As the innkeeper says, “Busy night … but there’s always room for another.” In this case, that busy night could mean tens of millions of players.
Blizzard Entertainment has been welcoming a lot of new gamers in recent years — yet nothing has brought in as many players as Hearthstone, the studio’s digital card game. Last week, Blizzard said that more than 70 million people have registered for its free-to-play phenomenon, and while mobile has certainly contributed to that meteoric rise, many of the card slinger’s most passionate players, esports pros, and Twitch, YouTube, and podcast stars spend most of their time with the PC client.
And this passion has made it the king of the card-game category, which Superdata expects to be a $1.4 billion market … and estimated Blizzard’s Hearthstone take to be nearly $400 million last year.
Hearthstone may be riding a wave of success right now. Players, pros, and critics have all credited the recent Journey to Un’Goro expansion for revitalizing what had been a stale competitive scene. Blizzard has also worked to tweak tournament — and increase prize purses — to draw in more players, but it still has key problems.
Critics note that by removing the guaranteed cards from Adventures (along with that fun single-player content), it’s made it more expensive for the casual player to stand a chance in the competitive mode (aka the ladder). The ladder experience is arduous as well, taking an unrealistic commitment of time to climb from rank to rank (even with the recent additions of ranked floors to help you from backpedaling too far). And it still lacks a proper tournament mode, something other Blizzard PC games have.
So I recommend a bold move, one that the hosts of The Angry Chicken fan podcast (the best gaming podcast out there, in my opinion) recommend: add the tournament mode to the PC client. Blizzard wants parity between the mobile and PC crowds, but it’s holding the game back. Besides, as someone who plays Hearthstone on my phone nearly every day, I wouldn’t even expect a tournament client there — give me more ways to play casually on the phone. But Hearthstone would likely see even more play — and more players buying packs — if it implemented a tournament mode on the PC side.
The PC enables the widest range of gaming experiences out there. Don’t hamstring it just for mobile parity.
–Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor
P.S. Chris Roberts has some big ideas about how ultra-powerful PCs can build even bigger game universes than we’re seeing now.
Oh, Tavern Brawl. You mean so much more than a free pack every week. Hearthstone has become a huge hit for Blizzard on PC and mobile, with more than 70 million registered players since its 2014 launch. The free-to-play digital card game has two sides: serious competition and “playing for the lolz.” Tavern Brawl is […]
Ted Price, CEO of Insomniac Games, has never been shy about expressing his opinions. He spoke out against the travel ban, and he talked about leadership with Mike Gallagher, CEO of the Entertainment Software Association. For more than two decades, Price has led the maker of games such as Ratchet & Clank and the upcoming […]
Chris Roberts built worlds for games such as Wing Commander at Electronic Arts’ Origin at the dawn of 3D games a couple of decades ago. Those games were technologically limited, but they still inspired the imagination. Now Roberts is now head of his own company, Roberts Space Industries, and he’s contemplating how to use much more […]
As more people buy virtual reality hardware, advertising on those headsets is becoming more viable. And that’s where Vertebrae wants to step in and help out developers. Vertebrae has rolled out the 1.0 version of its SDK that enables studios to drag and drop various types of ads into VR and AR worlds. While you […]
Nvidia is expanding the capabilities of its VRworks toolkit to streamline the development process. The tech company revealed its new VRWorks audio and 360-degree video software development kits today. As part of the company’s presence at the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, Nvidia showed off how the VRWorks Audio SDK can do real-time calculations […]
Imagine playing a lagging Call of Duty run-through. Your stream is buffering and stopping, not to mention you’re probably losing. That’s bad — now imagine if that happened in virtual reality. It’s probably not only borderline unplayable, but it’s actually giving you motion sickness. VR has proven to be a transformational technology. It has the […]
According to Re-Logic, building the community is more important than making more money on the game. “In all honesty, as successful as Terraria has been, it isn’t even what we consider to be the most valuable asset that Re-Logic has. That would be our reputation and the unwavering good will that we have built with our amazing fans,” Re-Logic president Andrew Spinks told Gamesindustry.biz. (via US Gamer)
Making a web series on YouTube is no easy task. It may look simple, but the successful ones that you actually see take a hell of a lot of work and skill. And it depends on the type of show too. Perhaps you’re a fan of a particular video game franchise and want to produce loads of video reviews on each entry? Maybe you want to delve into arcane pockets of video game history instead? Each type requires a different set of disciplines and knowledge and being able to compete is tough. However, I’ve I reached out to some successful YouTubers who make gaming videos for advice on how you too can create your own series of shows. (via GamesRadar)
Real life is rubbish sometimes, and there’s nothing that video games can do about that. But I know that if I’ve had a particularly tough day at work, then sitting down at my PC and visiting a different world can often be exactly what I need to unwind. There are two things I noticed when compiling this list of the 10 most relaxing games. One is that all of them have excellent mellow soundtracks, highlighting just how important audio is in deciding the tone of any game. The second is that the setting is almost always the star, not the plot or action. (via Rock Paper Shotgun)
Deciding on the very best indie games on PC is a task that necessarily involves some painful exclusion. The great indie boom triggered by digital distribution a decade ago turned out to be more of a Big Bang, firing small-team development in a plethora of different directions that now defy simple categorisation. The sheer volume is intimidating. (via PC GamesN)
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