During a panel discussion at this weekend’s Blizzcon, Blizzard, developer and publisher of the Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft franchises has announced that they will monetize Blizzard Arcade, formerly Blizzard Marketplace.The revised online store feature will be launched alongside the upcoming Starcraft 2 Zerg-expansion, Heart of the Swarm, and will allow modders and developers to charge a premium for custom content designed using the SC2 Mod tools. Although Blizzard will of course take a share of the earnings, this move signifies that Blizzard’s e-commerce strategy is gaining momentum.
In a similar announcement earlier this year, Blizzard revealed that they will monetize Diablo 3′s auction house, giving players the option to charge real money for items found and looted in the game, instead of receiving in-game gold.
Blizzard’s summary of the panel explains: “Allowing custom game makers to charge for their games will incentivise higher-quality custom games, benefitting players and game creators.”
New and improved mod tools will also be made available to gamers and modders, to allow them to further improve and customise their custom creations and create even more high-quality content.
To show off the functionality and overall idea of the new Blizzard Arcade and mod tools, Blizzard promoted Blizzard DOTA, their own take on the ever successful Warcraft 3 mod Defence of the Ancients. This is due to be released within the coming months, however, it is not yet clear if Blizzard will charge a premium for the game. It also remains to be seen what Valve, developer of the official sequel to DOTA (DOTA 2) makes of Blizzard’s announcement of their own take on Defence of the Ancients.