The Coffee Break. 14 October 2013.
Well this is interesting, Blizzard entertainment has released a PC desktop application that collects all their titles you own – and the starter editions – into one program similar to Steam. Now the program itself works fairly well, and there has been little in the way of issues related to launching a game, installing a game, or updating the files on your computer. This idea is quite appealing as the use of Steam has taught us the importance of a well organized digital distribution system, which can collect all titles into one, organized file for easy access. What Blizzard have done is not something new as evident by the common use of the Steam platform, however there is one thing I would like to throw in there: why is there no feature to add older Blizzard titles into this application?
Starcraft 1 still has a fair amount of users, and though there is generally a low expectation of Blizzard to continue to support this title with patches and expansions per say, it would be nice to see them implement the ability to add the older titles into the system so that players can enjoy their entire archive of Blizzard games without having to open up different Battle net accounts because these older titles are not registered with their current account.
Apart from that however, the application seems to be running quite smoothly. There have been zero crashes thus far, and installing and uninstalling games is as painless as the Steam feature; all of which spell success in the long run for this application. Right now the application is in open beta, so go check it out if you feel like organizing all of your Blizzard games into this application. Key feature is that you only have to log in once, and all your games – World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, and Diablo 3 – will all be accessible at a click of the mouse button. Hearthstone is a soon-to-be released title, but it will be included in the system so do not sweat people. When you access the Battle net website the application open beta download should appear in the upper right corner of your screen: they make it obvious to attract more users to switch over to the application. A link to the application will be provided below this paragraph: please keep in mind that it is in open beta, but it appears that the build will be semi-permanent as Blizzard intends for users to switch over to this system in the near future.
Recently there has been a slow trickle of Games Workshop or Games Workshop-related boardgames flowing onto Steam: Chainsaw Warrior being a card game, Space Hulk being a limited release board game, and now Talisman is soon to be released on Steam. One would guess that the board games market is slowly shrinking as digital entertainment continues to increase in popularity. This move would therefore be a smart business decision as it can increase the longevity of a particular board game title, and produce better sales margins than simply keeping to the board game market alone. One would guess that in some places where there is a limited amount of players, a digital version would be preferable as it allows a player to connect via the internet to other players worldwide. Having this flexibility is also nice when – in particular countries like Canada, Norway, Sweden etc – the days become shorter and the nights become colder. Staying at home, with a hot drink and a cozy blanket is generally the preferred way to enjoy such an evening, and having access to multiplayer games is even more preferable as it removes the need to go out into the -30 degree winter just to play a round of Talisman. Southern Californians will probably be laughing at this, but when they get a taste of a bone-chilling winter like the ones experienced in Northern Alberta, they will keep their mouths shut.
This variety in titles is refreshing as many of the Games Workshop board and card games were enjoyable in the past, but sadly were left to fall into the pages of history by the company which produced them. Now that the titles are suddenly re-appearing in the digital format, it will breathe some life into these long forgotten names, and possibly help build the titles into a successful game, and/or possibly a series – if the market permits of course. This will also add more hours of distraction on top of already popular games like Planetside 2 and Call of Duty: sorry family, friends and pets, your loved ones will not be showing up to this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, or they will not be staying for too long (humor intended).
Alright then, now that these two news bits are finished, this would be an appropriate time to conclude this edition of the Coffee Break. Please check out the link below if you have missed the previous edition of the Coffee Break for more bite-sized reads on gaming news and Canadian affairs (broadly speaking). Thank you all for reading, and I will see you next time.