Is it actually true that Blizzard Entertainment will make enormous amounts of money on the 5th edition of BlizzCon?

On: September 10, 2010
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About Bart Brodzki
My name is Bartłomiej Jan Brodzki. I was born in Warsaw, Poland, in June 1987. I am interested in both The Arts and computers since early childhood, and as soon as I got my first machine, I started combining the above, creating a fusion between what I love and new technology. Still, being a designer and a visual artist did not prevent me from taking a deeper insight into other forms of art. Following, I started painting graffiti, created sketches, learned stone-carving and got my first analog camera. I also learned the basics of web design, as well as simple animation. After writing the Polish A-levels I finished one year of Social Psychology in English at SWPS which is a well known and respected academy in Warsaw. Since then, my life changed drastically and I moved to UK and started a Media Studies programme at the University of Derby, where after three years of education I received a 2:1 bachelors degree. During my studies I focused mainly on the listed topics: Social Psychology, Biological Mechanisms of Human Behavior, Logics and Philosophy, Academic Writing, Statistics Packages, Photography in the Media, Digital Publishing, Mass Media in Contemporary Context, Media Research, Audience Research Project, Print Production, Photography and Photojournalism, Image Music Sound, Cultural Studies and Media Culture, Conflicting Images, Print Media Production, Ethics and Creativity, Contesting Cultures. My bachelors thesis was on Logo design, and its ability to adapt to the flexible world of mass media. During studies I also had a chance to work with people from the industry. For the module called work experience I rebranded a visual art company called Harlequin Display, working both in UK and Germany, additionally creating leaflets, posters, and a website. I also learned basics of management via the module called Management Experience in creative and Cultural Industries. I based my paper for this module on my work experience from two advertising agencies: Ad Fabrika+DRAFT FCB which is a medium sized firm, and the Polish branch of a French advertising giant called PUBLICIS. I also work as a freelance graphic artist, where I create leaflets and packaging for drugs and medicine. My hobbies are: Historical reconstruction (both X-XII and XV century), sword-fighting, Gaming (focusing on PS3 and computer MMO games). Sports I played are: Tennis, Swimming, Skateboarding, Basketball, Football and Judo. Recently I had an honour to join the University of Amsterdam (UvA) Masters in New Media programme, where I am planning to combine my colorful past with the everchanging world of New Media.

Website
http://www.bbrodzkiart.blogspot.com/    

Blizzard Entertainment is a major publisher and developer of games and entertainment software. This American conglomerate, placed in California, is behind multiple ‘game of the year’ awards. Additionally it is also the owner and creator of battle.net, world’s first and largest online gaming service covering millions of users all around the world [1]. It is no lie the company did drastically change since it was founded by three UCLA students, and was reshaped and merged with other companies numerous times. We can assume though, that it keeps a similar structure since the period between launching Diablo and Diablo II, as in years 1998-99 the company started acquiring smaller gaming companies.

Each month Blizzard Entertainment generates enormous amounts of money. Approximately eleven and a half million users of World of Warcraft [2], plus more than three million users of Starcraft II [3] paying monthly around $15 to play the games, makes a total of around 2 billion dollars per month. Except the income provided by battle.net, the company receives money from game development and an online store selling various goods at prices from ten to hundred dollars. Blizzard also hosts events such as Gaming Tournaments and BlizzCon. In recent years, total income of the game conglomerate increased to 4.2 billion dollars, from an amount of 1.5 billion in year 2007 [4].
BlizzCon is one off the major events organized by Blizzard Entertainment. It is a convention of fans of Blizzard’s most played games, including live and multimedia shows, contests, concerts, and gameplay of the companies’ upcoming titles. In years 2005-2008 the price for a BlizzCon ticket was $100, but  in 2009 changed to $125 per person, and kept rising to $150 for the future in 2010. The previous convention of gamers attracted 20,000 people, generating via internet sales at least 2.5 million dollars in less than 8 minutes [5].
The upcoming event will take place in October 22-23 in Anaheim, and will host the same amount of people as the 2009 BlizzCon. Since both batches of the available tickets were out in June, this year’s BlizzCon produced 3 million dollars from ticket sale only, not counting the money coming from BlizzCon streaming subscription which costs $39.95 and allows to watch the event via Internet [6].
On the other hand Blizzard with all its sub-divisions has many expenses related to its multi-platform based structure. It has to pay for content and production, administration and maintenance, as well as advertising and promotion. Moreover it has to pay taxes, fees and licensing in America, Europe and Asia. Moreover it has to pay for the servers on each of the continents in which it operates. While focusing on the upcoming BlizzCon, there are even more expenses for the company, as Blizzard announced money prizes for the winners of contests and tournaments. Additionally hiring a world famous legend of rock, Ozzy Osbourne, will tighten the budget of people organizing the event.

The money Blizzard Entertainment generates via BlizzCon is incomparable to the money it spends monthly on all of its projects. Following the above facts, the presented situation is far more complex than multiplying $150 times the number of attendees. Still, the numbers generated by the game conglomerate’s event can be counted  in millions, but while compared to its total revenue of 4.2 billion a year the profit coming from BlizzCon is less than 1%. I believe that the convention itself it made for promotion of Blizzard’s products and the entertainment of fans rather than as companies’ money generator.

[1] http://eu.blizzard.com/en-gb/company/about/faq.html
[2] http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/press/pressreleases.html?081121
[3] http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/press/pressreleases.html?100901
[4] http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/ATVI/financials
[5] http://news.bigdownload.com/2009/08/06/20-000-tickets-sold-for-blizzcon-2009-sold-out-in-just-eight-mi/
[6] http://www.wow.com/tag/blizzcon-tickets/

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