WoW's Cinematics Excluded? Nah.

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There’s a pretty nasty rumor circulating that hints Blizzard is taking its cinematics out of the game for those who bought Cataclysm digitally.

This is silly, and a very skewed conclusion from what was initially a (probably over-direct) answer to a support question brought up on their forums. Then the community got wind of this and shit went down.

The initial response that cinematics are not included for digital download customers refers to the fact they will not be included in the initial download of the game files. Where people got details muffled, and Blizzard provided too fuzzy of an explanation, was when they didn’t explain the streaming downloader would be implemented to fill the holes.

Currently, what will happen is digital download customers will get the game’s core files and opening CGI cinematic so once December 7th (12:01AM PST) hits, everyone can plug in their information and hop right in the game. From there, the streaming downloader (which patches missing data holes once crucial files are downloaded) will deliver additional in-game cinematics.

Given the average cinematic is 200-500MB in size and Internet connections are ~8Mbps, you’ll have all your in-game cinematics in hand well before your character completes the quest chain that’s associated with it. Crisis averted.

Unfortunately for Blizzard, this confusion comes on the heels of Activision-Blizzard’s Bobby Kotick referring to his desire to sell game cinematics piecemeal within the next 5 years to squeeze extra revenue out of “enthusiast consumers”. Now, given Kotick’s history, I do not put it past him to intentionally exclude cinematics from games he can directly affect. It’s unfortunate he used StarCraft as an example of his system, but Blizzard operates hands-off from Activision corporate. Still, this news story paired with the fears digital download subscribers would get the shaft made for some pretty horrible PR until Blizzard got its facts in order.

So, in short, you’re not losing your cinematics if you buy the digital download. And you’re not getting shafted. So let’s stop the false information.

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