Blizzard's Rob Pardo Explains How Battle.net Could be Monetized
This past Friday, an innocent question from a fan at one of Blizzcon’s Diablo 3 panels asking if Battle.net would remain free led to an unexpected — or, at least, unwanted — answer from the game‘s lead designer, Jay Wilson: “We are looking to monetize Battle.net so that we get to keep making these games and updating features.”
Battle.net, for those who don’t know, is the online gaming platform used by many of Blizzard’s games, including StarCraft, Diablo, Diablo 2, and both Warcraft 2 and 3. Since its release alongside the original Diablo, Battle.net has always been completely free, which is what made Wilson’s answer so jarring.
Blizzard executive VP of game design, Rob Pardo, cleared up the comments while speaking with Joystiq. He made it clear that there’s no plan to do anything akin to Hellgate: London and Blizzard is absolutely not trying to turn Diablo into a subscription-based game.
With Battle.net we’re definitely looking at possible different features that we might be able to do for additional money. We’re not talking about Hellgate or anything like that. We’re not going to tack things on. I think World of Warcraft is a great example to look at. We charge people if they want to switch servers or if they want name changes, things that aren’t core to the game experience, they’re really just optional things that some people want. It takes us some development work to do it, so it makes sense to charge for it. We would never do something like say to get the full game experience, you’ll have to pay extra.
Is that enough reassurance for you? As a diehard Diablo fan, I could easily imagine being suckered into paying for optional things that I really don’t need — hopefully Blizzard will be gentle.