How about Some Free WoW Instead?
So you get Diablo III for free when you subscribe to World of Warcraft for a full year. Not a big deal really. Few people will take it and of those, at least half (probably more) will regret it because they won’t be playing WoW for remotely that long. A minority will save a little bit of money because of it. The meanings of this have also been discussed quite a bit in the blogosphere. Some say it’s a genius move, others say that it means Blizzard has no faith in WoW, Diablo III, or both. Me, I find the idea of getting two games at once that both require a lot of time to play a bit weird and I have no interest paying for 12 months of WoW anyway. Things could be quite different if the deal was reversed, though.
Sure, you are not going to get a 12 month subscription for WoW at the price of a single game, but what about, say, 3 months? Then current WoW players might be inclined to try out Diablo III (and spend money in the auction house!) at a slightly higher price than their normal subscription, while Diablo III players might be tempted to try some (or get back to) WoW.
Getting people back to WoW is profitable even when they are not paying for a while. For one some will get hooked again and stay after the three months are over (profit). For another, people will want to actually use their three months. To do that they need more than the base game (newcomers) or they’ll want the newest expansion. People like me, for example, who stopped in WotLK, will be very tempted to get Cataclysm now that their subscription is already paid for. Profit!
Blizzard will lose some money on those players that would actually have had a WoW subscription for the three months after the Diablo III release AND would have bought Diablo III anyway. Now I don’t have any studies telling me whether that would cost Blizzard more money than it would make, but I frankly doubt it. This current promotion won’t have a big effect at all, simply because a 12 months subscription is so much more than the price of Diablo III that I doubt many people will bite. Hell, I already know only a few people who go with 3 month plans in their MMOs and no one who uses a 6 month setup. (Though I do know some people with lifetime subscriptions to other MMOs.)
Then, while you’re at it, include 12 months of subscription into the collector’s edition of Diablo III. That might be what they are doing anyway, however. (As they said that the CE price will count towards the price of your WoW 12 months subscription and the current trend in CE pricing goes towards $150.)
I’m not sure if I would go back to WoW even under these conditions, but I would at least consider it. And then probably buy Cataclysm to get my hands on actual new content. Profit!