Blizzard's next MMOG to have 'more broad appeal'

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick reveals the World of Warcraft developer's upcoming massively multiplayer project will cast a wider net; "prize play" coming to Battle.net.

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After confirming it was working on a new massively multiplayer online game in 2007, Blizzard Entertainment has divulged only a few details on the project. Today at the Deutsche Bank Securities Technology Conference in San Francisco, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick offered another breadcrumb of information about the unnamed title--which won't be a competitor to World of Warcraft.

Blizzard's next won't be World of Starcraft.
Blizzard's next won't be World of Starcraft.

When asked about the efforts behind the new Battle.net online gaming service, Kotick listed Blizzard's upcoming slate. "What we've announced at Blizzard is that we have Starcraft [II] coming, Diablo has been in production...and a new, unannounced MMOG that has a little more broad appeal," said the executive.

Kotick's talk of a more accessible MMORPG adds a bit more detail to the still very sketchy picture of Blizzard's mystery-shrouded project. Before officially acknowledging it was in development in 2007, Blizzard said that any new massively multiplayer online game would not be a World of Warcraft clone. This February, now-ex-World of Warcraft game director Jeff Kaplan began working full time on the unnamed title, which will be a brand-new property.

Besides mentioning the Blizzard MMORPG and Activision's plans to begin bypassing consoles, Kotick dropped hints of what features the new Battle.net might have. "As we start to add cash play and prize play and better rewards and recognition systems that come through the Internet, you will start to see audiences expand even further," said Kotick, showing a slide of a BlizzCon StarCraft II tournament.

When asked if Kotick's comments meant that cash prizes would be awarded directly over Battle.net, a Blizzard rep pointed out his company's long-standing tradition of having contests that begin online and end at BlizzCon with large cash prizes. "Tournament play and e-sports have been part of the Battle.net experience for years," said the rep who declined to comment further.

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