Blizzard's Mike Morhaime • Page 2

He runs the world's most successful developer. But what makes him nervous?

Eurogamer: Many people thought, if there was to be a Diablo III, it might appear on consoles too. What is it that's keeping you on PC and off consoles?

Mike Morhaime: Well, PC is the gaming platform with the largest installed base around the world. It's also the platform with the best margins. I think it's a great gaming platform.

Eurogamer: Valve's Gabe Newell said much the same things to us recently.

Mike Morhaime: Yeah, and I agree with a lot of Gabe's comments. I think that it is just completely dead wrong to think about the PC gaming market and conclude that it's a declining market. It is far from declining. If you look at the numbers, there are probably more people playing games on the PC than any other platform. More than there ever have been before. If you look at the revenue, it's also growing. It's only not growing if all you're looking at is PC retail, and even then, I think it's just flat, I don't think it's declining very much.

Eurogamer: But those retail sales are what gives the impression that it's in decline...

Mike Morhaime: Yes, absolutely. Because historically that's how the PC games market has been judged, by looking at retail sales. And so we haven't evolved our metrics yet to look at the entire market for PC games, but if you include online subscriptions and microtransactions and advertising revenue and things like that, and just look at the volume of people, people are playing a lot of games on the PC.

You also asked about console. There a lot of people at Blizzard that love playing consoles games, a lot of us have consoles at home, a lot of people love Guitar Hero, the Wii is becoming very popular. When Blizzard goes to make a game we look at what is the appropriate platform for each of our games. Our primary focus is on the PC, but I wouldn't rule out us continuing to look at console in the future if it was appropriate for the game.

Eurogamer: Now you've announced Diablo III, it's clear you're going to be sustaining three big online franchises. That is a major task.

Mike Morhaime: Yeah.

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Blizzard felt from the start that Diablo III should be a PC game, but Morhaime "wouldn't rule out" a move onto consoles.

Eurogamer: Nervous at all?

Mike Morhaime: Does anything make me nervous? We get nervous with every one of our games. During the process of developing it always comes to a point where you have the game getting over a hurdle, where it goes from being almost there to: okay, now this is really going great. They all go through this, I think it's a necessary thing - where for a game to get to that next level, you have to have a point where everybody's really focused and really playing the game and finding out what the problems are. And when you're at that point, you get concerned. Every single Blizzard game has gone through that, and I think Diablo III hasn't gone through that point yet.

Eurogamer: I was going to ask, if that point happens before you make a game public, or after...

Mike Morhaime: Honestly, I think StarCraft II hasn't gone through that point enough yet. Sometimes games go through the point multiple times, where you think you've gone to the other side, and then you look at it with heavier scrutiny, and you find that it's still not there. And then you push through, and you fix those things, maybe even come up with some breakthrough ideas that address those issues, things that maybe weren't in the original design spec, and then once you address those, you're really onto something.

Eurogamer: Presumably that's why you're so cautious about announcing release dates, because you're waiting for that moment to happen?

Mike Morhaime: Sure. And it takes time. Polishing takes time. And it's very difficult to predict.

Mike Morhaime is chief executive and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. Photography by Morten Skovgaard.

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