
I'm not saying that the way they design their expansions is perfect (EU4 in particular has taken a lot of flak for missteps of this kind), but the basic model is fantastic, and when done right, it only enhances the experience.
Since then, they have been trying to mix these elements together to make one Long Island Iced Tea of e-sport-microtransaction-lootbox-culturally significant franchise. I think Overwatch was the big bet for that, and even though I love what they did it would be impossible for that game to meet all of Activisions expectations.
Both of these revenue sources are not viable for relatively unknown artists - they get supported either via donations (like patreon) or traditional album sales (lots of "indie" artists started selling vinyl again). I think the analogy holds for games as well. Smaller studios still live from one time sales on steam, GoG, etc. So the business model only really changes at the top and I don't feel like we as consumers are any worse off - quite the contrary actually: Playing a new game with friends required quite an investment in the late 90s, ie. everybody had to spend 50-90 bucks for the new Age of Empires. Nowadays everybody can try out Fortnite and those who don't like it simply uninstall it.
I hold out hope that the indie scene remains healthy and such, but the rise and fall of large static developers putting out quality products over time does seem questionable.
The king is dead, long live the king.
Isn't this the way of all media? What are movie franchise sequels but a way of reducing risk? That's just focus around ROI. Isn't this happening to news media? Everything devolves towards classical behaviorism and lower levels of psychology. Clickbait, outrage, and variable schedule of reward. Shiny, pretty pictures.
If we take the analogy farther, isn't the hope in alternative media? This is how it always worked in the past.
The thing that sends him over the edge is a red dot targeting reticle which you have to pay real money to unlock. The whole piece is excellent though; well worth the watch.
I have a hard time understanding anger directed at game studios for doing what they need to do to survive. It's one of the toughest tech-related industries there is.
hahaha, look at google capex grows
Needless to say, neither Blizzard nor any other game studio has anywhere near this kind of luxury.
I would imagine the CapEx growth is from data centers and equipment for GCP
There are hundreds of indie developers and I believe this is where most of the innovation can be found. In that regard it is the same as in the "good old days", before the arrival of AAA corporations.
Personally, I mostly stick to indie games. After 30 years gaming it's where most of the surprises are, and I value novelty over polish in general.
Side topic but having known a bunch of bean counters (accountants), they aren't the ones doing this, the blame lies squarely with MBA's, business schools, and the finance industry.
 Unlike your typical CEO, corporate accountants are in it for the long game and they also see all the shit being pulled by upper management.
There's such an overabundance of great games today. You just have to not focus on the wrong part.
In contrast, with a game like MTG, even banned cards can still retain a decent amount their value to collectors and casual players. You get what you pay for and it's yours forever to do with as you'd like. Why pay tons of money for ever-changing pieces of digital paper you don't even actually own?
Balance would be tough (9 classes vs. 5 colors in MtG) but Blizz could do it.
This isn't limited to video games, it's the logical end result of the capitalist drive for profits at the expense of everything else. Look at recent criticisms of Apple for the same idea.
It mentions what you call "capitalist drive for profits" (search for junk, etc.). To sum up for you: it is the will of people, has nothing to do with the system that allows their dreams or ideas to come true, other than the fact that it allows it. What is the alternative? Destroy everything that you may think we should not have?
I understand your frustration with the large studio's monetization models, but the solution is to just ignore them. I was dumb enough to buy Fallout 76, but I treated that as an object lesson: even developers I 'trust' are capable of releasing absolute trash. Plus, the backlog of interesting games on my steam wishlist meant I could have very easily put the 60 bucks into 2-3 good games that aren't trying to push lootboxes or microtransactions.
The big AAA developers just keep rolling out rehashes of their old games as long as the revenue exceeds developments costs. Very similar model to super hero movies. Eventually it won’t work anymore. They know it, thus the emphasis on trying to milk every last dollar out of the players.
When there has just been a noticeable decrease in quality of Blizzard games since they have merged.
- Heroes tried to to cash in on the loot box craze and from what I have seen has been very negative
- Diablo has basically been ignored except for their mobile app (which went on to hurt Blizzard's reputation and just strengthen a competing game, Path of Exile)
On the Activision side, there were reports that a good portion of this could be tied to support staff for Destiny 2 no longer being needed.
Overwatch seems to actually be doing pretty well, and I would not be surprised if it was the only team not affected by layoffs.
Heroes hands out loot boxes like candy, I'd say you'll get three or four times as many as Overwatch. And then Heroes also adds a reroll mechanic, where for a trivial gold (currency from doing matches and in-game quests) amount, you can reroll the box up to three times. And as with Overwatch, of course, loot boxes are cosmetics only (except for the very rare hero unlock, which most people aren't getting via loot boxes anyways).
I've rarely been dissatisfied with a Heroes lootbox because I can reroll it until it's good, and I've always gotten so many Heroes lootboxes I've never even felt the drive to buy any. And then in addition to the ability to use your duplicate currency to forge the exact cosmetics you want, Heroes is going to re-add direct cash purchase for all skins, so you don't need to buy loot boxes to buy skins. I've bought a number of skins over the years, but never paid for a loot box.
Probably the "best" way to spend money on Heroes if you want to (though you have really no reason you have to), is you can get stim packs to increase your XP (no in-game benefit) and gold generation.
Unless I am mistaken, they removed the ability to buy them outright (with cash, not with in game currency) outside of Loot Boxes.
They also took out, for the most part, the ability to straight up buy skins (rather than rolling lootboxes for them), but they are reintroducing that very soon (edit: tomorrow!), it was just announced: https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/heroes/t/heroes-of-the-sto...
Yes they brought it along the lines of many other games (however that argument is how we got Battlefront 2's loot box disaster). But it is still a major change in how the game works post launch. Something that could very realistically piss off a lot of people.
The timing of this however.
- 2.0 launched about a year ago
- 3 or 4 months ago they announced a shift of resources away from Heroes
- Now they are adding in a feature back to the game
That isn't actually showing that Heroes necessarily did anything right when it came to adding loot boxes.
The loot box mechanics in Heroes are, indeed, the most pleasant way one can possibly receive loot boxes, hands down. If you are going to do loot boxes, you should do loot boxes the way Heroes does loot boxes.
But I do not want to buy loot boxes, the limited direct buy options actually limited how much I was spending on Heroes, as I want to buy items. And thankfully, they are going to reintroduce that option, while still maintaining the best loot box system ever made, which gives you delightful free loot boxes at extremely frequent intervals. So I can spend money to buy what I want, and still enjoy the free loot.
And perhaps that's the model loot boxes will hopefully someday be moved to, once the paid gambling aspect is illegal: Just give players free stuff in loot boxes, and let them buy the stuff they really want.
The reroll mechanic in Heroes is really really nice, I've never been really "disappointed" with a loot box open, and that's after playing it pretty regularly since beta.
I do wonder about the software engineering practices at Blizzard. One release fixes a bug, the next release adds it back. Hearthstone very clearly has zero unit tests, because so much easily testable stuff is just broken. I think it's always been that way, though; the "Blizzard polish" is about art and sound, the code is very average in quality. (That may be the norm for the game industry, though.)
Having said that, I doubt Blizzard is quite ready to give up on Overwatch. They are probably going to make quite a bit of money off of Overwatch League. But the balance changes they implement for the pro players is off-putting to casuals, so I doubt many new players will be buying the game. (Mercy and D.va were always appealing to players new to FPSes because they can contribute immediately to their team with strategy rather than raw mechanics... but both heroes have suffered nerf after nerf after nerf because OWL viewers really want to see raw aim, not someone holding up a defense matrix to save their team from that aim. I see the game in 3 years being 6 Widowmakers vs. 6 Widowmakers, because that's what pro players really want.)
Hearthstone is in a pretty good place. I feel like they've stepped up their balancing a lot, and their competitor Artifact seems to have fallen flat on its face. I am guessing that their team won't see many cuts. They should hire some software engineers in test, though.
Blizzard meanwhile just maintains their flagship products but some are no longer growing like WoW (over a decade old but man it's time to let go) and Hearthstone (Magic Arena is making a huge push for the more competitive crowd, Gwent is struggling but is releasing new content, Artifact was a bust but valve has money to burn and no investors to please). Don't get me wrong, these games are the market leaders but they aren't growing anymore which is what investors worry about. Overwatch seems very promising but I think OWL is overvalued with franchise fees going from $20 million to $60 million in a year while CSGO; Dota 2 and League tournaments have a greater amount of viewership at a fraction of the cost.
Diablo Mobile is pretty much DOA from a fan perspective but mobile games can make a ton of money especially when targeting the asian market which they have a lot of experience in. And the WarCraft 3 remake is a crowd pleaser but I can't imagine it selling like hotcakes, but I could be wrong.
Again, If I were an investor I would jump ship and probably invest in another publisher.
Don't get me wrong, I get the realities at play here, but Blizzard was a better company (for consumers) before Activision and when Activision was acting more as a partner than a corporate overlord. Many of the stories coming out from ex employees are disheartening. The Diablo fiasco was disheartening, as was the swift cancellation of the competitive HoS league.
Blizzard always sold themselves as a "by gamers, for gamers" company, and they were for a long time. That doesn't appear to be the case any longer.
Activision / Blizzard obviously realizes that fortnite is doing well, and could ramp up development on some new future competitor, why would fortnite be a reason to cause layoffs? They could react in a slew of ways to combat the issue, layoffs simply put them in a position where they can't attack.
There are layoffs in the game industry because there are always layoffs in the game industry. Ramp up when starting a game, hiring through building it, firing after it's out and stable and at a cadence when you don't need all those silly game makers to just keep the ball rolling.
If you've been paying attention then you know there is far more than ramping up and back down at play right now in Blizzard.
"Don't you have phones?"
Blizzard has been struggling to connect with fans for longer than Fortnite co-op has been a thing. There are some prior employees who have been quite vocal about the situation: they simply don't know to continue printing money without upsetting their fans. The merger with Activision was a very strong signal: how does it make any sense that a beloved publisher that is known for innovative games team up with a publisher who pushes out the same games every year? The straw is a mobile game while everyone was waiting for the next PC (and potentially console) launch.
"The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes."
Then consider EA, everyone's pet hate (for good reason). Here's a company that has been testing gamers in terms of micro-transactions for years. With Apex, not only have they earned a lot of trust by following Epic's lead, they have put out a title that is genuinely fun and innovative [in the space]. They are listening to the market.
> A lot of the air in the games industry is being sucked out by Fortnite.
There are currently 317K viewers of Apex on Twitch and 108K Fortnite. This clearly isn't true. There's plenty of air to be had. I'm venturing off-topic here, but the problem with Overwatch is that it's team-based competitive; that attracts a certain type of player-base. If you don't play the ladder (in a year I had about 6 hours total in that toxic hell hole), good luck finding games without quitters.
If Blizzard put out a decent Diablo 4, or Starcraft 3, I can almost guarantee they'd find a lot of room to breathe, but a mobile ARPG/HnS was printing money in Asia, so we have that.
I havnt bought a brand new game in the last few years. Instead I just wait and buy the finished version a year later for half the price that included all the DLC on steam. If the game shipped in a good state and DLC became a thing of the past I might think about buying games at full price again. But it doesnt look like that's going to happen anytime soon.
There will always be a place for massive games, but gambling with 100 million dollars is much more difficult than 100 thousand dollars. Smaller studios can much more quickly try out new ideas without potential losses.
The golden era of gaming was during the PS2. Not only did it have unprecedented market penetration, but the hardware was both advanced enough to make decent 3D games while not being so powerful that a few deep-pocketed studios could make stunning graphics that blew the completion out of the water.
Those days are long gone. On one end of the spectrum you have the indie market, which uses retro designs to make up for the lack of asset designers (think Rogue Legacy or Shovel Knight), or you have the massive AAA developers that dominate ad-spaces.
Anything in between (~PS2 graphics) isn’t taken seriously. So it’s either indie or AAA. No middle ground anymore.
The wii outsold the Xbox 360 and the PS3. The DS sold 160 million to the PSP’s 80 million, the 3DS another 75 million to the PS Vitas 10 million.
Games are designed to grab as much cash from kids and adults alike, with things like loot boxes, microtransactions, season passes. There is little focus on developing a community, and diminishing focus on shipping an actually good product. Today's games by Blizzard can not even hold a candle to names like Diablo 2, Warcraft 3 or even Starcraft.
I enjoyed Destiny 2. It's a great game. But I didn't have much reason to keep playing after finishing the storyline. I did, for a time, continue playing and beating the various events and multiplayer variants. But once you run through each event once, there's not much point to grinding. It's not like grinding crucible is really that interesting, compared to Overwatch where there's far more variety in gameplay.
And the first expansion felt pretty... empty. It had what, a few hours of (very repetitive) gameplay for $35? That feels like a bad deal. I get it, there's a lot of visual and aesthetic content. But that doesn't keep gamers coming back. Buying a second expansion would just feel bad after that.
Cross-realms features are everywhere, the concept of PvP servers is no more, and if they manage to upgrade the auction house system to something more global, realms will be mere namespaces and players will be able to seamlessly play with all other players from their region.
Thankfully, Classic is around the corner.
Maybe a game built around grind which withholds content until fixed dates in an effort to stretch the run-time out just isn't as popular as it was 10 years ago. Players have a load more options ("Services") competing for their attention now.
To try not to be just another personal anecdote, the major WoW streamers like Asmongold, Preach, and Bellular have all made scathing reviews of the BfA expansion and it's systems. The WoW subreddit is very vocal about how bad the expansion is. People are finding it hard to find a reason to log in.
Hopefully Blizzard can take notes from this with WoW classic
It's just astonishing how well they've managed to reclaim their market.
I know a couple maxers who still devote 10-20 hours a week to RS. I can't fathom how they find new ways to entertain themselves, but they do. It never gets old for them. I never got into RS but by all accounts they've perfected a genre.
It could work for Blizzard too, they share a customer base with similar outlooks and mentality... to put it politely.
As a result, the more fringe communities (which tend to be correlated both with emergent forms of gameplay and experience with the game; skilling and PvP being the big examples) get starved or actively harmed by the course of development. As a result, those players leave or become less engaged, furthering the cycle and leaving the game a less-interesting place.
Back in the day I never thought I'd whine about Jagex becoming better at listening. I guess it's sort of similar to issues that can be had with A/B testing - when engagement is the name of the game and you have easy access to knobs and feedback, you can end up overfitting. In the terminology of this thread, the bean-counter approach makes you long for the touch of the auteur.
disclaimer: 20k-hour multiply maxed get-off-my-lawn grump with several axes to grind
Right now the game market is getting eaten by these f2p games(fortnite, lol, etc) and they haven't found a space to expand into. If there's one place I feel blizzard could innovate in would be in a star citizen like game. Imagine an epic mmo game that had the expanse of no man's sky, the economy of eve online, and the shooter mechanics of overwatch. It would be an massive undertaking but there's definitely a massive market there as you can see with star citizen.
You and I know two completely different companies then. World of Warcraft BFA is, anecdotally, causing players to hemorrhage, and the only reason I have to report this anecdotally is because Blizzard stopped reporting their subscriber numbers after hemorrhaging players for boring and bad content. BFA was incredibly buggy and not even a half-finished game when released.
Their development process feels spreadsheet-driven and concerned primarily with keeping their subcount high through tedious content which takes long amounts of time, rather than keeping their subcount high with quality content that keeps the playerbase engaged.
Screw it, I'll give my money to indie studios, they can still deliver.
The don't you guys have phones meme is direct response to the Blizzcon announcement that the next Diablo was going to be a mobile game not even produced by Blizzard. The reaction of the product team at Blizzard really came off as aghast followed by incredulous that the fans reacted so negatively and harshly as a whole. They so missed the boat with what the fans were expecting it makes you wonder, just who were they listening too?
Activision's problem was taking the loot box and in game transaction model too far and embedding too deeply into franchises that were not accustomed to it if not openly hostile to it. that many of the purchases looked like or were portrayed as pay to win did not help.
Where is the industry going? I certainly don't know and not knowing I don't have an opinion to offer on that subject. The opinion I do offer is that perhaps it doesn't know where its fans think it should be going and some franchises are at cult levels of fandom
I mean, it isn't just a meme. A Blizzard representative literally said "Do you guys not have phones?" during a Q&A session, after someone asked whether the new Diablo game would be available on PC.
Fans were going to be disappointed either way, but this dismissive response is what really set off the reaction.
For everyone that won't play mobile games (like me), there are probably 100 people that will. And they only have $5 for an add-on, not $60 for the entire game. That's the economic reality these days. Computer ownership is becoming an obscure niche thing.
This is a strange way to look at it considering that Blizzard is primarily a PC game developer, and the extreme majority of their customers are PC gamers. They will already have the PC.
Blizzard is a AAA developer. Mobile games don't exactly have a reputation for being AAA quality. PC gamers often scoff at mobile gaming, and the Blizzard fan base has been hoping for a Diablo 4, so for them to announce a mobile Diablo feels like a slap in the face. It feels like they're abandoning their core audience in favor of the mobile world, which is frequently ridden with microtransactions.