Budgets and Profits.

General Discussion
From what I can see, people's justification (and primary defense) of loot boxes is that they are assisting Blizzard in developing more things for the game. I wish to disprove this.

To do this, I'd like to go back to the beginning, the very blueprint of Overwatch...Project Titan. As many of you are aware, Titan was to be a FPS MMO. Most, if not all of the assets in Overwatch are from Titan.

However, after ~$50 million was spent in development, the project was scrapped. A rare failure from Blizzard, and it seemed that it would join the ranks of Starcraft: Ghost.

This wasn't the case.

Blizzard has never publicly stated the development cost of Overwatch, but a healthy estimate is between $55 million to $140 million. I mean, a lot of the assets are already there! You just need to change the code and apply the assets in a different way.

From the ruins of failure, Overwatch was born after a bit more budget. For the sake of my argument, I will be assuming it's in the $140 million range.

Overwatch became a huge success. It became Blizzard's biggest IP as of late and sold like hotcakes. In fact, 'Overwatch brought in more money than any other paid PC game in history'. (Source: https://www.vg247.com/2016/12/22/overwatch-brought-in-more-money-than-any-other-paid-pc-game-in-2016/ )

Overwatch overtook titans like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Minecraft, generating $585.6 million in revenue. This amounts to over 10 percent of the entire premium PC market, worth $5.4 billion.


So, if we're using the $140 million blueprint, we can safely say that on PC sales alone, Overwatch has made a profit totaling around four times the development cost. This article was posted at the end of 2016.

Within March 2017, Blizzard's overall revenue with Overwatch breaks $1 billion. Again, with the $140 million development cost we're going with, that is nearly nine times the development cost as profit.

It's unknown how much money is made off of the microtransactions. Attempts to find this information has failed. However, I'd like to share this tidbit from Blizzard Activision's message to shareholders:

During the first quarter, we prepaid $500 million of our long term loan. Also, the company declared a cash dividend of #0.30 per common share to be paid on May 10th to shareholders of record of the close of business on March 30, 2017.


(Source:http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/ACTI/4454099606x0x941187/1EAB2D82-EEE6-40CC-B411-E02F6817700B/Q1_2017_ATVI_Press_Release.pdf )

Hot dog! Sounds like all that 'development money' is going to people that aren't involved in the development! That's a shock!

There's a reason a lot of the development for Overwatch is focused around loot boxes and microtransactions: People eat it up. People want to look unique, and the game doesn't provide a lot of ways to do that for you outside of excessive playing time. Time vs. Money, and Blizzard Activision REALLY hopes you go for the latter.

Development for Overwatch isn't continuing because you paid for loot boxes. It's continuing because it's making a massive profit. Your money isn't going to the Blizzard devs. It's going to Blizzard Activision's head honchos to pay off debts and reward shareholders.

I don't know how much money goes to Blizzard development. Again, that information isn't available to me, but considering that we have received a very, very small amount of actual content and a very large amount of loot box cosmetics...I'm assuming it's not much.

Hell, bugs from Beta are still in the game today. Balance issues that have been obvious to everyone still plague the game to this day. The development time is extremely slow for a game that is so successful.

If anyone has any information as to how much money goes to Blizz devs, or the profits of microtransactions alone, feel free to let me know. This information alone, however, convinces me that your loot box money isn't helping much, if at all.

I mean, it's lining some executive's pockets. That much is certain.
05/24/2017 07:58 AMPosted by HavelTheRock
Most, if not all of the assets in Overwatch are from Titan.


Stopped reading there. You are objectively full of crap and you should do your homework better next time
05/24/2017 08:14 AMPosted by Mirkea
05/24/2017 07:58 AMPosted by HavelTheRock
Most, if not all of the assets in Overwatch are from Titan.


Stopped reading there. You are objectively full of crap and you should do your homework better next time


Except it's been publicly stated that assets from Titan were used in Overwatch.

If you'd like to say that's wrong...I'm sorry.
it's wrong to use their profits as an excuse to get free sh1t. If you work at a huge firm as a sales rep, you dont ask your boss:"Hey chef, Gimme €5k per month in stead of €2k. Coz the owner is on forbes list with top billionaires, you can miss a few extra thousand, I'm sure"

And to people buying boxes to 'help' Blizzard, you're not helping. You're helping them to continue this business model.
05/24/2017 08:17 AMPosted by Eddimame
it's wrong to use their profits as an excuse to get free sh1t. If you work at a huge firm as a sales rep, you dont ask your boss:"Hey chef, Gimme €5k per month in stead of €2k. Coz the owner is on forbes list with top billionaires, you can miss a few extra thousand, I'm sure"

And to people buying boxes to 'help' Blizzard, you're not helping. You're helping them to continue this business model.


I didn't say anything should be free. Earned, sure, but I'm not asking for handouts.

I'm flat out saying people purchasing microtransactions are not helping the development as much as they think they are. I didn't say a single thing about receiving anything.
05/24/2017 07:58 AMPosted by HavelTheRock
From what I can see, people's justification (and primary defense) of loot boxes is that they are assisting Blizzard in developing more things for the game. I wish to disprove this.

To do this, I'd like to go back to the beginning, the very blueprint of Overwatch...Project Titan. As many of you are aware, Titan was to be a FPS MMO. Most, if not all of the assets in Overwatch are from Titan.

However, after ~$50 million was spent in development, the project was scrapped. A rare failure from Blizzard, and it seemed that it would join the ranks of Starcraft: Ghost.

This wasn't the case.

Blizzard has never publicly stated the development cost of Overwatch, but a healthy estimate is between $55 million to $140 million. I mean, a lot of the assets are already there! You just need to change the code and apply the assets in a different way.

From the ruins of failure, Overwatch was born after a bit more budget. For the sake of my argument, I will be assuming it's in the $140 million range.

Overwatch became a huge success. It became Blizzard's biggest IP as of late and sold like hotcakes. In fact, 'Overwatch brought in more money than any other paid PC game in history'. (Source: https://www.vg247.com/2016/12/22/overwatch-brought-in-more-money-than-any-other-paid-pc-game-in-2016/ )

Overwatch overtook titans like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Minecraft, generating $585.6 million in revenue. This amounts to over 10 percent of the entire premium PC market, worth $5.4 billion.


So, if we're using the $140 million blueprint, we can safely say that on PC sales alone, Overwatch has made a profit totaling around four times the development cost. This article was posted at the end of 2016.

Within March 2017, Blizzard's overall revenue with Overwatch breaks $1 billion. Again, with the $140 million development cost we're going with, that is nearly nine times the development cost as profit.

It's unknown how much money is made off of the microtransactions. Attempts to find this information has failed. However, I'd like to share this tidbit from Blizzard Activision's message to shareholders:

During the first quarter, we prepaid $500 million of our long term loan. Also, the company declared a cash dividend of #0.30 per common share to be paid on May 10th to shareholders of record of the close of business on March 30, 2017.


(Source:http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/ACTI/4454099606x0x941187/1EAB2D82-EEE6-40CC-B411-E02F6817700B/Q1_2017_ATVI_Press_Release.pdf )

Hot dog! Sounds like all that 'development money' is going to people that aren't involved in the development! That's a shock!

There's a reason a lot of the development for Overwatch is focused around loot boxes and microtransactions: People eat it up. People want to look unique, and the game doesn't provide a lot of ways to do that for you outside of excessive playing time. Time vs. Money, and Blizzard Activision REALLY hopes you go for the latter.

Development for Overwatch isn't continuing because you paid for loot boxes. It's continuing because it's making a massive profit. Your money isn't going to the Blizzard devs. It's going to Blizzard Activision's head honchos to pay off debts and reward shareholders.

I don't know how much money goes to Blizzard development. Again, that information isn't available to me, but considering that we have received a very, very small amount of actual content and a very large amount of loot box cosmetics...I'm assuming it's not much.

Hell, bugs from Beta are still in the game today. Balance issues that have been obvious to everyone still plague the game to this day. The development time is extremely slow for a game that is so successful.

If anyone has any information as to how much money goes to Blizz devs, or the profits of microtransactions alone, feel free to let me know. This information alone, however, convinces me that your loot box money isn't helping much, if at all.

I mean, it's lining some executive's pockets. That much is certain.


How do you think blizzard would justify to these shareholders keeping multiple teams developing content for the game? Of course most of the money is going to other places to the development team directly. Does anybody not know this?
05/24/2017 08:24 AMPosted by omnic
How do you think blizzard would justify to these shareholders keeping multiple teams developing content for the game? Of course most of the money is going to other places to the development team directly. Does anybody not know this?


Tell that to the scores of people saying, "My money is helping the development of Overwatch!"

As I said in my opening statement, that is the most common defense used for this microtransaction system.
I don't know if what you said is true, we don't have any proof but I will agree on the fact that for a game as successful as overwatch development time is indeed slow.

And I'm not talking about new maps/heroes, I'm talking about balance, matchmaking, bugs...
Its not all about profits to further development. Blizzard has to make profits to keep shareholders happy as well. They could steal !@#$ us over a little less though.
05/24/2017 08:17 AMPosted by Eddimame
it's wrong to use their profits as an excuse to get free sh1t. If you work at a huge firm as a sales rep, you dont ask your boss:"Hey chef, Gimme €5k per month in stead of €2k. Coz the owner is on forbes list with top billionaires, you can miss a few extra thousand, I'm sure"

And to people buying boxes to 'help' Blizzard, you're not helping. You're helping them to continue this business model.


I think the point he is trying to make is that the development of this game is not living paycheck to paycheck like many of the people think.

I'm inclined to agree. The amount of revenue this game has pulled in is astronomical. They can afford to give us a few free skins every now and then.

People forget that over 30 million people have purchased this game. If even 1% of them buy two lootboxes, that's over a half-million dollars right there.
When I buy loot boxes, my justification to myself is that it's supporting the development of the game. If that's true or not, to me it doesn't matter, as it's a personal decision I make. My thought process has always been:

- new event with skins and new game mode
- at end of event, did I get what I wanted?
- if no, I'll buy a few loot boxes as the event was fun, and I can justify this purchase because of that.

I think a lot of people have a similar mind set, but the difference here is that there isn't a proper new game mode to go along with the skins, so people are starting to question why they should buy loot boxes.
05/24/2017 08:25 AMPosted by HavelTheRock
05/24/2017 08:24 AMPosted by omnic
How do you think blizzard would justify to these shareholders keeping multiple teams developing content for the game? Of course most of the money is going to other places to the development team directly. Does anybody not know this?


Tell that to the scores of people saying, "My money is helping the development of Overwatch!"

As I said in my opening statement, that is the most common defense used for this microtransaction system.


Omnic is absolutely right. The same 'head honchos' you refer to in you're original post would be the first people to plug the plug on resources helping to create additional content for the game if it wasn't generating them some sort of passive income from the loot boxes. By having the microtransaction system present, at least the Overwatch team can justify investing the time and effort into developing new content and supporting the game's universe on an ongoing basis from a financial standpoint.

I think the other point to consider is that there is no advantage gained by buying loot boxes and it's a completely voluntary exercise, so nobody is losing out really. Although I do agree with you that some additional content should be earned. I think a good balance between content you can buy in loot boxes and content that is unclockable through some game progress metrics would please everyone.

I do understand what you mean in the sense that the Overwatch team have plenty of profits lying around and don't need the money, but without an ongoing form of income from the game, the bosses you refer to might be tempted to take all those profits and run as opposed to further investing in the franchise and possibly aiming for a sequel in the long-term, who knows?
In the end it doesn't matter. If people want to spend money on boxes it's their right to. If you feel it's evil in some way then don't do it. Let people do what they want with their money.
I did look for information as to how much funding the development gets, but unfortunately, that information is not available. I'd like to say a healthy amount goes to development, but the lack of permanent content and slow balance updates for a game trying so hard to be an esport contender? I have my doubts.

I mentioned this before, but I would be happier with the current system if you had a more reliable way to eventually craft what you want. The currency system mainly rewards those who do purchase loot boxes: They're the ones getting duplicates over duplicates.

Past level 100, it typically takes an hour of QP to gain a loot box. From that hour, you will likely receive maybe 20 Credits. Sometimes you get Credits directly, most of the time not.

Best case scenario, you get a Legendary duplicate and the 800 Legendary Credits. You'd need to get that three times to buy one of the new Legendary cosmetics being 'given' to the players.

It's a system made to prey on people's desire to look unique, and stand out from other players. Also to prey on their impatience. There's the source of my issue with it.

05/24/2017 08:42 AMPosted by Krojack
In the end it doesn't matter. If people want to spend money on boxes it's their right to. If you feel it's evil in some way then don't do it. Let people do what they want with their money.


By all means. It's your money, spend it how you please. I'm not your dad.

I will disagree wholeheartedly with how you spend it, but what you wish to purchase is up to you.
The problem with people complaining about things like this is they forget that Overwatch is a strictly multiplayer game, meaning that every single game mode is played on a multiplayer server, even vs AI, which teams you with players. The only exception is the practice range, and even that's still a possibility considering it kicks you after 45 minutes, or if you're afk. My point is it's not like it's free to host that many people at once, server upkeep and maintenance costs money. If they don't have a steady income, but have a steady cost to pay, they're just going to pull the plug. Everyone in the gaming business knows this, which is why we have PlayStation Plus and XBox Gold. Even Nintendo understands this, and they're going to start charging for online services soon. Even game specific servers like CoD have a bunch of DLC with them now so their customers can keep giving them money, some of of which goes to keeping the game alive. They can't just bank on initial game sales to sustain them indefinitely.

Honest comparison? Look at WoW. It costs a good chunk of money, the full 60 I believe, to play their newest expansion. Yet even after buying that, you still need to pay the monthly subscription in order to keep playing. Why is that, and how is it different than Overwatch to the point where people accept it? They do it because they need a steady income to keep the game up. And it's accepted just because it's the norm for MMO's, because every MMO requires that server cost. Once that cost starts cutting into their actual profits, they start shutting things down.

Now how is that different from Overwatch? They're taking away the subscription so you aren't forced to pay any extra, but they're incentivizing paying with the loot boxes. If they stop getting income, they will have two options. Force an income with either a subscription or DLC that must be paid for and can't be rewarded for playing, both of which are hated by the community and promised against from the devs. Or they'll just shut down the servers and keep their profits while they're ahead. Of course it's not like they're stripped for cash, but the moment they stop getting income, the clock starts ticking. Only so many people are going to buy the game.

TLDR: No income = Literally No more game. Overwatch isn't like your single player game where you pay once and it's there forever. Be happy they're making payments completely optional.
Well that's just it. People think all the Overwatch profit goes to just the overwatch team. It doesn't. Most of it doesn't even go to Blizzard (who has WoW, hearthstone, SC, HoTS teams), There's maintenance, server rentals, licensing, there's so many places all the money goes to. After everyone has been paid, the overwatch team receives a small fraction of the profit.

It's not like Jeff is hoarding it all to himself.
05/24/2017 09:08 AMPosted by skabuda
Well that's just it. People think all the Overwatch profit goes to just the overwatch team. It doesn't. Most of it doesn't even go to Blizzard (who has WoW, hearthstone, SC, HoTS teams), There's maintenance, server rentals, licensing, there's so many places all the money goes to. After everyone has been paid, the overwatch team receives a small fraction of the profit.

It's not like Jeff is hoarding it all to himself.
You forgot the awesome voice actors, several of which post cool youtube videos of themselves hanging out.

People forget that a business of this size has massive cost to run and maintain, payroll being the largest cost of any company. This is VERY high in the US compared to other countries. The company I work for has like 12 full time employees. It cost something like $15,000 a month just for medical insurance and it goes up every year.

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