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Blizzard Product Schedule: Leak or Hoax?
01/12/2010 a las 13:08
A very interesting image is circulating on The Internet regarding a supposed leak of Blizzard's product schedule. The image is below, as well as the official response from Blizzard, an analysis of the source, and a general review of the info contained therein.
So, is this legit? Let's review!
Let's start with the source.
(I had to try very hard not to type "sauce" just then)
This one is quite the rabbit hole and starts to sound like gossip you might hear in a high-school lunchroom.
, Gamebreaker.tv's weekly podcast, heard about it from
, who heard about it from a Chinese-based site called
MMO Game Site
. They claim a gamer gave them the information on a condition of "anonymity".
However, the information appears on a Chinese forum the day before MGS was "given" the information. (
That forum post credits a two-page article on 178.com, one of the largest sites in China, as the source. (
Page 1 of the post was related to the release of 3.3.5 in China and contains a quote from the person who broke the story on the forums. The actual forum post has since been edited, citing what translates roughly as "unscrupulous media outlets" applying "great pressure" to the original author. (
Such pressure would be applied to the source of a leak as well as the source of a hoax, so that doesn't really help us at all.
We contacted Blizzard about this image and received this response from a Blizzard spokesperson:
As always, we appreciate the interest in Blizzard's current and upcoming games, but we don't comment on rumors or speculation and we don't have any new announcements to make. Right now we're fully focused on the upcoming launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and we're very much looking forward to celebrating that event with players around the world starting on Dec. 7.
also received that same response.
Okay, what about the content?
We can start by reviewing everything that occurred in the past:
: "Predicted" for Q3. This was released
, toward the end of Q1.
: "Predicted" for Q3. This was released
, during Q3.
: "Predicted" for Q2. This was released
, shortly after Q2 ended.
: "Predicted" for Q4. This will be released on December 7th, during Q4.
In actuality, this analysis doesn't tell us much. Some of these dates are off, but close. This tells us one of two things:
Blizzard, like any other software development company, isn't always 100% dead-on with their estimates.
Someone went through the trouble of adjusting actual release dates when they created this document to give it "credibility."
So, we can't know for sure if this is a leak or a hoax.
Now, let's look at everything planned for the future:
Blizzard has been averaging about 2 years per expansion at this point.
: November 23, 2004
: January 16, 2007 (2 years, 2 months)
: November 13, 2008 (1 year, 10 months)
: December 7, 2010 (2 years, 1 month)
The product schedule "predicts" that the next two releases will be 1.5 years apart.
Considering Blizzard's past history, that seems a bit optimistic. However, when you factor in how much changed in Cataclysm, then think about how future expansions would likely just be adding new zones, you start to wonder if Blizzard might be able to do it in a year in a half.
Starcraft 2/Battle.Net Expansions
reported that, during a press conference at BlizzCon 2010, Blizzard would not release any sort of timeline for the release of the next expansion of the StarCraft II series. When asked if users could expect to see the Map Market before or after the next expansion, G4 reported that the general feedback was one of "we're not sure".
With no past history for expansions in the Starcraft framework, it's hard to tell whether 5 quarters (1.25 years) is enough to process each expansion. The "leak" puts the Map Market firmly 2 quarters ahead of the next expansion, which seems to contradict the impression received at the press conference at BlizzCon 2010.
As for "Starcraft 2: Phoenix", your guess is as good as ours.
For some facts on this, we're going to have to fall back on the pattern established by Starcraft 2.
SC 2 Beta
: Blizzard originally started accepting opt-ins in 2009, but opened SC2 for beta testing in
February of 2010
: In May, Blizzard announced that the release date for SC 2 would be
As for Diablo 3, you can currently opt-in to betas for the Diablo 3 universe on your Battle.net account. We also know that 1000 of the attendees of BlizzCon 2010 will be receiving free beta keys. However, we don't have any idea about a beta release date. Given the fact that there was 5 months between the announcement of the beta and the launch of StarCraft 2, it's certainly
that we could see Diablo 3 in a year.
This, of course, hints at Blizzard's next generation MMO. Very little is known about this new game. If this document is to be believed, this is likely just the codename (rather than the actual name) for Blizzard's next MMO. Here's what is known about it:
Blizzard is on record as saying that the game is being built from the ground-up. (
NoFrag, a french gaming site, claims to have information to the effect that the new game is an first-person shooter-type MMO set in the future. (
Blizzard Next Gen MMO, a wiki-based site, has
a list of all known or speculated
information about the game.
In any case, this particular item is so nebulous and so far down the road that it doesn't help verify the authenticity of the document.
None of the information in this particular image is anything that is extremely ground-breaking news. Malgayne even suggested that it was a waste of my time doing all of the research that I did because all of this information was "100% predictable" and "surprises no one".
I'm a bit of a geek, though, and once I started tracking down source information for this image and dates for past expansions, the puzzle-solver in me took over.
In any case, at this point,
this information is rumor-only, cannot be verified as legitimate, and has been responded to by Blizzard as much as they are likely to respond
. Do your friendly Blizzard employees a favor and don't bug them about it. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer that they spent their time working on the items in this "schedule" rather than commenting on the authenticity of something posted on a Chinese forum. :)
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