Speculation: Is World of Warcraft coming to Consoles, Mobile or Nintendo Switch?

This totally falls in the speculation, and big-stretch category; but here we are. A new job opening appeared in Linkedin asking for a Technical Artist, Rigging for the World of Warcraft team.

It caught my attention that in the job requirements, exactly where it says: Day to Day Tasks, the fourth requirement is Game engine experience (Unreal, Unity, etc.) — Let me say it again: “Day to Day Tasks.”

If you want a Technical Artist, Rigging developer for World of Warcraft, I assume you would ask about experience with PC engines, rather than Unity — unless Blizzard plans to provide cross-platform options for World of Warcraft players.

A quick look at Wikipedia (which is such a reliable source… giggles) this is what you use Unity for:

Unity is a cross-platform game engine with a built-in IDE developed by Unity Technologies. It is used to develop video games for web plugins, desktop platforms, consoles and mobile devices.

For discussion’s sake, this could be a stretch. I agree. Yet, if you read all 30 job openings for the World of Warcraft team — which I did read — none of the other 29 job openings mention the keywords: console or unity.

Only the Technical Artist, Rigging job opening has this specific keywords. What does this mean? Why? Food for deep thought.

Additional food for deep thought. Microsoft enabled mouse and keyboard support for Xbox One .

From CNET (September 25, 2018 ): “

Can you use keyboard and mouse on Xbox?Mouse and keyboard support is coming to the Xbox One. You‘ll be able to use any USB keyboard to play games on your Xbox One, but only if the developer enables it. The line between PC and console gaming just got a little bit blurrier: keyboard and mouse support is coming to the Xbox One.”

The VERGE ( Nov 14, 2018 ):

Xbox One keyboard and mouse support arrives with today’s November update

Developers will need to specifically opt-in to enable keyboard and mouse support in Xbox One games, and Fortnite in particular is only matching these gamers with the same inputs to keep play balanced. Most modern wired or wireless USB keyboards and mice will work on the Xbox One, and Microsoft is also partnering with Razer to launch a wireless mechanical keyboard and mouse set that’s designed for Xbox. Microsoft is promising more news on this at CES in January.

All it takes Blizzard Entertainment is to support and enable this feature for World of Warcraft, and some Unity adjustments to launch the game in XBox One.

So far all these games have (or plan to have) Keyboard and Mouse support in Xbox One — enabled by game developers — as of October 2019.

  • ATLAS
  • Bomber Crew
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Children of Morta
  • DayZ
  • Deep Rock Galactic
  • Fortnite
  • Gears Of War 5
  • Gears Tactics
  • Metro Exodus
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Minecraft
  • Minion Master
  • Moonlighter
  • Paladins
  • Realm Royale
  • Roblox
  • Sea Of Thieves
  • SMITE
  • Sniper Elite V2 Remastered
  • Strange Brigade
  • Surviving Mars
  • The Sims 4
  • They Are Billions
  • Vermintide 2
  • Vigor
  • Warface
  • Warframe
  • Wargroove
  • Warhammer: Vermintide 2
  • War Thunder
  • X-Morph Defence

Let me add to the speculation machine. As of October 2019, a leaked image showed the PlayStation 5 (Next-Gen Console) with 5 USB ports. At least 3 of these might alleguedly be USB 3.0. Another buzz caught by WIRED is a patent that might indicate the PlayStation 5 will have the option for an external SSD. Sony sent devkits to game creators as far back as April 2019 (if not earlier).

So pardon my surprise to read “Unity” in a World of Warcraft job opening, but knowing what’s available to game creators from Xbox One, and what’s coming in PS5 — my hype-o-meter got trigger-happy.

This is the Technical Artist, Rigging job opening posted by Blizzard Entertainment.

Description

Blizzard Entertainment is looking for an individual who wants to get hands on experience helping rigging creatures and characters on World of Warcraft. Help us push the development of the WoW rigging pipeline by supporting character team, animation team, working on tech art tools, and problem solving.

Our ideal candidate has experience with rigging characters and creatures on one or more successful AAA console and/or PC games. We are looking for someone passionate about building great rigs, working with great people, and creating great games.

DAY TO DAY TASKS
  • Create rigs and rigging systems for characters, mounts, and creatures
  • Communicate across departments
  • Work closely with Animators to understand and support their needs
  • Game engine experience (Unreal, Unity, etc.)
YOUR BACKGROUND
  • 2+ years of experience in game/film development creating rigs
  • Knowledge of content creation software, especially Maya and/or Max
  • High skill level of rigging knowledge and responsibilities
  • Understanding of animation fundamentals and how they apply to creating rigs
  • Understanding of scripting/Python relating to rigging and technical art
  • Great organization and communication skills
SEND US
  • Resume
  • A demo reel/website link
Blizzard Entertainment is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable law, and will not be discriminated against on the basis of disability. — Source | Web Archive
 

Since I could only find one (out of 29) job opening mentioning the “Unity” keyword, I went down the rabbit hole to search for past job openings that might have used the keyword in a World of Warcraft job opening.

About a month ago, there was another such World of Warcraft job opening with the same keyword (here is the Web Archive version in case that one expires).

SENIOR TEST ANALYST

General Job Description – Requirements
  • Bachelor’s Degree in related field (or ~3 years of equivalent experience) plus a minimum of 5 years’ experience in software testing
  • Experience in writing, executing and monitoring test suites using a variety of technologies including, but not limited to, Cucumber, Concordion, Selenium, Fit/FitNesse, SoapUI, Unity, Unreal, as well as other proprietary game development toolsets
  • Be an expert in one or more software testing methodologies
  • Practical knowledge of relational databases such as Oracle, MySQL, & SQLServer
  • ISTQB Certified Tester Advanced Level (CTAL) or equivalent
  • Proven ability to analyze, interpret, and action on data sets and complex workflows
  • Experience with game engines, content and asset editors, and shared technologies
  • Passion for games and software quality
 

Maybe there is nothing to see here, but that’s now two job openings in the past 30 days that out of the blue include the keyword “Unity” in a World of Warcraft job opening.

I will continue to monitor World of Warcraft job openings to see if more of these “nothing-burger” coincidences keep showing up. Follow @blizzplanetcom for updates.

Xbox Two (Project Scarlett) is slated to ship in late 2020. Playstation 5 is slated to ship between October-December 2020.

UPDATE (Nov 21, 5:05pm): BOOM! Bob Kotick hints Blizzard games might come to the mobile.

Activision Blizzard CEO: No ‘good reason’ company won’t hit 1 billion users in 5 years

On November 19, 2019, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick spoke about the future of Activision Blizzard at CNBC’s Evolve summit in Los Angeles.

“I think today, when you realize the scale and the opportunity that we have, I look at our business, and we have roughly 350 million customers in 190 countries, there is not a good reason why that number shouldn’t be 1 billion in the next 5 years.

Moderator: How?

Kotick: So it starts with more frequent release of content, taking franchises that we have and growing them onto new platforms; and this is probably the single biggest change in the business in almost 30 years that I can recall; which is up until very recently, 5 years ago, to play video games you had to spend $300 for a PlayStation, or an Xbox, or a $1000 for a personal computer; and when games became available on phones, the market exploded; and the audience size went from a few hundred million to billions of potential consumers; and so… we have these great franchises that have evolved over a long period of time. Many of those fanchises, though, are not on phones yet.

So we launched our game, Call of Duty, for the first time on a mobile in October. In a month, we signed up a 100 million consumers. In a month. And so, you realize as these franchises go from consoles and PCs to phones, the growth in the audience is going to be staggering.

 

The only way Activision Blizzard can muster 1 Bilion players is bringing Blizzard franchise/IPs into Console and Mobile, in addition to Activision and King games.

That means bringing World of Warcraft to console and iPadOS/Android, StarCraft to console, Diablo to mobile (as it is already in consoles), and creating brand-new games based on those IPs.

The Keyboard and Mouse support in Xbox One, and possibly PlayStation 5 (with its 5 USB ports) makes that vision much closer to reality.

There is currently a unannounced game for which a job opening requests 6+ years of experience shipping AAA FPS titles in combat or systems design roles. Considering Overwatch 2 was announced, and the job opening still says: “Unannounced” — you don’t need to be a Einstein to figure what that implies.

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film. Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers. I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com) ***Fans who would love to watch Blizzard-related panels and appreciate our efforts can support Blizzplanet’s patreon in a monthly-basis, or a one-time basis. Our staff are volunteer fans like you. Your donations will help us travel to all the Blizzard events we attend year-round to bring you the latest interview with the developers, photos, and panel videos (where allowed).

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