Battle.net and a loyal community seem to be keeping piracy at bay.
Michael Ryder, vice president and executive managing director for Blizzard’s international operations, seems to indicate that Blizzard isn't too worried about piracy. In fact, the company believes there's enough incentives in the just-released StarCraft II for would-be thieves to actually shell out cash for the new PC game.
But Ryder also gives credit to the Blizzard community, saying that the loyal fans have helped "starve off" the threat of piracy. Thanks to localized versions of Battle.net, the company has reached out to fourteen different territories, building a massive, world-wide community that actually wants to purchase their products.
Of course, Blizzard's new version of Battle.net helps fend of piracy too.
"The Battle.net solution provides several things," he said in an interview. "It provides better continuity for the players and it gives them a stronger way to participate in an overall Blizzard community. But what also goes hand-in-hand with the Battle.net solution is that we work really hard to offer a tailored, regional business model, so it reduces the incentives to go to a pirated solution."
Another security blanket for Blizzard could be World of Warcraft--currently the MMORPG has enslaved 11.5 million subscribers worldwide. Blizzard also generated $1.2 billion in revenue in 2009 alone--a large chunk apparently stemming from WoW--without releasing a new game or expansion pack.
"For World of Warcraft we have been able to work well around the piracy issue and we think we’ll be able to do the same with StarCraft II," he said.
Outside the piracy issue, Ryder discusses Blizzard's relationship with Activision, the company's (obvious) support for retail sales, and possibly resuming development for consoles. To read the full interview, head here.