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Blizzard Going After WoW Related iPhone Apps 87

An anonymous reader writes "Apparently Blizzard is going after developers making iPhone apps for World of Warcraft (free and otherwise) by giving them cease-and-desist orders. As Mike Schramm says 'Blizzard may be planning to do more with the iPhone,' but 'It would be a real shame if Blizzard legal was simply going after fans who have invested a lot of time and effort into these apps even when there's no clear reason for them to do so.'" It's interesting that they're doing so around the same time a video for a (rumored, alleged, unconfirmed — take your pick) iPhone client for World of Warcraft has been floating around.
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Blizzard Going After WoW Related iPhone Apps

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  • Less focus on this crap, MORE focus on Star Craft II. The fscking game has was announce over two years ago. I'm still pissed off about the cancellation of Ghost. There is enough revenue coming in on WoW now. Please don't forget about your customers who don't give a damn about WoW. Thank you.
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:49PM (#27807043)

      Why? Sorry to be blunt, but why?

      Starcraft II, or any game, would be a risk. A tiny risk, granted, because it will be a seller, no doubt. But why should they shift the focus off something that is simply and plainly a cash cow.

      Blizzard is, after all, a profit oriented organisation. They will do what makes them cash. I know, they are held in a better esteem than Sony or EA, but at the end of the day, they're in for the same reason these others are: Money.

      • Milking WoW for all it's worth is a fine strategy for a company. But there comes a time when you want to play the game and enjoy it but you can't because fan-based stuff gets shut down, bugs, crashes, oh god the bugs and crashes, lag, and general lack of updates make you sit there waiting in Dalaran all day until you are allowed to "have fun".
        • Wow, you're really being held at gunpoint, forced to sit in Dalaran, ALL DAY? That must be terrible. I mean, the rest of us just stop playing when we get bored, or we maybe start a new character. But being FORCED to play? AND you have to stay in one city?! Horrible.

          Did you have to pay extra to get the Blizzard employee come threaten you with force?

          Some questions:
          What absolutely essential fan-made tool or site what shut down?
          Why haven't you figured out how to work the quality slider in the video options page

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by f8l_0e ( 775982 )
        That's a perfectly reasonable question. As I mentioned before, the game was announced over two years ago. At the time of the announcement, they had in game video of the game that must have been at least (and I mean the very least) 9 months of development. That seems like a lot of R&D wasted if they don't plan on releasing the game. The FAQs on their site mention all kinds of reasons for delay, like balancing races and game mechanics. In my opinion, they shouldn't have announced the game until the
        • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:25PM (#27808325) Journal

          Well, you seem to forget that this is actually normal for Blizzard. They'll tweak the game until they consider it to be right, and that sometimes means 2 years past the planned release date.

          I'm not even saying this as a bad thing. In the end, that's their main secret sauce. They're the guys who would agree with you that balancing the races and the game mechanics isn't just details, it's the game. Most others would (be bullied by the publisher to) shove it out the door now, and maybe patch it later.

          I mean, think about it. What did WoW have that, say, EQ2 didn't have, as both launched in the same year? I can't think of anything major that Blizzard invented, other than the "rested xp" bar, and we could debate all evening if that counts as "major". Blizzard simply took the time to polish the turd, so to speak, and it paid off.

          What set their RTS apart, since you mention Starcraft II? Make no mistake, Starcraft came out in an age where there were about as many "me too" RTS produced by everyone and their grandma, as there were "me too" FPS. There was everything out there, from fantasy to SF to historical. Again, it seems to me like all Blizzard did was actually give it a good long tweak and polish before it got released.

          So I wouldn't be praying for them to do a rush job this time. If they feel that it still needs more tweaking, so be it.

        • Would you prefer if they shoved it out the door as soon as the killer bugs are out and the game is more or less stable and playable, with no semblance of anything that could be remotely considered balance, so everyone plays just ONE side and uses ONE kind of units because they represent the I-win button?

          Because that's the alternative. You will not see studios go silent and mull over games for years, then release a new oh-so-wonderful gem of computer game art. This just does not happen. Any studio that tried

      • A risk, yeah.. but when you consider that Starcraft is a national sport in Korea, they are going to make money on it. Besides, its only been two years (and I am pretty sure it will be out this holiday season with an announcement at BlizzCon)... That is nothing in Blizzard game development time.

        • So it's a professional sport in Korea, and that means ... what exactly for Blizzard?

          Do you think that ... whatever company makes footballs could exist only on the ones sold for NFL games? Maybe a bad example since those balls will probably cost more than the eggs you can buy in your local sports store, but those "pro gamers" from Korea do not pay a single cent more for the game.

      • Why you ask? Because there is a chance you can lose your IP if you do not actively protect it.
      • by rm999 ( 775449 )

        There are two things I can think of. First, Blizzard can clearly make a lot of profit from Starcraft II, probably with a better profit margin than the industry average. If they can't afford the man-power, they can can afford to hire more people and still make an above-average profit.

        Second, the value of the brand will begin decreasing at some point, at least in the US. Starcraft came out ten years ago, and many of its original fans are now in their 30s and won't have time for new games. Blizzard may be losi

    • by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @01:06PM (#27807171)
      Um, dude? Blizzard is a big company. You know, multiple teams of developers, working on different and unrelated titles? A legal team that has jack and squat to do with development? They're not just some five-man mod team that's getting distracted with flame wars.

      And before anyone claims that they should funnel developers from WoW to SC2, you're on Slashdot. That means you should know that faster development isn't a matter of shoving more developers into a meat grinder of code.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by narfspoon ( 1376395 )

        ...getting distracted with flame wars.

        RIP Tseric []

      • Microsoft did that, they shoveled developers from the Mac group to Vista so they could get Vista out on time, which delayed Mac Office. That didn't work so well.

        Apple did the same thing to get the iPhone out on time, which delayed the Mac OS release.

    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      Um, they are working on Starcraft 2. They have always taken forever to release a game...polishing it like crazy. As far as the ghost thing went, that wasn't their fault. The other company working on it screwed it up massively. By the time it came back to Blizzard, the whole thing was scrapped because it was so dated being developed for the last gen consoles. I think your assumption that they only care about WoW is off. They just take a long time perfecting their games.
      • Yes, that's something of a minor problem with Blizzard. Although they never push out a game before its ready (like Age of Conan). On the other hand, taking a very long time making a game is a) going to be expensive and b) the technology to play on is constantly changing. And when you've finally put the product on the street, there's still no guarantee that it'll be a success. That said, I'm going to buy SC2
      • I'm still waiting for Warcraft Adventures. :-)
    • The fscking game has was announce over two years ago.

      And I'd be happy if they took 2 more years on it if they felt they needed to. You know why? Because I want it to be good enough that I'm still playing it in 2020, just like the original Starcraft was good enough that it's still fun to play now.

  • From Blizzard's point of view, is it really worth going after? If they put out an official iPhone client, a lot of people are going to drop the (at worst) buggy and (at best) unsupported unofficial clients for the latest and greatest Blizzard one. It's worth more to them to keep their customers happy then to be The Source for an iPhone ap that they'll like;y not even break even on developing and maintaining (since clients themselves are usually, what, free?), unless they plan on charging an arm and a leg

    • These aren't clients. WoW Characters is on my iPhone. It's a handy app for checking the WoW Armory. I can't think of a single reason why Blizz should tell this free app to stop, nor can I think of any possible or valid legal or civil grounds to do so. Fuck Blizzard for this, the fucking assholes.
    • Judging from my past experiences with, I'd hope they let the alternate sites/software stay up. WowArmory seems to break itself on scripting and suffer lag/loading issues over the years. Whenever it acts up, I just use or other sites that take snapshots of the real WowArmory. It's not "cheating" or "hacking server/character data". But it's a lifesaver when I need to lookup info on a character and the official site is sluggish. Same thing can be said for the offical WoW forum
  • Officer: "Do you realize how fast you were going?"

    40-Year Old Virgin: "But officer!! I was two hits from leveling up my Wizard and I didn't have time to stop for the light!!!"

  • Blizzard is welcome to do with its property whatever it pleases.
    In a way Blizzard is no different than the NFL. Heck, the NFL does not let people play with the game statistics halting fantasy league applications.
    Fans have to remember that they are just the consumers of someone else's product. It is not about sports. It is not about role playing. It is simply a product that is sold on the market. All you do is buy into it.

  • It's the old story of open approach vs closed one.

    I like WoW because it allows me to play it the way I want, but other players hate me because thanks to this I have an advantage over them.

    WoW is trying to balance this, but in the pursuit of making more people happy they are limiting others.

    • There's a line they cross though.

      A 3rd-party mod that helps you do better damage rotations or gives a raid warning when deep breaths occur or an opponent's PVP trinket is on cooldown is different from an iPhone app that checks

      Game mods that directly influence playing the game versus meta-gaming mods that sort information outside the wow servers. And then you have stuff like Auctioneer that sort of straddles both sides.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        And the real solution to this is to make different server settings for different communities.

        What? There are people who enjoy the idea of botting? Let them run bots of Gnomergan. What? There are people who hate all mods? Okay, no mods on Onyxia. What? There are people who want death to be permanent? Okay, death kills you for good on Deadmines.


  • And Why.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by anlprb ( 130123 )

    Is the Apple silo so vaulted for the iphone? Isn't this what the Android model can help avoid? Sure, you won't get the program in the marketplace, but you sure can host it in another country where the C&D doesn't mean much and keep on innovating. Umm... Unless Blizzard forgot, these are people who are making free publicity and advertising for their pay application. Wouldn't you want to "integrate" the app into someone's life to ensure that when the time comes to cut the budget in the household, that

  • OK so... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:07PM (#27808633)

    Say I write an app that does not use or distrubute any Blizzard content, nor does it use their API. The app does not use "Warcraft" in the name. It might store, calculate or reproduce information related to Wow that I have originated or collected solely from non-Blizzard sources that have already OK'd my use of it.
    I cannot see how Blizzard can have any legal case to stop me selling my app.
    That would be like McDonalds having a legal right to prevent me from selling my own original hamburger recipe, even though I have never worked for, or signed anything with, McDonalds.

    • Say I write an app that does not use or distrubute any Blizzard content... It might store, calculate or reproduce information related to Wow that I have originated or collected solely from non-Blizzard sources

      Where did those "non-Blizzard sources" get their data?
      If the data is about one's character(s), then the data is directly related to and covered by agreements with Blizzard. Would you like to bet that all third party sources for in-game information have an agreement with Blizzard stating that Blizzard

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        What happens if the person that wrote the app never installed wow or even played wow? Admittedly unlikely but that would mean they could not have accepted or even saw a licencing agreement, as its only a click-through when you install/play.
        Actually I thought that the whole click-through EULA thing had already been legally undermined years ago.

        • That is irrelevant. The will also be licenses for the data used by the websites the application accesses. The idea is that Blizzard controls access and distribution of the data that makes up the game.

          I suggested looking at the game EULA as it will have a lot of the same restriction on distribution of data.

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      If your app has information (e.g. stats etc) about a "giant battleaxe of doom" (or whatever), no matter where YOU got it from, ultimately the source of the info has to be from the game itself.

  • The day Blizzard dies (all companies eventually fall to newer, better competitors) I will not shed a tear. It's sad to me that such an arrogant, litigation happy, customer-bashing company has succeeded as well as it has to this point.
  • why is blizzard so cold? With all the open source development whether it be googles sketchup, or microsoft xna free developing resources, open source is def the way of the future. But blizzard is obviously retarted like many big companies today. can someone please slap me cause im going crazy with all these big companies doing what they want?
  • by phlegmboy ( 1067452 ) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @07:21PM (#27810441)
    Blizzard does not have a clue about customer relations. I play Eve Online and there are a number of player developed applications such as Evemon and Eve Fitting Tool which not only have the name of the game in their title but make use of an API system developed by CCP that allows these apps to connect to the servers and get information such as currently training skills, assets and their locations, the status of research or ship, module or ammunition building jobs, etc. CCP also release a database which contains information on all the ships, modules, etc so that people that create the player made apps can have the correct information for the modules and ships, such as their bonuses, etc. The whole idea is to work with your player base rather than be a bunch of whiny bitches like Blizzard. Players will always try to create apps based around their MMOG. Blizzard should wake up to this and work with their player base (although I bet most of the "players" are nothing more than gold farmers), instead of against it.
    • "Blizzard should wake up to this and work with their player base (although I bet most of the "players" are nothing more than gold farmers), instead of against it."

      Oh yeah, that makes perfect sense. There's a small base of legitimate players paying the salaries of millions of gold farmers.

      Let's guess 30 cents an hour per worker (just a guess), and the account is used 24 hours a day in shifts, so... $7.20 in wages per day. I'll assume by "most", that you meant 75% of the players are gold farmers, and b
    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      Uh huh, right. Have they allowed you to change your skills from a website yet? Have they allowed you to queue multiple skills yet? Really, they have to do whatever they can to keep customers. They only have what...60k active subscribers? And they do plenty to piss off the players by either catering to the casuals, catering to the hardcore, helping players cheat, etc. And how many Eve players are actually just bots doing tedious tasks like mining?
    • Blizzard does not have a clue about customer relations.

      Their number of subscribers and customers would lead me to believe otherwise.

      There are plenty of websites out there that have all the information you could ever want about WoW, and then some. Besides, Blizzard doesn't need to outsource development of secondary apps to amateur developers, because they have extremely talented developers in house that can do a much better job. Also, you completely ignore the fact that Blizzard provides a scripting language for users to completely customize their GUI (too bad

  • The first person that manages to multi-box 5 iPhones running Shamans through arenas wins at WoW.

  • I find it really sad, I would have liked to have tried glidder, it would have made my life simpler, but now I can't even get an Iphone app that at least let's me know when my AH item has been sold...or when I should log on, before I lose that email someone sent me a while back....sheesh.

  • I think it's a means by Blizzard to make sure the general public isn't making money off of any of their products, especially WoW. I don't agree however with their decision and I believe that fans making iPhone apps would only increase the overall popularity of WoW or other Blizzard games.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.