Free-to-play Xbox 360 online game Ascend: Hand of Kul has been removed from the Xbox Marketplace by Microsoft, according to developer Signal Studios. Signal Studios said in a post on the company's web site that Microsoft removed the game over the weekend. Why it was taken offline is unknown as of this writing.
Free-to-play MMO shooter Robocraft has managed to surpass one million registered players since its release on Steam Early Access. While an early build of the game was available prior to being released on Steam's Early Access, developer Freejam says that putting it on Steam has helped drive the game's user base significantly.
The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that EA's free-to-play mobile title Dungeon Keeper can no longer be advertised in the region as being "free."
The watchdog agency said that timed in-game events that prevent players from progressing without micro-transactions are why EA needs to make changes in how it advertises the game, according to the ASA's website.
During an E3 interview with EA boss Andrew Wilson, Eurogamer asked the top man at Electronic Arts if he had learned any lesson from the free-to-play Dungeon Keeper mobile game and whether all the negative attention about the overuse of micro-transactions were heard at the very tip-top of the company. Wilson, who became EA CEO in September of last year began his conversation by promising "open and transparent conversations" on the subject.
According to new data released by Super Data, GungHo's Puzzle & Dragons beats out Super cell's Clash of Clans in mobile ARPU (average revenue per user). Super Data claims that GungHo's game generates around $12 per user, while Clash of Clans generates only around $1.31.
The co-founder of the studio behind successful iOS game The Room and The Room Two has some harsh words for the free-to-play space and cloning on mobile: it's not working.
Fireproof Games co-founder Barry Meade said recently in a Polygon column that since the 2012 release of his first game, The Room, his company has made over $5 million, and has sold 5.5 million copies of the game and its sequel combined. He says that publishers treat the game's success story as "an aberration at best" and continue to stick with the free-to-play model on mobile.
Key staff members at Blizzard say that the free-to-play model used in Blizzard's popular trading card game Hearthstone was "validated" as the right decision during its beta phase, with Twitch playing a major role in the decision. Speaking to Eurogamer, the game's production editor Jason Chayes said that watching players stream the beta version on Twitch and do well without spending any money convinced the team that it wasn't being exploitative.
Electronic Arts has activated in-game items purchases with real money in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. The micro-transactions allow consumers to purchase in-game money from the game's Sticker Shop that can be spent on new packs of upgrades. EA announced the move on Friday night at the end of a blog post detailing the recently released free updates for the game, such as the Wild West-themed Zomboss Down pack. More free content is on the way, according to EA.
It looks like those who were keen on playing Sony Online Entertainment's catalog of online games for a flat monthly fee will have to wait just a little bit longer. SOE announced today that it has delayed its "All-Access Pass" subscription plan to April 29. The company previously delayed its launch from April 6 to April 23, but this week it delayed it one more time. Why another delay? To ensure that the transfer to the "All Access Pass" subscription system is seamless, says SOE.
Sony Online Entertainment passed along a note explaining how EverQuest II players will benefit from an SOE All Access membership when it officially launches next week.
Some of the special benefits EverQuest II players will see in the game starting next week includes seven character slots, a "Member Benefits buff" that provides an additional 15 percent coin loot and 10 percent mount speed, double the alternate currencies earned in game, "members-only" Loyalty items and "all access" to broker, in-game mail, chat and spell tiers.
Candy Crush maker King says that all games need to transition to the free-to-play business model. This, the company says, will ensure that gamers can play their favorite games for a long time and developers can make a living keeping those games alive.
"The micro-transaction is so strong and it’s definitely a much better model," King games guru Tommy Palm told IGN. "I think all companies have to transition over to that."
Lyon, France-based indie developer Little Worlds Studio said that it is "playing its last card" and "places its fate in the hands of the public" with the launch of an initiative to save the company through what it is calling a "Kickfailer." Unlike a "Kickstarter," this initiative seeks support through its already established free-to-play mobile game Mana Crusher.
In a recent interview with GamesBeat, The Tetris Company's Henk Rogers reveals that the mobile version of the classic puzzle game has been downloaded more than 425 million times. That figure does not include free-to-play versions of the game, which Rogers apparently is not a big fan of.
Research firm IHS Inc. and game network WildTangent released research today that indicates consumers are willing to put up with "value exchange-style advertising" in games. IHS describes "value exchange advertising" as a method used by advertisers to reward gamers for viewing ads with items such as in-game items or free game sessions.
Bigfish announced that it is now accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment for purchasing its online games and to make in-app purchases within its line-up of free-to-play game offerings.
"Being able to offer bitcoin payments to our consumers through Coinbase is just one more way Big Fish is meeting demand and setting the pace for the mainstream consumer and for the mainstream industry," said company CEO Paul Thelen.
The European Commission announced that it is holding meetings with member states and key players in the mobile app space like Apple and Google to enforce even stronger regulation of free-to-play games. The European Union's executive body said that it is concerned that a substantial number of games are marketed as free but contain in-app purchases that can prove to be very costly to consumers and that children are "particularly vulnerable" to messaging and marketing.
PopCap's upcoming game Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare will "definitely not" have microtransactions when it launches, but PopCap Games producer Brian Lindley hinted that it could later on down the road. Confirming to GameSpot that the company had no plans to include such features at launch Lindley went to say that the company would look at the games metrics post-launch to figure out how to support it on an ongoing basis.
Nexon's newly appointed CEO Owen Mahoney tells Reuters that his company is keen on acquiring North American IP to gain a better footing in Western markets. Nexon runs the still-popular MOO Maple Story and plenty of other online free-to-play titles.
Wargaming has launched its free-to-play online tank battling game, World of Tanks to the Xbox 360 today and the game is available "globally" for all Xbox Live subscribers. Published by Microsoft Studios and developed by Wargaming West (formerly Day 1 Studios), World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is digital downloadable and free-to-play for Xbox Live Gold account holders, with a 7-day timed trial offered for Xbox Live Silver members. At launch World of Tanks on Xbox 360 offers tanks from the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom, and seven different maps to play on in 15 v.
On this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about whether video games should enter into the public domain, the Pennsylvania government's report on violent video games and real world violence, EA's possible manipulation of ratings for its free-to-play Dungeon Keeper game, and a discussion on Flappy Bird.. Download Episode 87 now: SuperPAC Episode 87 (1 hour, 11 minutes) 81 MB.
According to new data from AppData, Supercell's free-to-play action strategy game Clash of Clans generates $654,000 per day in micro-transactions. Yes we have a hard time believing that figure too, but that is the figure put out by AppData, and their data is always spot on.
That $654,000 in daily revenue comes from the purchase of add-on content, booster packs, and other forms of downloadable content. The game launched for iOS devices in 2012 and made its way to the Android last year.
Peter Molyneux, creator of the original 1997 strategy game hit Dungeon Keeper, recently described EA's free-to-play mobile reboot as "ridiculous" in an interview with the BBC.
Since its release on iOS and Android versions, the new Dungeon Keeper has managed to raise the ire of fans and critics alike for forcing players to choose between spending significant periods of time farming resources, or to pay lots of real-world money to buy items that allow them to skip those requirements.
Microsoft will soon share its plans for Games With Gold on Xbox One, according to a recent tweet by Microsoft Game Studios corporate VP Phil Spencer. Spencer recently said on Twitter that details about the free monthly game giveaway program coming to Xbox One "will be coming fairly soon."
The United Kingdom's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) watchdog agency has given mobile phone app developers two months to adapt to new in-app purchasing rules that better protect children (and subsequently their credit-card holding parents) from in-game micro-transactions and messaging that generally encourages them to buy things to advance gameplay. The OFT has given developers a deadline of April 1 to make their apps for iOS, Windows Phone, and Android devices comply with new rules.
Norwegian MMO developer and publisher Funcom is under investigation for insider trading, according to this Eurogamer report. According to the report, staff were sent home today as Norwegian authorities collected documents related to an investigation into insider trading, though specific details about the investigation remain unknown as of this writing. Funcom's stock has also been temporarily frozen on the Oslo stock market.
It sounds far-fetched when someone says that playing something as innocent as Angry Birds is helping spy agencies gather information about you, but that is just what happens when users launch what this Pro Publica investigation claims is a "leaky app."