Blizzard “Grossly Underestimated” Demand For World Of Warcraft
If Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce isn’t just weaving a cool-sounding origin story for posterity, Blizzard may not have been aware of what they had on their hands when they introduced World of Warcraft back in 2004. Apparently, they “grossly underestimated” the extent to which people wanted to play the MMORPG version of Warcraft. That information came out in a DICE panel discussion, first mentioned by Gamasutra, that also included Epic’s Mike Capps and Insomniac’s Ted Price.
These days, Blizzard has 4,700 employees based in 11 cities. Back in 2005, notsomuch, and the result is that they were completely unprepared – or so Pearce claims – for the reception WOW recieved. “We had to stop shipping boxes to stores.” Pearce said, adding that Blizzard adopted a “more aggressive” approach for future shipments of the WOW. That change was the result of dialogue with the player community, by which Blizzard were able to more accurately estimate demand and meet it.
This sounds nice, and no doubt they underestimated some of the demand for an MMORPG. But considering Blizzard’s early pioneering of online-based gaming, I can’t help but wonder if there’s a little just so to this story. Still, it’s funny to think of one of the largest presences in video gaming scrambling to keep up with their customers. Of Blizzard’s 4,700 employees, the majority work in Customer Care, a tremendous dedication to the players. Blizzard’s development staff, based in Irvine, California and working on Diablo III, WOW and Starcraft II, numbers around 750.
Via VG 24/7