Wednesday, December 1, 2010

GeekyLeaks - Not Nearly As Compelling as WikiLeaks

So Larisa found someone who called the leaked Blizzard document from this week a "Geeky Leak." Nice. But the internal memorandum for officers of Activision (in all likelihood) really only said three things of note. Absolutely none of them are a surprise to anyone who has followed either Blizzard or Activision for some period of time. Reviewing them in order of interest...

3. World of Warcraft will be released in Portugese - There is a budding market for video games and similar consumables in Brazil and surrounding countries, so why wouldn't a company get more of the action? If you view Activision as a company that cares about the bottom line more than anything else in the world, then this decision is a no-brainer. The game is at all time highs for subscriptions and the cash cow must grow to new markets to continue growing in the long term.

2. The next two WoW expansions are set for release in 1.5 year intervals from Cataclysm. Anybody who has followed Blizzard since the release of vanilla knows that they repeatedly say their goal is one expansion a year. While I think the quality would suffer in the face of the bottom line, the fact that the level cap only goes up 5 in Cataclysm is perhaps a sign that new expansions will be a little smaller on the whole and come in quicker intervals. One year is the goal, two years is where they are at, so of course 1.5 years is a reasonable goal if they are serious about getting this done. With Cataclysm revamping the game entirely, perhaps new continents and new revamped zones will not be necessary to enjoy the game for the next few years, which frees up development time.

1. The new MMO is slated for a late 2013 release. Again, this makes perfect sense coupled with the announcement that the next two expansions are supposed to be at 1.5 year intervals. WoW will likely be in decline no matter what Activision and Blizzard do after two more full expansions, so before the tide stems too much, better give the playerbase something better. Everything at Blizzard gets pushed back, so targeting late 2013 is really a signal that 2014 is the goal, allowing the fifth expansion to wow to have some "last hurrah" moments before a lot of the playerbase moves or splits time with the new intellectual property. WoW will not die, but it will not always pay the bills as well as it does. Activision again is all about the bottom line, so a new cash cow has to be made in a few years.

So all things told, there is absolutely nothing surprising about this leak other than it happened. As an attorney working in intellectual property every day, sometimes my livelihood depends on how good our NDA (non-disclosure agreements) are. Businesses can be gutted if patent protection is lost due to a leak, and so this violation of the Blizzard employee policies is not something I am happy to see. What if we learned something more shocking or important? Let's hope the loops close and the leaks stop.

I have the same opinion about WikiLeaks. While the people do have a right to know some things their government is doing, nobody needs to see internal e-mails and memos between friends and coworkers where people always tend to say things they never would publicly. It's the same in every work force, but when you are a representative of the United States government, your words can carry a lot of weight as far as radicals around the world are concerned. With instability in Korea reaching levels that are similar to the 1960's and China forcing its way into a top world power, these are uncomfortable times and such careless comments seeing the light of day may only pour fuel on a fire that is not necessary.

We are now t-minus 6 days until Cataclysm. Get ready, there's a real nasty dragon to slay!


  1. Someone posted this comment at my link. It appears as if the story might be authentic after all and that someone got fired...
    Still only rumors ofc..

  2. Yeah these things usually lead to that. While I hate to see anybody lose a job right now, you have to know better than blatantly going against company policy. It might hurt you in the long run anyway even if you weren't caught!