Anyone who plays Starcraft, World of Warcraft or Diablo online will likely need to change their passwords soon, as Blizzard (ATVI) on Thursday acknowledged that millions of its users’ Battle.net accounts have been hacked. In a question-and-answer session posted on its official website, Blizzard said that users’ email addresses, secret security question answers, cryptographically-scrambled passwords and other key information was stolen by an unidentified hacker. Blizzard said that it has seen no evidence yet to suggest that this information has been used by the hacker, or that the hacker had shared the information with any third parties. All the same, the company is encouraging its users to change their passwords as soon as possible. More →
Blizzard on Wednesday announced that Diablo III sold 3.5 million copies in its first 24 hours of availability, making it the fastest-selling PC game of all time. In addition, another 1.2 million copies were given to World of Warcraft users who signed up for Blizzard’s Annual Pass. Based on the company’s internal numbers and data from key distribution partners, Blizzard estimates that more than 6.3 million copies of its hack-and-slash role playing game were sold during its first week of availability. “We’re definitely thrilled that so many people around the world were excited to pick up their copy of Diablo III and jump in the moment it went live,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, who went on to apologize for the instability many players faced when attempting to log into the Diablo III servers on launch day. “I want to reaffirm our commitment to make sure the millions of Diablo III players out there have a great experience with the game moving forward, and I also want to thank them for their ongoing support.” Blizzard’s press release follows below. More →
The world’s most subscribed-to MMORPG may be coming soon to a mobile device near you. World of Warcraft’s senior producer John Lagrave sat down with Eurogamer to discuss the future of the ever-changing gaming industry. “Maybe we’ll stumble on the great way to put WOW on the phone – maybe we won’t, but we’re certainly looking into it,” Lagrave said. “We won’t do it until we think it’s decent. But it’s interesting and the world is evolving towards [the iPhone]. It would be foolish for any game developer to not be looking at that.” Having a large game such as WoW ported to a touch-based mobile device wouldn’t come without its fair share of problems. As Gameloft’s Order & Chaos has shown, however, MMORPGs are definitely doable on portable devices. Blizzard’s only WoW app for the time being is called Mobile Armory, and it only allows users to view a character’s armor and manage auctions. “What we’ve done with WOW on mobile devices is very simplistic: view the armory, you check your auctions,” Lagrave said. “When we have an epiphany, everyone will know. But for now, no epiphany!” More →
Blizzard on Thursday announced that its highly anticipated follow-up to the hit game Diablo II will be available on May 15th. Digital copies of Diablo III can be pre-ordered starting Thursday for $59.99. The game’s story picks up twenty years after its predecessor, and a new generation of heroes must now face the forces of evil. Players will be able to choose from a barbarian, a monk, a demon hunter, a witch doctor and a wizard. Blizzard’s fast-paced hack and slash action role-playing game will be available at retailers throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. The digital version will be available in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Brazil as well, but gamers in Latin American countries and Russia will have to wait until June 7th. Read on for Blizzard’s press release. More →
Activision on Tuesday announced Call of Duty Elite, a new social network-style experience that will allow Call of Duty players to interact with one another in an entirely different way. The social network has three pillars: connect, compete, and improve. “Connect” will allow users to compete against friends, join groups, find players with similar interests, and enter tournaments. Activision will provide both web and mobile interfaces for managing your Call of Duty information from multiple devices. “Compete” will allow players to enter events and competitions with other players that have similar abilities, and Activision promises real world and in-game prizes. “Improve,” will provide users with a strategy guide to help them bump their gaming skills by following their performance and ongoing statistics. “The average Call of Duty player spends 58 minutes per day playing multiplayer,” Activision Publishing CEO, Eric Hirshberg, said. “That is more than the average Facebook user spends per day on Facebook. And yet, right now, there are very few tools to unite and super charge that social community. Whether it’s allowing you to connect with your friends, or people of a similar skill level, people who live in your city, people who share your favorite passions, join competitive clans or social groups, or upload, view and comment on the incredible mass of player-generated content, or watch and comment on exclusive created content, Call of Duty Elite will give people more ways to connect with fellow players than ever before.” Most features will be free, although a premium package will also be available. The service will enter public beta with Call of Duty: Black Ops this summer and will launch on November 8th with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Hit the jump for the full release and a demo video.
It turns out Verizon Wireless may be in more hot water as a result of the 10,000 emergency 9-1-1 calls the carrier dropped during a blizzard last month. The Federal Communications Commission recently called for an investigation into the massive network failure that left thousands of Maryland residents with no way to reach police and other emergency services. One such resident was 94-year-old Carmela D’Antuono, whose house caught fire when nearby transformers exploded during the snowstorm. D’Antuono, who was trapped inside her home as it burned, was rescued by neighbors who took matters into their own hands when police and fire fighters could not be reached. “It was scary. It makes you think when a disaster like this happens. I know that was a pretty scary night. There were a lot of things going on, but it makes you want to hope that you can get a hold of help when you really need it,” one of D’Antuono’s neighbors said. Hit the break for video report from a local Fox affiliate. More →
Activision announced Tuesday the third major record-breaking milestone achieved by its recent smash hit, Call of Duty: Black Ops. The latest addition to Activision’s Call of Duty franchise first set a new launch-day sales record when it racked up $360 million in first-day sales. Then Activision bested its previous five-day sales record when Black Ops did $650 million in sales over its first five days of availability. Now, Activision has announced that its massively popular first-person shooter pulled in over $1 billion in less than a month. “In all of entertainment, only Call of Duty and “Avatar” have ever achieved the billion dollar revenue milestone this quickly,” said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in a statement. “This is a tribute to the global appeal of the Call of Duty franchise, the exceptional talent at Treyarch and the hundreds of extraordinary people across our many Call of Duty studios including Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer that work tirelessly on the franchise. Our ability to provide the most compelling, immersive entertainment experience, and enhance it with regular, recurring content that delivers hundreds of hours of audience value, has allowed Call of Duty to continue to set sales and usage records.” Hit the break for the full press release from Activision. More →
Blizzard Entertainment announced Monday that its new title World of Warcraft: Cataclysm sold 3.3 million copies on its first day of availability. The game’s remarkable sales pace shatters the previous record for opening day sales of a PC game, which was also held by a Blizzard title; World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King launched on November 13th, 2008 and sold 2.8 million copies in its first 24 hours of availability. “We had to bring Azeroth to the brink of destruction in Cataclysm, but the result was our best expansion yet,” Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaim said in a statement. “We want to thank all of our new, existing, and returning players throughout the world for their incredible enthusiasm and support, and we look forward to hearing what they think about all the new content.” Cataclysm is the latest addition to the extremely popular World of Warcraft series, which is one of the most popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) franchises in history. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Following one of the largest leaks in game developer history, Blizzard China General Manager Ye Weilun has left the company for reasons that have not been revealed. The leak, which occurred last week, included a bevy of sensitive information such as confidential financial data and budgets, personal subscriber data and the company’s product roadmap for the next four years. The roadmap, shown above, reveals Blizzard’s timeline for upcoming releases like the third and fourth installments of the company’s popular World of Warcraft franchise, the third Diablo game and a new title called Titan. Blizzard’s leaked financial data and its subscriber database are rumored to have been delivered to one or more of the company’s competitors. Former sales director of Nokia China Dai Jinhe has replaced Weilun as General Manager of Blizzard China.
[Via MMOGameSite.com] More →
When Activision released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 last year, it set an all time record for launch day sales. The highly anticipated first person shooter sold 4.7 million copies in its first day of availability, amounting to $310 million in sales. Earlier this week, Activision released the latest title in the Call of Duty franchise and the gaming behemoth somehow managed to best itself. On launch day alone, 5.6 million copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops were sold in the U.S. and U.K., amounting to $360 million in retail sales. Activision said it was also on pace to break the $550 million five-day sales record it set last year with Modern Warfare 2. “The game’s success underscores the pop culture appeal of the brand,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement. “Call of Duty: Black Ops is the finest game that Treyarch has ever made and raises the bar for online gameplay by delivering the deepest and most intense Call of Duty experience yet.” More →