Blizzard cofounder Frank Pearce has said that Diablo III is a possible candidate for the game that will “cannibalize” some of World of Warcraft’s playerbase.

“We might see cannibalization of WoW players from Diablo III when we launch it, because it’s a similar type of experience. Not exactly similar, but it’s that RPG feel… I think it’s really important that we recognize that somewhere, sometime it’s likely that someone is going to cannibalize World of Warcraft players.”

“So it’s better we cannibalize them ourselves than let someone else do that, because if we cannibalize them ourselves, they’re still a Blizzard customer.”

Even with the new Blizzard MMO “Titan” on the horizon, Pearce remains optimistic about WoW’s cahnces, however:

“Whether it’s a Blizzard game or another great MMO, I think there’s plenty of space in the market for great MMOs to share customers.”

It seems an odd decision to let this happen, since Diablo III players won’t be stuffing fists of cash into Blizzard’s wallet like WoW players do every month, but it’s easy to understand that eventually players will want something different. When that happens, it’s obviously in Blizzard’s interests to attract these people back.

Gamasutra Via C&G Monthly