Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Success Does Not Equal Quality

For whatever reason thing that aren't very good become popular from time to time. Sometimes this is temporary and a backlash happens, and whatever it was is seen for what it really was all along. Others seem immune to any kind of backlash, and continue to make money for years. It is the successful low quality products, and the makers thereof, that are getting some attention today.

McDonald's might be the most successful restaurant on planet. It can be found in many countries around the world, and the company as a whole makes millions of dollars a day. That is all great for them. However, the food leaves much to be desired. The food is rather bland, is objectively bad for you, and the quality of the ingredients are a subject of debate. While no "fast food" is great, some of it is better than others, so why does one of the worst remain at the top? It is cheap, it is familiar, it is everywhere. How it got to this point is hard to say, one might assume they were better in the past than now.

Blizzard was great back about 15 years ago. Now they seem to be completely devoid of any original ideas, or even the smallest amount of innovation. They seem to be getting rather lazy, as if they think their brand alone is enough. Two releases of this company make me question the quality of there work. Both are extremely popular, but this popularity seems grossly undeserved. The releases in question are World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2.

The first is World of Warcraft, the Fisher Price of the MMORPG world. It is a very simple game, that seems to almost play itself. When it came out in 2004 it had almost nothing in the way of innovation. It was then, and is now, a much oversimplified game. Nothing is ever really a challenge, and therefore you never feel as if you accomplished anything. While simple design can be a wonderful thing, when you are paying a monthly fee to play, one comes to expect something more. Everything in the game comes with so little effort it never really feels like you are out of a tutorial. However most World of Warcraft fans don't expect more, and are happy to pay for the worlds longest running game tutorial. 

The other release that seems lacking is Starcraft 2, but for very different reasons than World of Warcraft. Starcraft 2 came out 12 years after the first game, the first game being mind blowing back in 1998. When Starcraft 2 came out in 2010, it had a somewhat interesting single player campaign, and multiplayer that was almost unchanged from the first game.  After over a decade of time it is time for something new, not just an old game with better resolution. If the multiplayer should have offered something new, something that would be as mind blowing today as the original was in 1998.

In the end we will never know why lazy and low quality products sometimes become grand successes. it is a matter of taste to some degree. Like the old saying goes "there is no accounting for taste". However, when the something lack luster makes money it leads to more of the same coming form others sources trying to emulate that success.


  1. i love blizzard and always will just for diablo II and WoW. that doesn't mean i will always like their games tho :b
    and McDonalds is a hit or miss for me hah

  2. clearly you've never played sc2 then, it has online MP functions not seen in any other game before or since. It's ladder machmaking system is the single best match making system ever created.