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BlizzCon 09: Blizzard's Pardo - Battle.net Bigger Than WoW

Although World of Warcraft is Blizzard's current 800-pound revenue gorilla, design honcho Rob Pardo says its long-running Battle.net service is still bigger in terms of raw user base by half a million people.
Although World of Warcraft is Blizzard's clear 800-pound gorilla, design honcho Rob Pardo says its long-running Battle.net service is still bigger in terms of raw user base -- and in a BlizzCon 2009 presentation, Pardo outlined the service's much-hyped future plans, starting with next year's StarCraft II. The presentation began with a short video recapping the various incarnations the service has seen since its 1996 inauguration with Diablo, driving home how long Blizzard has been invested in the online gaming space. Currently, Battle.net serves Diablo II, StarCraft, and WarCraft III, not to mention the phenominally-successful WarCraft III mod Defense of the Ancients. But it hasn't been substantially updated since 2003 with WarCraft III, and "a lot of people have kind of forgotten about it, because of this little game called World of Warcraft," admitted Pardo. "We want to make sure it's the premier online matchmaking service." Still, the exec boasted, "Battle.net has actually got more players on it than World of Warcraft." He showed a graph pegging Battle.net at about 12 million users -- 500,000 units ahead of its MMO cousin. "And just imagine what this number will look like when StarCraft II is out," he added.

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