After conquering the online universe, Blizzard Entertainment has set its sights on the real world. Can they really improve on the success of UPS and Fed Ex?
Irvine, California – Blizzard Entertainment, the studio responsible for World of Warcraft, one of the most enduring phenoms in the history of online games, is expanding once again. This time, instead of finding a new genres in which to create virtual worlds for fun and profit, the gaming giant, part of the immense Activision-Blizzard conglomerate, is turning its eye toward the real world.
“We’ve got a system in place,” said Michael Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard. “In fact, we’ve modeled it after a similar system we employ in Azeroth, and it works like a charm.”
The system Morhaime is talking about has been dubbed Blizzard Mail, or B-Mail, and the software behemoth claims it will be more effective than any mail delivery system in use today. And don’t be misled by the name. B-Mail isn’t an electronic mail client, a competitor to Outlook.com or Google’s GMail. No, B-Mail is a real-world mail delivery system.
“In World of Warcraft, users can send mail to each other instantly,” Morhaime said. “We thought, why not have that in the real world? That’s what we’ve secretly been working on; it’s been in development for nearly a decade now, but it’s just about ready to deploy. We’re putting the US Postal Service, Fed Ex, and UPS on notice.”
Morhaime remained vague on the means by which Blizzard intends to make their mail system a reality, but he claims it will maintain the same functionality as their in-game delivery protocol. Does that mean users will be able to ship physical items along with their messages? According to a recent announcement leaked months in advance of BlizzCon, Blizzard’s yearly game convention, the answer is yes.
“You will be able to ship tangible items,” claimed Chris Metzen, Blizzard’s vice president in charge of story and franchise development. “Just like the in-game system, however, it will take an hour before the recipient can pick up their items.”
An hour? Yes indeed. Blizzard claims to be able to ship any item – including horses, motorcycles, and bars of precious metals – in just sixty minutes. How they plan on accomplishing such a feat is beyond fathoming, but even when pressed, they claim it is a hallmark of their B-Mail system. Better still, any individual who works at a company registered through the developer’s database will be able to ship such items instantaneously, so long as the recipient works for the same business.
There are limitations, of course. Metzen said, “You’ll be limited to a maximum of twelve items at a time, and each item will cost another handful of copper coins.”
By copper coins, one can only assume Metzen means pennies. But when pressed, he said in cryptic fashion, “Copper coins. One hundred copper to a silver, and one hundred silver equals a gold.”
While fans of Blizzard’s online properties are interested in how the company can improve on the successes of UPS, FedEx, and the venerable USPS, B-Mail has its detractors. Julie Bean, a psychic reader from Omaha, claims the California game company is using dark magic and demonic rituals to make their deliveries.
“They have a game called Diablo, for Pete’s sake!” she ranted during a phone interview. “Do you know what that is? That’s the devil in Mexicanese. Spinning pentagrams and everything!”
Metzen, who often acts as spokesperson for the entertainment titan, simply rolls his eyes at the suggestion, reminding us of the foolishness of such superstitions. “Why would a multi-billion dollar game company need to make a deal with the devil?” he asked.
Blizzard will be rolling out B-Mail stations in California, New York, and Texas in quarter one of 2016, and should have their unique brand of mailboxes scattered across most major American cities by summer of the next year.