Report: Blizzard Can Track WOW Users Through In-Game Screenshots

September 11, 2012 -

This story on Slashdot Games reveals that screenshots taken in World of Warcraft have secret watermarks that can be used by Blizzard to track users - particularly when they are engaged in behavior considered to be illegal or that violates World of Warcraft's terms of service.

The story began a few days ago when a World of Warcraft players noticed that there was an odd mark on a screenshot he had taken in-game:

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World of Warcraft Access in Iran Cut Off Due to U.S. Trade Sanctions

August 28, 2012 -

Blizzard Entertainment has been forced to cut off access to its popular MMO World of Warcraft to subscribers in Iran, due to ongoing (in an earlier version of the story we used the term "new" to describe the trade sanctions, which was not accurate.) U.S. trade sanctions against the country. The company issued the following statement to a thread complaining about World of Warcraft not being available in the region:

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Fox News Play Connect-The-Dots in James Holmes Case

July 30, 2012 -

Reporting on James Holmes' day in court today, Fox News tries to make a connection to World of Warcraft. We assume this is to tie video games to the shootings in Aurora, Colorado earlier this month, but the connection is about as tenuous as lights over Roswell, New Mexico being definitive proof that extraterrestrials exists...

Holmes was formally charged with 24 counts of murder, 116 counts of attempted murder, one count of possession of explosives, and one count of a crime of violence.

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Man Stabbed During Heated World of Warcraft Argument

July 13, 2012 -

There's probably two lessons to be learned from the following story: don't take video games too seriously and don't engage your neighbor when they are agitated and engaged in an active argument (call the police instead).

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World of Warcraft Server Blades Auction Raises $300K for Charity

July 13, 2012 -

World of Warcraft players helped Blizzard raise $330,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The funds are the result of a charity auction that saw the sale of some retired WOW server hardware put up by Blizzard on eBay earlier this year.

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Diablo III Sells 3.5 Million Copies on First Day of Release

May 23, 2012 -

Blizzard Entertainment issued a press release this morning announcing that sales of Diablo III in the first 24 hours totaled 3.5 million copies. They claim, (we assume based on NPD Group numbers), that this makes Diablo III the fastest selling PC game in history. We will not even try to refute that claim. That number does not include the more than 1.2 million players who received Diablo III as part of signing up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass promotion. Combined that puts Diablo III's first day sales at 4.7 million.

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Analyst Maintains Outperform Rating on Activision, Raises Q2 and 2012 Revenue Estimates

May 10, 2012 -

Analyst Colin Sebastian of Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated sent out a note this morning to investors of Activision stock saying that they are maintaining a rating of outperform. This rating is based on Activision's latest financial results which were fairly solid thanks to sales of its Skylanders line of toy-game hybrid products for various platforms and continued sales growth in its Call of Duty Elite membership program.

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Worlds Inc. Sues Activision Blizzard over Virtual Worlds

April 9, 2012 -

A company called Worlds Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for infringing a patent the company holds related to virtual worlds. Let the trolling begin anew. Worlds Inc. claims that the company is violating a patent it holds related to "systems and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space." The company alleges in its claim that Activision's World of Warcraft and Call of Duty games violate its patents and that it is due compensation for it.

Blizzard Acknowledges Impact on WOW from SWTOR

March 20, 2012 -

For the first time publically, World of Warcraft maker Blizzard has acknowledged that Star Wars: The Old Republic is having some impact on declining World of Warcraft subscriptions.

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Research: WoW Improves Cognitive Functions in Some Seniors

February 22, 2012 -

World of Warcraft can help improve cognitive functions in some older adults, according to research conducted by North Carolina State University. Researchers from the University’s Gains Through Gaming laboratory first tested the cognitive functions of study participants ages 60 - 77, to set a baseline. They cataloged data on the subjects' cognitive abilities such as spatial ability, memory and attention focus. 

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World of Warcraft Subscriber Exodus Slows Down in Latest Quarter

February 13, 2012 -

While Blizzard may have lost an estimated 100,000 subscribers in its most recently reported quarter, the good news for the World of Warcraft maker is that the bleeding is now trickling. In the quarter before that Blizzard revealed that it had lost a whopping 800,000 subscribers, so losing 100,000 in the three months ending December 31 seems almost like a reversal of fortune.

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Australian Psychiatrist Wants 'Pathological Internet Misuse' Classified as an Addiction

November 28, 2011 -

Psychiatrist Philip Tam believes internet addiction should be classified as a disorder. The Sydney, Australia based psychiatrist and some Australian parents think that internet addiction and online game addiction need to be officially classified as addictions so that children can be treated for the so-called disorders.

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Baird Equity Research: Modern Warfare 3 Will Break Records Today

November 8, 2011 -

Analyst Sebastian Colin of Baird Equity Research says that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will break records today.

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Richard Garriott: Blizzard Will Have to Contend with the 'Zyngas of the World'

November 2, 2011 -

Richard Garriott, the man behind Ultima Online and the Ultima series, says that Blizzard Entertainment (and other big publishers like EA) face new challenges from the "Zyngas of the world."

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Blizzard President Apologizes for Homophobic BlizzCon Video Presentation

October 28, 2011 -

Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Morhaime has apologized for the video clip that ran during the final performance at BlizzCon. That video clip featured comments from George Fisher of Cannibal Corpse talking about the game, and using a number of homophobic slurs. He also performed at BlizzCon as part of the Blizzard rock group Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain. Morhaime, who is also a member of that group, threw himself on his sword in a letter to GayGamer.

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GLAAD Assails Blizzard for 'Anti-Gay' BlizzCon Video

October 27, 2011 -

The closing performance at BlizzCon 2011 by Level 90 Epic Tauren Chieftain has drawn strong criticism from gay and lesbian advocacy group GLAAD. The performance featured an opening video from guest singer George 'Corpseater' Fisher of the metal band Cannibal Corpse. In the video he talks about how much he hates Alliance using strong anti-gay language that we can't repeat here. While most of the foul language was censored in the video, those who saw it knew exactly what he was saying.

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Blizzard Auctions Original Wow Server Hardware for Charity

October 13, 2011 -

Blizzard Entertainment will host a series of special charity auctions featuring server-blade hardware that was originally used during the early days of World of Warcraft. The money generated from the auctions will go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, one of the world's premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. The auction consists of the original HP Blade System servers that once housed hundreds of different realms across North America and Europe.

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Blizzard Raises Nearly $2 Million for Japanese Earthquake Relief

August 4, 2011 -

Blizzard Entertainment announced that its virtual pet sale has raised more than $1.9 million for Japan's earthquake relief efforts. Thanks to the generosity of World of Warcraft players, around the world who purchased the in-game pet, the Cenarion Hatchling, the company has managed to raise nearly $2 million for continued efforts to help those in Japan affected by earthquakes and tsunamis that hit the country earlier this year. More from Blizzard:

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WoW Real ID Party Ready for Testing

July 14, 2011 -

Blizzard Entertainment announced that its new World of Warcraft feature, Real ID Party, is now available for public testing. According to Blizzard this feature allows World of Warcraft players to invite their Real ID friends of the same faction to a party regardless of the realm they play on, and then queue up for a 5-player normal or Heroic dungeon.

Blizzard also sent along a handy dandy mini-FAQ, which you can read below. For even more information on this feature, check out the Battle.net Real ID.

Real ID Party FAQ

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World of Warcraft Trial Now Unlimited

June 29, 2011 -

While World of Warcraft isn't going to free -to-play any time soon, Blizzard is taking steps to open it up to more people by creating an "unlimited trial period." And by unlimited they mean you can play it as long as you want without paying up to level 20. Anyone signing up for a free trial can now play the game indefinitely, though players cap out at level 20. That might seem like a big deal until you consider that, with all the latest expansions, you can play the game up until level 85. Trial restrictions still apply, of course.

Blizzard more than likely adjusted its trial period - which used to be ten days - to draw in more subscribers. The company has slowly been losing subscribers over the last year and it is trying to come up with new ways to reel current and new subscribers in. While the new trial is one way to do that, the company also said that it is trying to shorten the time period between expansions to keep players engaged.

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Trion Worlds: Rift the Reason for Declining Wow Subscriptions

June 8, 2011 -

In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Trion senior VP of publishing David Reid said that he knows why Blizzard lost 600,000 subscribers - detailed in Activision's most recent earnings call: because of his company's new MMO Rift. Rift recently hit its one million games sold milestone, and according to Reid, this has a lot to do with the decline in World of Warcraft subscriptions.

"We're really pleased with what we're seeing," said Reid. "And beyond that, it was a pleasure to see that in the latest Activision Blizzard earnings call, they inquired about Rift when Blizzard announced that their subscriber numbers went from 12 million to 11.4 million."

"You can do some math... We know very well where those 600,000 people are," he added.

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Eurogamer Digs Into Divorce Online Video Game Claims

May 31, 2011 -

Adding to the debate on this story about 15 percent of divorces filed via UK-based Divorce Online being related to online gaming and game addiction, Eurogamer picks apart the numbers in this story.

That study conducted by Divorce Online suggested that 15 percent of divorces filed with the company are a result of video game addiction - usually World of Warcraft or Call of Duty. But a deeper look at the methodology, the actual numbers, and what is required to file a divorce in the UK paints a slightly different picture.

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Divorce Online: 15 Percent of Divorces Due to Game Addiction

May 31, 2011 -

Divorce Online, a website dedicated to getting rid of that dead weight in your marriage, claims that 15 percent of the divorces it has handled can be attributed to spouses that are addicted to online games such as world of Warcraft and Call of Duty.

According to a press release issued by Divorce Online, an examination of 200 unreasonable behavior petitions filed by women using its service between January - April of this year found that 15 percent complained that their husbands were happier playing video games than they were paying attention to them. They called their "gaming addiction" an unreasonable behavior that lead to the divorce they were seeking.

The release also offers comments from one disgruntled 21-year-old wife from London named Jessica Ellis, 24, who married husband Michael in 2008.

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BlizzCon First Round Tickets For Sale May 21

May 19, 2011 -

Blizzard Entertainment posted a reminder on Battle.net that tickets for its annual fanfest, BlizzCon, will go on sale this weekend. The very first round of tickets will go on sale Saturday, May 21 at 10 a.m. PT through the online Blizzard Store. If you intend on attending the event, you'd better act fact because these tickets tend to sell out very quickly.

A second round of tickets will go on sale Wednesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. PT. Tickets for the special pre-BlizzCon charity dinner to benefit the Children's Hospital of Orange County will go on sale Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m. PT.

For more details on all the activities planned for this year's BlizzCon, check out www.blizzcon.com.

Source: Blue's News

2 comments

WOW Subscriptions Down 5 Percent

May 10, 2011 -

During its post-earnings call this week, Activision blizzard revealed that World of Warcraft subscriptions are down by about five percent. In October 2010, the popular MMORPG had around 12 million subscribers. Now the game enjoys about 11.4 million subscribers. To deal with the drop off, Blizzard's president Michael Morhaime said that the company has to release future expansion packs in a more timely fashion to contain player drop-off.

"As our players have become more experienced playing World of Warcraft over many years, they have become much better and much faster at consuming content," said Blizzard president Michael Morhaime during a conference call. "And so I think with Cataclysm they were able to consume the content faster than with previous expansions, but that's why we're working on developing more content."

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World of Warcraft Goes Slightly Mobile

May 5, 2011 -

iPhone and Android phone users can take Blizzard's World of Warcraft Remotes service for a test drive. Blizzard is offering a week-long free trial of the service beginning today but it is only offering it (initially anyway) for the most popular Mobile operating systems.

World of Warcraft Remotes cost $2.99 per month and lets users control a couple of in-game functions. Remote Auction House lets users check on active auctions, allowing them to bid, buy and create auctions, and more. It also provides notifications for those more important auction activities and allows you to renew those expired auction offerings. The second part of Remotes is Remote Guild Chat, which obviously lets you chat with your mates without actually being logged into the game.

You can download the free trial from Battle.net.

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Blizzard Donates $800K to Make-A-Wish Foundation

May 5, 2011 -

The Make-A-Wish Foundation announced that World of Warcraft maker Blizzard Entertainment has given an $800,000 donation to the charity dedicated to making the dreams of sick and terminally ill children come true. The donation amount represents 50 percent of the total sales during November and December 2010 of a special World of Warcraft in-game pet, the Moonkin Hatchling. Ultimately, that generosity is the result of WOW players, who spent the extra money to get the in-game pet.

Blizzard Entertainment celebrated the donation on World Wish Day (April 29) by granting the wishes of two boys at the company's headquarters in Irvine, California. Blizzard welcomed the two fans and their families to enjoy an exclusive learning experience with the World of Warcraft development team, including an inside look at how the game is created.

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World of Warcraft Cenarion Hatchling Emerges for Japan Relief Efforts

May 2, 2011 -

Blizzard Entertainment has released a new World of Warcraft companion to the pet store, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to relief efforts for Japan. World of Warcraft players that purchase the new pet can take comfort in the fact that they are getting a new in-game friend and that all the money they paid for it goes to help Japan with its ongoing relief efforts. The Cenarion Hatchling costs $10 USD.

The Cenarion Hatchling is the twin of the rare Hippogryph Hatchling pet players could randomly encounter in the first World of Warcraft Trading Card Game set, Heroes of Azeroth. Now he is available for your pleasure. For every Cenarion Hatchling purchased between now and July 31, Blizzard will donate 100 percent of the $10 USD "adoption fee" to the American Red Cross's Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief efforts.

For more information, check out this page.

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FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment over WoW Gold Farming

April 14, 2011 -

The FBI has raided the apartment of two University of Michigan students to investigate what it has called "potentially fraudulent sales or purchases of virtual currency that people use to advance in the popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft." The story comes from Computer World. The FBI thinks the two students are terrorists who are doing "something" in World of Warcraft to further some sort of terrorist plot. It's hard to say what exactly they suspect from the two within Blizzard's virtual world, but they obviously aren't going on a hunch here.

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How to Reach Level 85 in World of Warcraft Without Killing Anything

April 11, 2011 -

Could you imagine finishing World of Warcraft (hitting the highest possible level) without killing a single thing? It is hard to imagine, but it is apparently very possible to do. Incredibly hard? For sure. Impossible? No. According to one player named Everbloom he managed to hit level 85 without killing a single creature. How did he accomplish such an arduous task, you ask?

He claims that he spent the last five months picking herbs, digging up bones, exploring the wilderness of Azeroth, and doing all manner of tedious tasks to gain experience. He did this by taking advantage of the Professions system, gaining small amounts of experience for advancing in various extracurricular activities.

Below is his announcement, taken verbatim from the Battle.net forums:

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InfophileWhich is to say, GG isn't people writing articles about GG; it's the swarm of people lashing out. That's still going on, even if not as many articles are being written about it05/03/2015 - 7:32am
InfophileIt's not about the articles, but about the people receiving threats. Found an article from just last week which says Zoe Quinn is still receiving daily threats: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/article/2015/04/28/gamergate/05/03/2015 - 7:31am
Mattsworknameup hating the game industry on a more general level .05/03/2015 - 7:25am
MattsworknameIts funny, you know what i just realized, I love video games, and I hate the industry that has been forged around them. I hate the big name publishers, the press, all that jazz. But I still love gaming. that kinda sucks that I love games and still wind05/03/2015 - 7:25am
MattsworknameIt's like teh whole thing just went quiet.05/03/2015 - 6:28am
MattsworknameInfophile, I haven't really seen much activity either way, other then a few minor articles here or there, its like GG just sorta went dormant. I dont deny that I have some concerns with gaming press and industry, but I followed GG the last few months05/03/2015 - 6:28am
Infophile@Mattsworkname: It's more of a case that many media outlets have lost interest in their usual actions. "GamerGate still viciously harassing Zoe Quinn" isn't exactly news. Even if they are. *puts on sea lion hunting gear* Come at me, GG! I dare ya!05/03/2015 - 4:40am
MattsworknameAs much a I have some of the same concerns GG supposibly crusades against, i was really under the impression GG had sorta gone into dormantcy , it had been kinda quiet the last feww months05/02/2015 - 7:42pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bxcc3SM_KA if you guys haven't seen it, john oliver goes after patent trolls.05/02/2015 - 6:50pm
Matthew Wilsonwhile I dont like the guests, who ever did this is stupid. I can understand not liking GG, but come on.05/02/2015 - 6:17pm
Wonderkarpwell how about that shi.....poop05/02/2015 - 6:07pm
Andrew EisenKotaku caught it. Ran the story an hour ago. http://kotaku.com/gamergate-meetup-evacuated-after-apparent-threat-170176164505/02/2015 - 5:36pm
Wonderkarpevent was treading pretty hardcore on twitter last night. course thats just twitter. I'll agree with you if it does get reported05/02/2015 - 5:25pm
Andrew EisenAwkward wording on my part but "event" was referring to the bomb threat. It's silly to chastise mainstream press for not covering something that happened a mere 12 hours earlier, well after close of business on Friday, at a gathering very few knew about.05/02/2015 - 5:14pm
Wonderkarpthey arent "uppity" over the event not being covered. they are uppity over the harassment/bombthreats not being reported.05/02/2015 - 5:09pm
Andrew EisenWe've known that for quite a while now but I agree, completely cutting the feature is not a good move.05/02/2015 - 3:49pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.vg247.com/2015/05/02/splatoon-multiplayer-online-shooter-wii-u/ excuse my language, but I call bullcrap. enough with this crap Nintendo its stupid.05/02/2015 - 3:27pm
Andrew EisenKarp - Thanks for the heads up. Passed it on to James. I love how the article is all uppity about the mainstream press not covering an event that no one knew about that happened late Friday night after we all went home for the weekend.05/02/2015 - 2:06pm
ZippyDSMleeSo far FOTNS:Kens rage 2 is okay, I really like the retelling of stuff in KR 1 need to get more scrools to see how bad the new scroll equip system is.I think the other system(where you equipped skills and spent karma on leveling) might have been deeper.05/02/2015 - 12:20pm
WonderkarpI know I said I wasnt going to come here anymore. But this needs to be reported on. Peacefull GamerGate in DC Meetup Recieves False Bomb Threats. http://nichegamer.com/2015/05/peaceful-gamergate-in-d-c-meetup-receives-false-bomb-threats/05/02/2015 - 12:10pm
 

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