Coin-OpEd: A snowball's chance in hell

BlizzCon 2011 costs $175 this year. Think that's pricey? Don't worry, you won't get a ticket. This should not distress you.

The day is May 25, the time is 6:58 p.m. PDT, and you are seated in front of your computer at home, the face of Diablo staring back at you from the BlizzCon 2011 website. You briefly panic that you forgot to adjust your clock's daylight saving time settings, but then remember that it does so automatically. You feel confident and composed. You are ready to hit the F5 key.

You do not think of the tragic events of May 21, when at 10 a.m. PDT, your boss waded hip-deep into a tirade over your frequent tardiness and absences. The woman is a jerk, and everyone knows this.

The clock flips to 6:59 p.m. PDT, which you fully expected because you had your computer's time-settings window open, and you begin a slow cadence of F5 keystrokes after closing the clock out. You make a mental note to contact Microsoft over the clear and obvious Windows 7 defect of not being able to refresh a Web page while staring at the time-settings window.

You begin counting in your head the seconds as they pass. You are now hitting the F5 key at an increasingly rapid pace. As you say :47, you see the screen flip to a waiting queue and then reflexively fling yourself out of your chair to break the cadence of F5 button presses. Lying on the floor, you realize you can't keep time in your head for crap. You have also hurt your elbow pretty bad. Neither of these facts bothers you, because you are going to BlizzCon 2011.

Yes, I see the skin-tight leather leggings. But does a Demon Hunter reveal really count as a headline-worthy announcement?

You, who have a honey, will buy two tickets. The two of you will share a modest hotel suite at the Clarion, which is in close proximity to Disneyland. You will be tempted to go to Disneyland, but you will not go, because you know it contains several levels of fail, both perceived and actual. The Clarion is also just 0.20 miles away from the Anaheim Convention Center, which is kind of far but not too bad.

Coming, as you are, from a place other than Orange County, you will buy a pair of Southwest plane tickets. You will select the Wanna Get Away option, because the "and MORE!" promise is tantalizing.

Let's do some math. The tickets themselves are 175 goddamn dollars apiece, which is 25 goddamn dollars more than tickets last year and 50 goddamn dollars more than the year before.

Presumably, you both will want to eat during the trip. Food will cost you $100. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. Sandwiches may be involved; Morton's Steakhouse most certainly will not.

Deathwing's arrival, on the other hand, brought BlizzCon to its knees.

Oh, and unless you plan on summoning your Epic Flying Mount to whisk you and your honey from John Wayne to the Anaheim CC, it's going to be a $40 taxi ride there and back. Also, the Pakistani driver on the way back tells hilarious self-deprecating terrorism jokes, so you will give him an extra fiver.

Because you went with Southwest's Wanna Get Away option, even after you realized that the "and MORE!" promise equates to a free groping of your honey at the security checkpoint, the plane tickets will cost $502.80. Who are we kidding? The Clarion is a dump and will cost only $276, total.

You and your honey are going to split this, right? Of course? Should we check with her first? OK, fine. You and your honey will each put about $631.90 on your credit cards. Keep in mind that your mileage may vary (and I've been failing math since I was 12).

Let's take a step back real quick and look at this.

For about $631.90, you could almost buy a pretty sweet Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine - New 2009 Model V3 ($649). Captain America Comics #72 wouldn't be out of the question (current bid: $650, Buy It Now: $700). Say you were just joking about Disneyland being lame because your honey was in the room. How about a Disney World Premium Annual Pass ($630)? Did you know that a new Luminox 1890 Series Field Chronograph Stainless Steel Men's Watch would absolutely solve your Windows 7 clock problem ($650)?

As your mom would tell you, $631.90 in a Roth IRA would turn into about $13,730 in 40 years, based on a 25 percent marginal tax rate and 8 percent growth assumption.

Here's how this works. I'm not saying that the 175 goddamn dollars that Blizzard wants per ticket to this year's BlizzCon is not worth it. BlizzCon is just one of many trade shows and expos I attend every year, and no other boasts the same level of electricity and excitement from a fan's perspective. I am by nurture an apathetic creature, and even I felt a chill when, say, Chris Metzen took the stage in 2009 to announce in that booming voice of his the arrival of Cataclysm.

But then again, I'm not saying the 175 goddamn dollars that Blizzard wants per ticket is worth it. Take, for instance, last year's show. For those paying for big headline announcements, the best Blizzard could do was a reveal for the last of Diablo III's five classes. The eminently eBay-able schwag bag, too, was wanting, with worthwhile content including just a Deathwing statue and the Deathy in-game pet.

Blizzard: Tell us that Titan is more than just one of Saturn's moons.

Blizzard even had the audacity to taunt its fans during the announcement-light 2010 show by first indicating that those in attendance would get a first look at its new massively multiplayer online game Titan, only to then pull a "Psych! Made ya look." And still a $25 premium over the year before, when gamers were treated to a World of Warcraft expansion announcement and a show by the Lord of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne.

Yes, there is the fact that Blizzard "incurs a substantial loss" from BlizzCon, but as VP of product development Frank Pearce said in 2009, the show is "a huge marketing opportunity" for the company. Are these 25 goddamn dollar ticket hikes merely a case of Blizzard passing on the marketing costs to consumers?

What are fans actually getting for these extra 25 goddamn dollars? There certainly are a few things that could make it worthwhile, as all three of its major franchises are currently ripe for announcements. A first showing of Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm would be nice, as would first word on WOW's fourth expansion. Or, Diablo III still needs a date, and its inevitable (wishful thinking?) trip to consoles has yet to be confirmed.

But really, what would actually be worth this year's 25 goddamn dollar hike? Actually showing Titan, as opposed to last year's cruel tease sounds like it might fit the bill.

But for many of you, these questions are moot. When, invariably, the gestating idea of attending BlizzCon takes a turn toward stillborn, and you aren't among the 20,000 or so who hit that queue just right--sneak in within that seconds-long window that Mike Morhaime described during last year's opening ceremony--remember to take heart. You'll still have GameSpot's coverage. You could maybe get that DirecTV Virtual Ticket ($40). And hey, with the money you and your honey save, why not go ahead and just buy a Banzai Drop Zone Water Slide ($640) instead?

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105 comments
rezpatriot
rezpatriot

and that doesnt include the amount of money you spent in games for the past year, upgrading your PC, presumebly paying rent, and living. Hell for this price tag, gaming is pretty expensive. Thats why I blizzcon does not interest me, although you still seem to think it does.

Ninjagrym
Ninjagrym

@DrizztDoUrden16 "Trust me friend, with a corset... anything is possible." True! So true!

DrizztDoUrden16
DrizztDoUrden16

@Agent3sephiroth Trust me friend, with a corset... anything is possible.

Qiynah
Qiynah

I don't necessarily get the gripe over the cost of BlizzCon tickets when the article admits that both airfare and lodging will cost you more. The article also points out that Blizzard loses money on the event, but half of these comments are along the lines of "greedy bastard Blizz"... what gives? If you don't want to pay, don't. If BlizzCon were free they'd have to rent out L.A. to make a place for everyone. Any Con is first and foremost a social event, regardless of subject or content... It's about taking a short vacation from your computer screen to interact with likeminded people. Yes there are big reveals, but the magic of even the big reveals is the shared energy and enthusiasm of the attendees. If you just want news, stay home and read Gamespot.

xSlider257
xSlider257

For the record, the Banzai Drop Zone Water Slide is currently priced at $552.49.

Draxargh
Draxargh

Oh, Blizzard, how far from grace you've fallen. Getting purchased by Activmoney, rehashing SC2 and trying to act like it's a new game, destroying everything I once loved about Warcraft and squatting on all the lore from the first 2 games, and scrapping Ghost (I'm still bitter)

Draxargh
Draxargh

@Agent3sephiroth Clearly you've never been to Brazil. I just left not too long ago, and there is a lot of amazingly shaped women, not too far changed from what that design has. They weren't wearing as much armor, though.

Gamenapkin
Gamenapkin

To Agent3sephriorth "...That female character design is rediculous! There's no way that a real woman could have such a figure...." Not true. I high school I dated a girl that looked just like that...........in my mind. :)

Agent3sephiroth
Agent3sephiroth

That female character design is rediculous! There's no way that a real woman could have such a figure.

mrmime777
mrmime777

Ha, thanks for acknowledging Blizz's ridiculous hype. Someone had to do it. Blizzcon is too much hype for too little substance and, if you're not a rabid WoW fan, you probably won't get much out of it considering how few single player games they actually release. Vague details aren't worth the trouble.

lynyrd4
lynyrd4

no money = no diablo 3 + starcraft 2 HoS + Titan

floydshayvious
floydshayvious

Should be thankful you have a job and can even consider going there for that much god damn money.

Gruug
Gruug

I suggest that no one go.

gingergamer
gingergamer

This is stupid. The price is going up because everything's price is going up. The economy sucks deal with it. They do not make infinite money from WoW. I'm sure it makes enough to pay for the full time patch team and the full time server maintenance and the full time new expansion team but it is by no means infinite. The money they make on the tickets doesn't even cover the show so saying they make people pay to market to them is a stupid assumption. I get it. Spending more money on the same thing sucks. Claiming you were cheated when blizzard teased (this is blizzard remember?) is immature and entitled. Claiming rising price is evil or all a wasteful ploy is ignorant and entitled. Lastly, you work for game spot so stop acting to empathetic because the little header thing should change to: "BlizzCon 2011 costs $175 this year. Think that's pricey? Don't worry, I won't pay for my ticket. This does not distress me." PS. if you are gonna say 175 god damn dollars don't add the bleeding dollar sign. that reads as "175 dollars god damn dollars ($175 god damn dollars)" which is just retarded. I have had more intelligent spam emailed to me

Cwagmire21
Cwagmire21

Blizzard can ask for $175 because enough people will still flood in to attend. If it were free like some have suggested, there wouldn't be enough room to house everyone who would want to go. Econ 101. Supply and demand.

ulgabi
ulgabi

gothicman summed up everything I could say about this topic.

megakick
megakick

warcaft 4 and diablo 3 is all i want to hear about everything else is meh. world of warcraft is really bad. blizzard needs to make a diablo, warcraft, starcraft dota/ pvp game.

Alexrmf
Alexrmf

@BlackCanopus your theory doesn't quite hold... if the organizers just wanted to remove the extra curious and space wasting people, they should've kept a reasonable fee, but instead they decided to increase it, which doesn't have anything to do with removing the bystanders

BlackCanopus
BlackCanopus

You know what? The main reason behind asking money for an event (like BlizzCon or even a simple art gallery by a newbie) is NOT to cover the expenses. The money won't be enough to cover the expenses. It's because only a limited number of people will be able to attend that event. If the event is for free, waves of bystanders and people who don't really care about the event (they are just curios to know what's going on, or after some cheap fun) will attend that event and strip that opportunity of the people who really know what that events is for and care about it. But when you ask for money, you actually create an opportunity for the people who know what's going on. Only the people who really care and are aware of the event's worth will attend the event and the trolls, bystanders, curious people and ignorant ones will be left out. So, the Banzai Drop Zone water Slide is tempting, but I think I'll pass. Leave it for the bystanders. I'm more interested in BlizzCon.

RaiceGeriko
RaiceGeriko

To be perfectly honest, I could care less about Blizzcon.... or Blizzard for that matter. I may be alone in my thinking, but in all honesty, Blizzard has only made one game that I would consider "worth playing": Diablo. I don't like RTS, so all of their Craft games automatically go out the window. I've tried just about every major RTS since Empire at War, and the fact is... I just don't find them very fun. So for me, other than that, the only other thing is Diablo 2... which I didn't play all the way through. Why? Because it was basically the same game as Diablo, and by then... it was boring. "Click the same button to do everything - YAY!" No thanks. Diablo 3 looks like it might be actually worth the wait, but we will see. And I must say I am a little curious to see what this Titan project is all about. But, I just don't see how that is worth any amount of money when I will hear about it the very next day for free.

N4o7A
N4o7A

Shouldn't Blizzard like make BlizzCon free cuz they're making an infinite amount of money from WoW...Or they could make the tix like $25 or something, idk, the whole pricing is ridickydonkey...

kasabkata
kasabkata

No word about the dinner ticket?

akaKoshi
akaKoshi

Exactly my train of thoughts when I saw the ticket price. I am not going so it should not worry me, but still... 175$? Most companies have to spend millions on marketing, Blizzard just asks money. I still love all their games though.

sneezebox
sneezebox

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

First off, go read the current NY times op-eds, they have a totally different tone. I do agree these gamespot op-eds try a bit too hard. Still, I agree it's a waste of money. I'd put it away for retirement before the Republicans slash social security. You're on your own.

LokiHero
LokiHero

@ RatchetV1 What you're sensing is someone trying to talk down to you. Much in the same way the New York Times' op-eds often use the most pretentious style possible to get the point across that they're oh-so-elite, as far as I've seen, the people who write these op-eds try to be as "cool" as possible. To me, it comes across more like someone trying way, way too hard to be cool which, if I learned anything in high school, is pretty uncool.

Hercol
Hercol

Cant u watch this off their site? for $60??

ahpuck
ahpuck

If you think it's too expensive, DON'T GO!! No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to buy tickets. People willing to pay for tickets, I'm not one of them, know it's worth it.

cyborg9
cyborg9

hahaha what a joke, Id pay but only if you tards released diablo 3 or give a dam release date

RatchetV1
RatchetV1

Am i the only one who hates these stupid Coin-OpEd articles? its like they try too hard to either be offensive or humorous. But somehow never manages to get the latter.

gamemazter1411
gamemazter1411

Wow! Gamespot is affiliate marketing to us now? Seriously? that's crazy I guess gas prices are effecting everyone these days. If you don't understand how I see affiliate marketing in this post, just take a look at all the products that they hyperlinked. In any case the point is Blizzcon is too expensive.

gothicman
gothicman

Well this is what happens when you become a greedy @sshole. You charge more and more every year. Why? Because people are stupid enough to buy into the crap, just like the Iphone. Economics works, only because people no longer have a brain to think before they buy. So if you want to waste $175 to see "new" blizzard stuff, go right ahead. After all, you will be the one screwed in the end, as next year, you will probably waste another $200+ on a ticket to see crappy cardboard cutouts and executives laughing their @ss off as they see how much they make off of your dumb @ss.

gothicman
gothicman

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

twistyanddark
twistyanddark

Seriously everyone has the right to give his money wherever he wants. The real power is not in Gamespot and its articles but in the hands of the customers. I would never go to Blizzcon, even if I love travelling there are tons of other "real" destinations more appealing to visit. I value most a spaghetti in Florence or a mohito in Cuba, someone however might equally value a beta view in Blizzcon. Plus let's face it, its with people who buy second accounts of SC2, who pay to play WoW and who go to Blizzcon that make Blizzard get the extra cash to complete such polished games. And guess what we get to play these games just for the starting price. On their defense I find it relatively expensive though.

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

They make BILLIONS per year, do they really need to ask so much for Blizzcon?

epicsephiroth
epicsephiroth

I'm a blizzard fan, got 1 collector's edition from their list of games. Blizzard games made a good portion of my gaming career but I find myself agreeing with many points on this article, save the purchase of a Banzai Drop Zone Water Slide. Ehhh... Great article, made me glad to find someone else valuing investments based on gaming. Most gamers do not exactly have money to spare for everything and much less games these days (even though we do buy those games..).

djwood84
djwood84

Its a giant nerd party. $175 is steep yes, but its a once in a lifetime experience for most that go. If you don't want to go, don't. I wouldn't shell out the cash either, but if I made bank, I'd fly my ass out there just to eye%#@# the chicks dressed as nightelves.

JTR_IceBerg
JTR_IceBerg

Why would anyone be complaining about the prices unless they are but hurt about not being able to go themselves? Different strokes for different folks as the saying goes. If you are an obsessed fan and make it an absolute priority to go, price is not going to be a huge issue. You get your experience and, from my perspective, not much else. For everyone else, we get the news 2nd hand and a tad bit later... for free. And with such a captive and persistent audience, Blizzard has actually been good about not taking monetary advantage. $25 dollars is not a huge jump and again, why complain if it aint your thing or if you don't plan on going anyway?

minijeffro
minijeffro

Blizzcon is an amazing snowball of hype and advertisement, nothing more. The conference offers nothing of substance to a gamer. If you have a ton of friends that are going then it can be fun to go as a group, even then you will be sick of it inside 2hrs. Long lines to play games. A bunch of companies promoting their products that you probably could care less about - T shirts, PC hardware stuff, etc. You will wait about 2hrs in a line to play a video game for 15-30min. You can walk around and look at crappy life size sculpture from Blizzard games. Oh the joy. The only thing that is really worthwhile is the music act the last night, but even that is not worth the price of admission. Again, absolutely nothing of substance, but then again conventions seldom are.

ranbla
ranbla

After the disappointment that was Starcraft II, I may never buy another Blizzard game. I have never and will certainly never attend a BlizzCon. Blizzard can KMA.

AzatiS
AzatiS

It amazes me that a company with millions of profits per month , wants to make blizzcon with almost 0 , not to say make more profits out of it , losses. Blizzcon supposed to be a video game festival which blizzard promotes its games , advertise its games etc... It just ridiculous how blizzard do all this hyped promotion with 0 costs , milk fans $$ more with pay per view or so costly tickets. Sorry greedy blizzard , ill check your show 1 day later. From Youtube or any other online source. Period.

Ninjagrym
Ninjagrym

I never attended BlizzCon and I never will. First of all I live in Europe and if I ever go across the sea to the US I will have more interesting things to see and do. Second of all I would never pay to see commercials. I hate them when they interrupt my tv show so why, for the love of god, would I PAY to see them? I mean these "announcements" and "reveals" are just a commercials in a fancy package. Conventions like this one should be free. They should thank me for coming and showing an interest in their upcoming products, not bill me.

N0madS0uL
N0madS0uL

Personally I think the longer Blizzard waits with revealing D3 release dates and other games the more people would become annoyed at them. I for one don't need to be teased about game releases, just tell us when it is expected as there developing team has a deadline or rough deadline, give that to us also and just say "this is a rough estimate and we hope we are done but maybe not" and I will be happy enough. This non committal attitude just put them in a bad light and lets them breath easy, more pressure could do them good in my opinion. As for paying 175 bucks and hoping for a release date for a game is not my idea of money well spent at all. So yeah glad to see most of us agree on this. Blizz makes sooo much on WoW subs already it's kinda criminal to ask so much for this event.

idosofacility
idosofacility

they are like money VAMPIRES! LOL never cared about them much.. but I can shure apreciate a company that knows how to suck their fanboys dry! good going!