As a follow up to the “Free D3 with 12 months of WoW” news we posted earlier, here’s a Blizzcon interview with Blizzard COO Paul Sams. Venture Beat asked him about the free D3 issue, and dared to ask if it was just an evil ploy to get more action in the RMAH, at which point some PR guy’s head exploded. It’s such fun to read interviews that were not conducted by fawnsites.

    Other questions cover WoW subscriber declines, Blizzard’s lack of mobile/casual games, the possible future freemium status of WoW, and more. It’s a good interview, and here’s a quote:

    VentureBeat: The World of Warcraft Annual Pass was a big announcement. It’s an ambitious decision, especially to give away Diablo III. Does it tie back into reports from earlier this year of declining subscribers for World of Warcraft?

    Paul Sams: Honestly, what it ties into [is that] we always are looking for ways to show an amount of, I guess … gratitude or what-have-you to our player base. We talk about, all the time, how can we do something cool for our players that’s going to benefit them, benefit us, and that they’ll feel is a give-back of sorts. That’s where this started. There’s a variety of benefits that come from it. Certainly the players get DIII, which is pretty exciting. That doesn’t mean they get the expansion sets, it means that they get DIII, right? So we get people excited about playing that … they get to touch it, feel it, experience it. And then from our perspective, it also is a situation where they aren’t necessarily going to leave WoW to play our own game.

    We don’t want to take players from our universe and shift them over from World of Warcraft. There’s a lot of players playing WoW that have huge amounts of friends and family that they play World of Warcraft with, so [giving Annual Pass subscribers Diablo III] says, enjoy both of them. You don’t have to pay any more than you already do for WoW.

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