Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Is Blizzard greedy?

This post sat in my drafts for a little while, unfinished because I got busy.  So .. late to the party once again.

So Sparkle Ponies were released, and everyone had an opinion.  The first day they came out, I was reading over my Google Reader and came across a long-time blogger who managed to put the words "Blizzard" and "greedy" in the same sentence, relating one to the other. 

I shut my Reader down in disgust.  I'm tempted to unsubscribe from their feed, to be honest.  Their walls-o-text are usually boring and I usually only skim them, anyway, but when they said that ... well ..

I don't want to talk politics here.  Not really.  I'm quasi-Libertarian, I'm against government bloat and waste and I'm for people taking care of their own damn selves, not looking to the government to wipe their asses for them.  I'm GLAD I live in America, where we are at least somewhat free from complete socialist control.

So, do I think Blizzard is being "greedy" because of this new RMT?  It's a pretty, shiny thing, no in-game advantage, just a simple skin over whatever mount you currently have.  If I had the extra $25, I'd buy one for myself without question - when I first saw pictures of it, I claimed that it was the second coolest mount I had ever seen for the game, after Ashes of A'lar. 

Blizzard sold a ton, no surprise.  They made a good chunk of change that day.  The price was out of reach or simply unacceptable to many, many people.  "Slippery slope" arguments abounded, with semi-good reason (my opinion - I get what those people were saying, but I really don't think this is a slope towards anything - Blizzard will not be selling gear or other items with an in-game advantage, I'm relatively sure of it). 

But the "greedy" comment .. really?  A private company, NOT a charity, in a country where capitalism is the name of the game, makes for purchase a small cosmetic item.  No guns to heads, no advantages to having it, no threats of purchase-or-die .. just a simple cosmetic, useless item offered for purchase that people can choose to buy or not. 

In a capitalistic society like ours, companies start up to make money, not to give away things.  That's what charities and, to a more frowned-upon (by me) sense, government agencies are for.  They continue to make money, they continue to operate, employing loads of people and putting out a superior product.  In Blizzard's case, they continue making this wonderful game with a relatively cheap suscription fee (I spend hours a day [can be unlimited] playing WoW for $15 per month, but I spend roughly 1 hour a week watching tv for $35 a month for basic cable, or spend $9 for a 2 hour movie, $50 for a day at the amusement park, etc. - what's the cheaper amount spent on entertainment out of all of those?).  Is that greedy?  Who gets the money? 

Why, it goes to overhead, mostly.  Paying for the facilities in which the developers work, and the salaries and benefits of those employees.  A large portion goes to taxes to the Royal Government, and yes Blizzard donates to charities.  I'm going to assume that like most companies, Blizzard rewards their employees with bonuses and perks for a job well done.   Like any company, no one person in charge gets to walk away with all the cash.  It gets SPENT, right back into the company to keep it running.

So what's all this "Blizzard is greedy" nonsense?  Seems that it came from some socialist-loving liberal who doesn't understand economics at all, in my opinion.  But what do I know?  I'm just another "greedy" person, taking home as much money as I can from my paycheck every two weeks - I'm not giving it away.  If I get extra, I'm treating myself for a job well done, not giving it to someone else.


  1. You've weakened your argument that Blizzard is not greedy by agreeing that Blizzard is a capitalist. Blizzard is greedy because they are going down the path of making extra money that is not essential to their game.

  2. @Jujee - "capitalist" doesn't equal "greedy". Making extra money that is "not essential" to the game doesn't make any sense - of course it's "essential" to the game in the fact that it goes back into the business, thus allowing them to make the game a superior product by employing more programmers (and paying them more, most likely because the programmers are more and more educated and/or experienced), improving on customer service, etc. The "extra" money made by the sale of the sparkly ponies is probably not just lining the pockets of the people at the top of the Blizzard food chain in forms of "bonus" money - it's probably going right back into overhead. I don't see how this is greedy at all.