Blizzard's new MMOG to be 'casual' - Analyst

Sterne Agee industry watcher says World of Warcraft maker's next online game will "likely" be out in 12-24 months.

Blizzard Entertainment has done little to quell the mystery and intrigue surrounding its next massively multiplayer online gaming project, and the latest twist certainly isn't quieting the buzz. In a note to investors, Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia characterized the as-yet-unannounced game as a "casual" MMOG that should launch within the next 12 to 24 months.

Officially, Titan remains not much more than one of Saturn's moons.

"In addition, expansion packs for Starcraft and World of Warcraft, a new Diablo game, a new casual MMO, new properties from Bungie, etc. will likely be released in the next 12 to 24 months and alleviate investor concerns," Bhatia said.

Unfortunately, Bhatia offered no color on his comment, nor did he indicate what his characterization of the game is based off of. Neither Bhatia nor Blizzard had responded to GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.

Blizzard has previously said that the game will be a brand-new property and not a World of Warcraft clone. In February 2009, now-ex-World of Warcraft game director Jeff Kaplan began working full time on the project, which is code-named Titan. Also in 2009, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said that the game, which is already playable, would have "a little more broad appeal."

Bhatia's comments came as part of an optimistic assessment of Activision Blizzard's position in the gaming market going forward. "We believe [Activision Blizzard]'s game portfolio will look much more diversified over the next 12-24 months and should alleviate investor concerns of overreliance on [Call of Duty] and [World of Warcraft]."

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62 comments
Geon106
Geon106

I expect this game will be a MMO Starcraft franchise, or possibly Diablo but Starcraft would make more sense not being fantasy

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

@UnderQuarantine[quote="UnderQuarantine"]WoW is not casual, yet has an insanely huge player base, so why do they think dumbing down a game (usually what casual means) will make it more successful?[/quote]Despite the popularity of WoW, it is still limited to its platform and demographic: The PC and fantasy-genre fans. My guess is that "casual" here means something more like Wii vs. PS3 in terms of demographic target in order to avoid cannibalizing their existing WoW playerbase. I'd also expect something other than a fantasy theme for the same reason. As an aside, Blizzard has been dipping its toes in the microtransaction pool to great success with purchases for World of Warcraft like mounts, non-combat pets, and access to the Auction House outside the game. I'm not sure they're screwing themselves by heading in that direction - if in fact they are - though I detest the microtransaction structure.

MuffintopX
MuffintopX

Casual or Hardcore do not concern me. I am more interested to know if this is Sci-Fi or Fantasy, or whatever the actual theme is going to be.

Crimson_Erskine
Crimson_Erskine

@ akdiuuuryttt your example is one of convenience not an example of casual gameplay. WoW is for the casual gamer because its easy to pick up, understand, and master. The only challenge was the raids, I stopped playing a while ago, but the advertisement says pug friendly raids so thats gone.

FoeCrusher
FoeCrusher

@baal46 your right. My money is on blizzard going after an entirely different gamer base. Similar to those who play farmville etc. That way they dont have to worry about canabilizing their own player base and maybe get another 10 million paying customers.

akdiuuuryttt
akdiuuuryttt

also to anyone that thinks WoW isnt casual, think again. it has a cross realm dungeon finder where you just have to afk out until it teleports you into the dungeon with people from a different realm. you can get raiding gear from doing dungeons. there is much, much more but those are just some of the things

UnderQuarantine
UnderQuarantine

Im sorry but WoW, no matter how you feel about it, is one of the most successful, and profitable, games ever with 10s of millions of players. WoW is not casual, yet has an insanely huge player base, so why do they think dumbing down a game (usually what casual means) will make it more successful? Companies treat people who aren't into gaming much as stupid, when if they wanted to they could get to grips with a complex game its just not their thing so having a more casual game will push away the hardcore MMO fans and fail to grasp people who play farmville. The only reason they get into farmville and the likes is because it right there on facebook, and free! I accept i could be wrong, but i feel they are screwing themselves with this whole microtransactional game bubble that will likely have popped by release of 'Titan'.

Jaga_Telesin
Jaga_Telesin

"A little more broad appeal" and "casual" do not mean the same thing, not even close. By definition MMOGs are competitive, even those that have no PvP and simply exist based on questing and raiding. Building a truly non-competitive and casual MMOG would be (in my opinion), one of the greatest challenges in online gaming right now. Ergo sum, I don't think it will happen, and the new game they're building will go the way of others, perhaps even with a cash shop down the line. Only time will tell, though today's investors have the ability to change a game's focus on the fly during development, so anything is possible.

Matti9845
Matti9845

Im expecting a second life, sims type of game, I doubt it will be fantasy as thats not particularly mainstream.

lazycomplife
lazycomplife

Casual? LOL they sure made mmos mainstream...

Icehearted
Icehearted

The WoW era will eventually end, I only hope they take more away from it than refined ways to bleed wallets and actually make a real game out of it. I played vanilla and TBC for years, and to be honest I was too swept up in the work to actually have any fun. I'm sure there's a great game in there somewhere, but WoW was just too new and too experimental to be that great MMO we all hope will someday emerge from all of this. Also, well put, Vari3ty.

Erebus
Erebus

It is admirable to make games for money. It wouldn't be a business otherwise. However, this is not in my best interest as a consumer. Make games that are awesome to play because you love to make games, and it will show. Subsequently, you will earn my money. That being said, I won't be going anywhere near this. My bet is that it will be some sort of micro-transaction hell.

baal46
baal46

So, a Blizzard exec mentions ONE WORD "casual" and it warrants a news article which provides effectively NO new information? Keep up the crack reporting, GameSpot.

Emb3r
Emb3r

Casual mmo? last time i checked they already had wow ;)

n8b1979
n8b1979

Diablo 3 please, and Starcraft 2 expansions!

FullmetalFreak7
FullmetalFreak7

Released in the next 12 to 24 months, huh? Are we going to see Diablo 3 in that time period too?

holtrocks
holtrocks

A casual MMO o yay ( yes sarcastic what casual gamers pay 15 bucks a month and plays MMO's?)

Nodashi
Nodashi

@vishnuvanjara Th guy who lost his wife on the war and wanted her body released? About the news - this is terribad. I guess I'll no longer be a Blizzard fan if they take the easy road to appeal casual gamers. What's next, it's gonna be for consoles and have Kinect support? Well, time to move to GW2.

Ronnie_Rim
Ronnie_Rim

Anyone remember Samesh Bhatia from Mass Effect 1?

DawnBlue
DawnBlue

@Vari3ty: Thumbs up, I too would like to see a good larger-scale game that's meant to be casual.

nurnberg
nurnberg

I hate analysts. Not only they base their assumptions on nothing, but they almost never predict something correctly.

strayfies
strayfies

With the numbers those farming and cafe games bring on Facebook, I don't doubt it. It's baffling how much they make, just selling people graphics from 1996.

King-gamer
King-gamer

Harvest Moon MMO. Having Saturn's moon there probably means this is some kind of farming game related to Harvest Moon with a casual appeal. Ok maybe not. :P

Vari3ty
Vari3ty

I'll probably get thumbed down for saying this, but I'll take a casual game over one that forces me to grind any day.

Sardinar
Sardinar

I remember back in the day when WoW would just be released, I would get my ass handed to me in that game - especially in the early dungeons. Right now - all of them are a joke. Good example of Blizzard's 'casualization' of WoW into crap.

jono_51
jono_51

Why is everyone complaining that they take time to make their games. We don't want rushed games with problems (Black ops), or games that just plain aren't finished (FFXIV).

edubb85
edubb85

WoW can no longer entertain me, i have milked it free of all enjoyment. Bring on this next mmo! I hunger for something new and more importantly good! Blizzard can do it!

Huskypaw
Huskypaw

Haha.. Looks like we've gotten another HL2 E3 here.. Is going to take a 'bit' to be released..! ;D

dre256x
dre256x

@X-RS Wow is a bit more casual... But its wayyy to grindy now.. Reason being back then you could grind a faction/boss to your liking but now they limit how much time for the week you can complete a raid instance, they have capped how much honor point etc you can get week or per day.. All in the name of stretching out the content so casuals don't feel left out when the few hardcore player out there put there time and effort into achieving everything at a faster rate than everyone else... @ Rovelius WoW is easy mainly because of mods, take mods out and people will have to communicate more instead of knowing when the next ''X spell/attack'' is going to go off..

Agent-M
Agent-M

Lets just hope its not a facebook game.

Pickleking23
Pickleking23

Sounds neat but if I am going to go to another MMO it's going to be SWTOR

CarlitosWay
CarlitosWay

This is still all smoke up our proverbial butts. Not a single detail has been announced, and it comes out in less than 2 years? Sorry, i find that very hard to believe. But go ahead, continue to throw up erroneous updates.

Rovelius
Rovelius

WoW is already piss easy/boring so whatever their next MMO is, it's gonna suck. So we may have to wait another full 2 years for Diablo 3 ? That's bad news, I was expecting it for 2012... heh, it's hard to make a good game eh Blizz/ActiVision?

Draken_Domingo
Draken_Domingo

@jdog8888888 Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the Starcraft II expansions actually stand alone themselves? Maybe I'm wrong in that department, but I have no problems buying an deliberate expansion as BW, LoD, and TFT were ALL deliberate, and they were all awesome editions...I mean, I'm just happy they flat out announced a trilogy instead of making me wonder...ummmm what happens now in the SC universe? Now I gotta wait another 12 years? Sounds to me your not much of a Blizzard fan tbh...especially since the WoL campaign alone was long enough to suffice a full game and as well as the length between these expansions that just goes to show that the finished trilogy has the potential of being an amazing series.

Warshock
Warshock

Um, if this comes out before Diablo 3, I swear to god i'm starting a fing riot.

McBoogerballz
McBoogerballz

12 to 24 months in Blizzard time.. let me grab my calculator first... put the factor of previous incidents such as Starcraft Ghost, Diablo 3 and etc... 24months times 3 equals 72 months at least

hemoleech
hemoleech

When they say "casual", I hope they don't mean "Facebook casual".

X-RS
X-RS

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this what WOW has become? I do not play, however I am frequently reminded by a friend who is rather passionate about WOW...

dre256x
dre256x

I call bull, if its casual as in not paying, i don't by that one crap.. MMO will always charge for a full experience. If any thing they might bundle it into WoW subs.. Eg, pay $20 a month for wow + new mmo or Pay $17 a month for new mmo only.. Why would they pass up the opportunity to have 2 cash cows bringing in the dough.

BlackWaltz_No_3
BlackWaltz_No_3

More mainstream games. Are they ignoring us hardcore gamers in exchange for a wider audience? I guess money is worth more than their fans. Bad bad bad direction you are heading Blizzard.

Decrate
Decrate

more casual than WoW? i guess all they would have to do is set the total number of abilities to just 8 or 10, remove all the customization and equipment and just give people perks and a selection of generic weapons, and maybe make just 3 classes instead of 10 (rogue mage warrior)

jdog8888888
jdog8888888

Blizzard's hayday was still 95-05 in the Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft PC game era. WOW was cool for a big, but... how old is that thing now? WOW was basically DIablo online, only in the Warcraft world... Anyways, havent played Blizzard in a while, think they suck for making SC $60 and deliberatly making expensive expansions. Best RTS since WarIII has been Company of Hero's.

Xeogua
Xeogua

Make it free please?