Do me a favor, stop callously insulting people on this forum for trying to have an intelligent discussion. I personally expect more from moderators, but maybe I shouldn't.
I think we are running low on tin-foil hats..
Most companies dont even bother to give half the information blizzard does. Blizzard cares about keep us up to date, and people that seem to not understand things change, that cause blizzard to give "time frames" instead of dates now.
Keep believing that Blizzard is so great for "graciously" providing us such a priceless wealth of "information." For a large group of customers, their "information" is anything but informative; it's frustrating, misleading, and un-necessary. In my experience, this kind of continual, intentionally vague, vapor-speak is intended to keep an immature, un-empowered customer base ignorant but engaged. I've worked in software a long time, as a technical marketing engineer, test engineer, development engineer, and in sales. There isn't any paranoia at work. They are literally not allowed to say anything of substance without going through a serious approval chain (just read a day in the life of Bashiok).
I find it particularly cynical your opinion that corporations are impervious from any criticism or accountability to their paying customers. If Blizzard is going to engage their customers by announcing a game 4 years in advance, they have a responsibility to effectively inform their customers, or else their customers are going to get pissed off... which is exactly what happened. Why is this such a travesty to you?
Where there's smoke, there's fire. Where there's a ton of pissed off customers, there is a company that needs to improve their marketing and PR. In my opinion, most people don't think that highly of Blizzard as a company, they only think highly of Blizzard games. That's a fairly fragile brand loyalty.
Now you might argue that in order for them to keep making great games, they will always have to alienate their "impatient" customer base. That could not be farther from the truth. Again, how cynical do you have to be to believe that Blizzard can't have both great PR AND great games?
It's a good point to bring up, that people holding Blizzard accountable to their release dates is what caused Blizzard to STOP giving release dates. But don't be naiive. The PROBLEM was Blizzard missing release dates because
You know back in the day, blizzard gave exact planed dates, 100% exact to what they were hoping for, but they have to push them back and people would complain over and over about this, so what is the solution? blizzard no longer gives us exact dates until the game is pretty much going gold. And when they try to give "basic ideas" and "thoughts" about a release goal, we STILL get people QQing about everything they can about how they are giving us no information now, and how everything they are saying is to just "keep us happy"...
The conversation goes roughly like this:
Us: "Hey Blizzard, you said the game was gonna be released <date1>. Now you're just gonna push release to <date2>? How can I trust you now?"
(2 weeks later)
Blizzard: "Trust us. Oh, btw, we're gonna miss <date2>, it's <date3> now. Aren't you glad I communicate with you so much? You should be thankful!"
Us: "Why? Some companies announce a game is in development, give concrete dates, meet those dates."
Blizzard: "Because we give you waaaay more information than those companies, and we make better games than them."
Us: "Well, you do make better games. But maybe I don't need information if it's not accurate, reliable, or even really saying anything we didn't already know..."
Blizzard: "But we really want to engage our fans, we love you guys!"
Us: "Cool. Well in that case, I have a few questions. How far along are you guys in development? What's going well? What's not? How's testing going?"
(2 weeks later)
Blizzard: "We're making design decisions and polishing the game, it's looking great. We're in the home stretch."
Us: "um.. you MUST be aware that you didn't answer the question at all."
(2 weeks later)
Blizzard: "Well runestones are pretty weird, it's possible we've made a decision about runestones now. We're in the home stretch of runestone decision making."
Us: "You guys are re-writing runestones? Ok. Well, what's the verdict?"
Blizzard: "We have several solutions and we're polishing things up, it's looking great and we're really close. Home stretch."
Us: "So, hey how about a release date? I mean, we know you are very protective of quality, but you MUST have internal deadlines, right? C'mon, gimme a little something.. you love me, remember?"
(2 weeks later)
Blizzard: "Early 2012."
Us: "What does that mean? Q1? First two months? First half? Jan 17th? wtf?"
Blizzard: "It means we pushed release back to 2012"
Us: "Ok that's actually MORE vague than 'early 2012', which is an amazing achievement in vagueness."
Blizzard fanboy: "Wow dude, stop being such an entitled, whiny little bitch. You should be kissing Blizzard's hairy beanbag just for talking to you at all."
I could keep going.
ps: you should reread the guy's post I replied to, as I understood it.
I tried to understand your point of view, I just can't extract your opinion out of his words.