Hamlet Au over at New World Notes has a blog post about Blizzard’s decision to cancel Titan. Titan was a planned new MMO from Blizzard, a long rumoured new MMO, indeed seven years long and it never seemed to see the light of day but it was supposed to be the next big thing.
Hamlet’s article has a link to a Polygon post on the same issue : Blizzard cancels its next-gen MMO Titan after seven years. That article has some great quotes from Blizzard’s co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime and Blizzard’s senior vice president of story and franchise development, Chris Metzen. Linden Lab should pay careful attention here to what is being said and what has happened. Mike Morhaime is quoted as saying :
We had created World of Warcraft, and we felt really confident that we knew how to make MMOs, So we set out to make the most ambitious thing that you could possibly imagine. And it didn’t come together.
Linden Lab have created Second Life and I’m pretty sure that they feel really confident on how to make virtual worlds. They have now set out to make the most ambitious virtual world that one could possibly imagine, but will it actually come together?
Chris Metzen is quoted as saying :
We were losing perspective and getting lost in the weeds a little. We had to allow ourselves to take that step back and reassess why the hell we were doing that thing in the first place.
Linden Lab need to ensure that they don’t find themselves in this position with their future virtual world, that they don’t find themselves making something that isn’t fun, that isn’t really progressing how they would like it to and that might not be worth their time at the end of the day.
Then there’s the World Of Warcraft factor. World Of Warcraft may be in decline but it’s still quite healthy. The same can be said of Second Life. Chris Metzen confirmed that Blizzard will continue to support World Of Warcraft, indeed he goes further and says :
My hope personally is that we’ll support it forever
Linden Lab have said that they will continue to support Second Life, I’m sure there are people at the lab who hope they will support Second Life forever.
I’m going to go off on a tangent now, but an important quote from Chris Metzen in the article is :
The discipline of knowing when to quit is important.
That’s a really good quote, not just for developers but also for consumers. Prior to reading this article I had taken the decision to cancel my World Of Warcraft article. My decision was nothing to do with news about Titan, it was to do with my lack of respect for Blizzard’s European arm after their announcement that they are raising prices for future UK subscribers.
We regularly look at our pricing around the world and from time to time we make changes in light of local and regional market conditions. As such, we want to give everyone a heads-up that we will shortly be adjusting the pound sterling subscription price of World of Warcraft.
That announcement for me is too vague. Blizzard Europe had already upped the prices of store items for UK customers, to come back again to the UK for subscriptions just seems to be taking matters a little too far. The impression Blizzard Europe are giving is that they do not have much respect for their UK customers and from my position, that feeling is now mutual. I’m not an unreasonable person (no really), I’d accept a sensible explanation about a price rise, but I can’t bring myself to respect such an absurdly vague explanation. The price rise is piddly, but to come back to UK customers again is not a piddly issue, it’s one I find hard to accept.
However Chris Metzen is absolutely right about the discipline of knowing when to quit and it’s a decision I’d reached myself before reading Chris’ words.
Linden Lab should pay attention to those words too. Linden Lab, with a combination of luck and judgement struck gold with Second Life. The new virtual world has far more ambitious aims but Linden Lab need to ensure they don’t tie themselves in knots trying to make it happen. Second Life is still there and many people will be happy to engage with Second Life for many a year yet.