|Nice use of the hearthstone symbol there Blizz.... ^^|
Twitter pretty much imploded this afternoon on the back of the (pretty surprising) announcement that Blizzard will be entering the mobile gaming market with, of all things, an online Collectable Card Game. You'll be able to get this on your Mac or PC, but it will (most significantly) also be available for your Apple mobile device. Announced at PAX East in Boston, this new idea looks likely to eclipse the Diablo 3 port to console, which is odd, considering this game isn't really close to anything anyone actually expected to be announced. In fact I'm betting on the 'List of Possible Awesome Things Blizzard Could Make', an online CCG is pretty far down the list. I'd go so far as to say it would probably not make most people's lists at all.
Needless to say, the hate (and love, and a lot of 'huh?' if my Twitter feed is any indicator) has already begun in earnest.
The biggest single problem for me, I must say, is the fact it's a card game online. Despite people assuring me I will be
If this does happen, I'm not buying, and that will be a distinct sea change from my decisions pre-announcement. I understand why they'd do it as well, that linking this game to the Battle Pet brigade would be a master-stroke. However, there have to be some principles for me, and if that means I miss out then so be it. I'll consider it in the same vein as not buying a SC2 Limited Edition just so I can own the vanity pet, and I'll simply move on.
There's been some cracking discussions that have come off the back of this announcement: what Blizzard's long term aims are is one of the biggest. I can see them creating an entirely new 'genre' with this kind of game and giving companies like Wizards of the Coast a real scare. Blizzard may not inhabit meatspace as Magic does, but it's clearly making a big swing at its player base, or at least those who have an interest in such diversions. If they were to do this right (and as its Blizzard are we to doubt they won't?) this could give a lot of card games a run for their money. The future, undoubtedly, is in mobile gaming, and if Hearthstone is to be a test run for further mobile apps, they will do a lot worse than they have by linking everything to Battle.net. You have to think that, somewhere in Blizzard HQ, they're already working on a mobile version of the Battle Pets game that allows you to collect new critters on your mobile device and allows you to transfer those to your characters, and vice versa... after all, al the raw data's already there in game, just waiting to be exploited...
Whatever your take on this new 'concept', you know people will be talking about it over the weekend. #hearthstone is likely to be a global trending hashtag for a while yet, and when your official Twitter account's already got 1500 plus followers less than 30 minutes after the game's announced, you understand your markets only too well. Have you signed up for the Beta?