Site reader Patonis directs our attention to an interesting exchange between a Starcraft 2 developer and a Bliz PR guy during a group interview at Gamescom. The writeup is in German on a site called GamersGlobal.de, (Google translation here) and it records a presentation by SC2 developer Jonny Ebbert.
During the conversation with some media, he talked about upcoming SC2 features including a marketplace where they’ll be selling (for real $) all sorts of stuff, including downloadable content. Here’s the Google translation quote, augmented by what Patonis said in his email:
We wanted to know if there will be new things in the Starcraft 2 marketplace. Ebbert said that the great thing is the new Battle.net, that one is not forced to wait for an add or update the system must be great to incorporate such a change. It may be that the marketplace is coming before the expansion – or just after. Blizzard did with the marketplace “big plans” and thus wanted the map creators, mod-makers and players have a platform.
He also announced (no surprise, but now officially confirmed) that Blizzard will also provide plenty of content for the marketplace, thus offering piecemeal content (DLC) for the game. But before he can go into detail the annoyed PR representative, Bob Colayco, interrupts harshly saying, “We’ll talk about that later.”
The announcement that Blizzard will be selling their own custom maps for cash, was probably intended for the Blizzard in-house exhibition Blizzcon …
The language barrier makes this slightly opaque, but apparently Blizzard is upgrading the SC2 marketplace, and while they may begin selling other DLC stuff, they’re definitely going to be selling their own custom maps, to players willing to spend real money on them. There’s no way they’ll add anything to SC2 breaks the game balance — you won’t get a “pay to win” sort of scenario in a balanced PvP game like SC2 — but clearly Activision/Blizzard is out to find every possible way to enhance their digital revenue. (As Bobby Kotick makes clear with five minutes of praise for the profits generated by CoD’s DLC maps packs in every quarterly conference call.)
Jay Wilson touched on this from Gamescom as well, mentioning that they had no current plans to sell D3 items through the RMAH, but making it sound pretty likely that we’ll see D3 versions of WoW’s SparklePonies before too long. Nothing to break the game balance — just shiny-looking stuff that some of us will be willing to drop real money on. The future is coming. The future is now.