Blizzard's CEO issues an apology, of sorts, over Diablo III's launch fiasco, blaming the unexpected popularity of the game for the DRM authentication problems
Blizzard's CEO has apologised to gamers for Diablo III's botched launch, which left gamers unable to even play the single player as DRM servers melted due to high demand.
In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Blizzard's CEO Mike Morhaime issued a mea culpa for the launch issues, but refused to blame the game's DRM for the trouble.
Diablo III's highly controversial DRM employs the "always-on" method, which requires the gamer to have a constant unerring Internet connection, even for the single player mode. If the gamer's Internet connection craps out, or if Blizzard's servers were over capacity, as was the case during the game's launch, then users gamers are prevented from playing the game.
Instead of blaming the heavy DRM requirements for the game, Morhaime instead pointed the blame at the unexpected popularity of the game, which caught Blizzard off-guard.
"It would be so helpful in advance to know how many people are going to want to play a game. Because we could plan things out a lot better: we can make sure we have enough capacity, we can buy the hardware that we need. The Diablo III launch exceeded out forecasts by an order of magnitude; we were very far off. We outsold our full-year forecast in the matter of a week.
I have to give our team some credit because they scrambled really quickly and they were able to increase capacity everywhere within a couple of weeks. But the first couple of weeks were a little bit painful and so I would love to do that over again," Morhaime explained.
While the popularity of Diablo III was indeed ground-breaking, it is still somewhat surprising that Blizzard's forecasts were so off the mark, considering the record number of pre-orders for the game. As for the company's "success" in scrambling quickly to increase capacity, many gamers would probably disagree - gamers in certain regions were still left unable to play the game properly a full month after the launch.
And even Diablo III's apparent success may very well be short lived. A drop-off rate of 65% has the company worried, especially when compared to their previous successes with World of Warcraft and Starcraft II.