Fellow Azerothians, and gamers in general, we are indeed “kicking it old school” at the moment. I didn’t realize it until today, but we’re in the crossfire of a game of chicken. The participants? Blizzard and ArenaNet.
If you’re not familiar with them, ArenaNet is the developer behind Guild Wars and the upcoming sequel. The game many people aren’t necessarily suggesting will kill WoW, but one that will arguably evolve the industry to some degree. It won’t take out the king, but it might cause him to review the policies and practicies of his magistrate.
But, I’m not here to argue the potential success of Guild Wars 2 on this day. Instead, I would merely like to point out the fact you can probably blame ArenaNet for not knowing yet when Mists of Pandaria will release. By the same logic, you can probably blame Blizzard for a lack of release date for Guild Wars 2. While the latter is only slightly less likely, because ArenaNet’s approach for years now has been “we’ll release it when it’s ready,” the fact remains each of them is riding a tractor towards the other waiting for that driver to flinch…to announce their release date.
In the case of ArenaNet, I don’t blame them. While there has been plenty of pre-purchase and many people are very excited about the game, the last thing they want is to have their big day overshadowed by World of Warcraft. It has happened in the past, and I wouldn’t rule it out again in this case. These two games are literally going to go head to head, particularly if they release close to one another.
Think about it this way, if one game announces their date then the player base froths in excitement. All is good as they got the first punch in, right? Well, not so fast. What if the other company waits a week and then announces their game is coming out sooner? If you’re the company that went first, you basically ended up in the river like the video there. Sure, release dates are subject to change but within reason. It would be pretty obvious if that first company changed their date in the period that followed the second announcement.
Honestly, I can’t tell you which one will jump the gun, but my feeling is that it should be Blizzard. They’re such a juggernaut in the industry, regardless of whether or not they’ve dropped from 12 million players to 10 million. That’s still 10 million active subscriptions at a minimum of 12 dollars a month. They have a core that will buy Mists of Pandaria regardless when it launches, and another group of people that will still be subscribed whether they buy it or not.
ArenaNet, on the other hand, has put half a decade into developing Guild Wars 2. As I said prior, they are of the “we’ll release it when it’s ready” mindset and they’ve stuck to that. But, they’re in the Beta stage just as Pandaria is and they’re also using pre-purchases as a means of generating extra Beta traffic. Still, they’re at that stage, the same as Mists. That means they aren’t that far off from being able to release the game. Neither company is. You can most certainly still expect to see a domino effect when one company makes their announcement, though. After “oohing and ahhing” you’ll turn your head to the other side and wait for a few seconds before that announcement comes as well.