Blizzard isn't making too much of an appearance at any of the gaming conventions this year (save for, of course, BlizzCon), but they are floating around the Game Developers Conference going on on San Francisco this week -- Rob Pardo showed up at a luncheon panel yesterday to talk with luminaries like Will Wright and Warren Spector about the latest trends in social gaming. He was actually introduced by Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, who said that "social is buying someone a drink," not "sitting around in your underpants," but said that Pardo manages "maybe the largest group of people in their underpants in the world." Funny.
Pardo defended the game, saying that what was once a hobby for outcasts has now become quite cool and that no matter what you're sitting around in, the people who play WoW are people with real relationships, responsibilities, and lives. And he says later in the chat that Blizzard doesn't necessarily aim for innovation, but for "nailing the execution." That's something Nintendo does as well, he said, and many times, that's the key in game development. You don't necessarily have to get it first, but you do have to get it right.
The rest of the conversation wanders away from MMOs (and Pardo), but it is a fun look into what these gaming development greats are thinking about what's next. Stay tuned to both us and Massively for more coverage from GDC -- Jeff Kaplan is scheduled to be on a panel there today, and we'll bring you news of that soon.