M2 Research senior analyst Billy Pidgeon firmly believes that Blizzard will finally reveal its much-rumored next-gen MMO -- codenamed "Titan" -- next month at BlizzCon 2011. There's no solid proof that this big reveal will actually take place, but there's talk that Blizzard is under pressure to deliver something big before the end of the year now that Diablo 3 has slipped into a Q1 2012 release window, and EA's Star Wars: The Old Republic is officially arriving on store shelves this December.
"If they are holding any juicy details, it's going to be announced at BlizzCon," Pidgeon said. "The big news is probably going to be a Diablo 3 date and a possible new announcement about one or more new properties."
Now that Diablo 3 is essentially out in the open, Blizzard doesn't have anything to really "wow" gamers with other than additional coverage of StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm and possibly content from the next World of Warcraft expansion pack. Revealing "Titan" at BlizzCon 2011 would seemingly take the focus off Diablo 3's delay and the impending Star Wars MMOG.
Previous reports have indicated that "Titan" will be a new casual MMO based on a completely new IP, but it will be more complimentary rather than competitive in regards to Blizzard's other MMOG, World of Warcraft. A leaked Blizzard roadmap also showed that the game is slated for a Q4 2013 release alongside the fifth World of Warcraft expansion pack.
"While people do have a limited amount of free time that they can devote to these types of games, we do think that people will want to check out the new and the old," said Blizzard COO Paul Sams. "We think the new one is very compelling and is going to capture a lot of hearts and minds and will be very successful for us."
While competing MMORPGs have added free-to-play, microtransaction-based models to their service lineup (City of Heroes, EverQuest 2, DDO, etc), Blizzard has yet to address this demographic with World of Warcraft. The closest its come to this model is with the release of a "demo" Starter Edition which allows gamers to play World of Warcraft for free, but limitations include a level cap of 20, a maximum of 10 gold, the inability to trade in the Auction House and more.
Will the casual "Titan" MMO address the free-to-play market? If Pidgeon is right and Blizzard plans to reveal the game during BlizzCon 2011, we'll find out all the juicy details on October 21 - 22.