Eurogamer: Does piracy have anything to do with your decision to make Diablo 3 always-on?
Frank Pearce: I would never say it's not a factor, but it's definitely not the driving factor. Ultimately, if people want to pirate the game, they're going to find ways to pirate the game whether we require an online connection or not. Our focus is not on preventing piracy, but rather on creating an online experience that's so compelling for people that they aren't thinking about pirating the game because they want to be part of this community and they see value in having this community, almost as if this vibrant community is a bullet point you would put on the back of the box as a feature.
Eurogamer: Are current internet connections stable enough to facilitate always-on video games?
Frank Pearce: It depends on the region. It depends on the hardware. It depends on the location of the person. Certainly the technology is getting better and better every day. You can see evidence with World of Warcraft of the fact a lot of people have the connectivity that's required for that.
Eurogamer: We won't be able to play Diablo 3 on a commute. Does that matter?
Frank Pearce: It's a valid request. For us, the server software is going to be running on our hardware infrastructure and not on the client hardware. To allow the server software to run on the client hardware is additional effort on our part, and we want to get Diablo 3 into the hands of our players as quickly as possible. It's already going to be a challenge for us to do that this year.
Part of the decision as it relates to that is, is it more important we give the people who are on occasion going to want to play offline the ability to do that? Or is it more important we get this game into the hands of our players as quickly as we can? We decided we wanted to get it into the hands of our fans as quickly as possible.
Eurogamer: I'm sure they will appreciate that.
Frank Pearce: Some of them will. Some of them will have complaints about the fact they can't play offline.
Eurogamer: It's better people care than they don't care at all.
Frank Pearce: This is a very high-class problem. To have a community that's so passionate about our games and what we're doing that they have strong opinions about this is a really nice position to be in. We definitely listen to the feedback from all the fans. Hopefully they trust us to make the right decisions for the games and for the community, not just for the short term but for the long term.
Eurogamer: Most people who are upset about your decision will buy your games.
Frank Pearce: Yeah. It's true that sometimes people's actions are different than their words.
Jonny Ebbert: I don't think they would be posting that vigorously if they weren't invested enough to buy it. You would almost expect it. If they're an online activist lobbying for something in a game, it's like, you're so invested at that point you'd almost have to buy it.
Frank Pearce: People are online all the time with their social networks and grabbing information off the internet. Potentially, some of these people are WOW players, that are online gaming for WOW. An always connected experience is something that at some point soon, I don't know if it's months or years, but soon, everyone is going to have the expectation that they are connected when they are gaming.
Eurogamer: It's just the way things are going?
Frank Pearce: Yeah. And the exception will be the games that aren't connected.