MMO, Games

Report: Spy Agencies Collect Troves of Data From 'Leaky Apps' Like 'Angry Birds'

January 27, 2014 - James Fudge

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."

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SOE To Shut Down Four MMOs

January 27, 2014 - GamePolitics Stafff

Sony Online Entertainment will shut down four MMOs in the next few months. The first two games to be shut down will be Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures and Free Realms, which are scheduled to go dark March 31. Wizardry Online and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes will also be shut down, but much later in the year - July 31.

Speaking specifically about Free Realms - which is available on both PS3 and PC, - SOE said that the game had reached its lifecycle:

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PSA: Happy Wars No Longer Requires Xbox Live Gold

January 22, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Developer Toylogic has some good news for people who want to play its free-to-play faction-based RPG game Happy Wars but don't want to pay Microsoft a monthly fee: they can now play the game without having to be an Xbox Live Gold subscriber.

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SOE Will Move Forward With All Access Subscription Plan

January 7, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Sony Online Entertainment will likely change its subscriptions model for its line-up of PC MMOs into a single system where users pay one fee for access to its entire catalog of games. In a recent Reddit thread, SOE head John Smedley said that the company would "likely move forward" with a plan to charge customers a flat monthly fee of $14.99 for access to its entire catalog of games on the PC.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 82

January 6, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

In our very first episode of 2014, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the latest poll on GamePolitics (about finding porn on a freshly purchased 3DS), Braid creator Jonathan Blow's comments on Farmville and Plants v Zombies 2, various licensing deals gone wrong, and Sherlock Holmes finally making its way to the public domain. Download Episode 82 now: SuperPAC Episode 82 (1 hour, 9 minutes) 79.6 MB.

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PopCap CEO to Retire Next Week

January 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Dave Roberts, chief executive of Electronic Arts’ PopCap Games division, will retire next week, according to a GamesBeat report. Roberts, who joined the company almost nine years ago will officially exit the company on January 8, with PopCap co-founder John Vechey taking over the job of CEO at the Seattle-based studio responsible for the Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled franchises.

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Riot Co-Founder Rails Against Complaints That His Company is Being 'Money Hungry'

January 2, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Speaking via a thread on Reddit, Riot Games president and co-founder Marc Merrill defended his company against accusations of greed related to its ultra popular free-to-play MOBA game League of Legends. Responding to a Reddit thread where users complained about the lack of a new client for League of Legends Season 4, Merrill denied that his company was being "money hungry."

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Disney Removes 'Energy System' from Free-to-Play Game Where's My Water? 2

December 20, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Disney is the latest company to receive pushback from gamers who are growing increasingly tired of free-to-play games having aggressive in-game micro-transaction schemes.

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Perfect World Launches F2P Console Publishing Division

December 19, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

MMO company Perfect World Entertainment is making a major push into the free-to-play market on video game consoles. The company announced that it has completed a company expansion by creating a console division targeting current and next-gen consoles. Planned console products expected include current and future games from Perfect World Entertainment’s suite of developers, the company said.

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DC Universe Online Launches for PS4

November 15, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Sony Online Entertainment announced that DC Universe Online is now available on the PlayStation 4 as part of the system's launch day lineup. DCUO was the first free-to-play MMO on the PlayStation 3, and is now one of the first available for the PlayStation 4. More information can be found below.

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Trion Reveals 'Trove'

November 15, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Trion Worlds today revealed a game called Trove that can best be described as a mix of Minecraft and a free-to-play online adventure RPG. Trion isn't saying too much about the game, save that it is a free-to-play online adventure RPG that has been in development by a small team inside the studio over the past year.

Trove will offer dynamically generated worlds that are "fully constructible and destructible, giving gamers an endless universe of worlds where they can adventure, create, and explore," according to Trion.

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PlanetSide 2 Coming to South Korea as a Free-to-Play Game

November 7, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has partnership with South Korean publisher Daum Communications to bring the massively multiplayer online first-person shooter (MMOFPS) PlanetSide 2 to the region. SOE and Daum will showcase PlanetSide 2 at the G-STAR Global Game Exhibition in Busan, South Korea on November 14-16, 2013.

Daum has secured the exclusive publishing rights to the game, including dedicated servers, local customer support and payment gateways for South Korea. PlanetSide 2 will launch in the region as a free-to-play game.

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RIFT, Defiance Get Big Boost from Extra Life and Relaunch Celebration

November 7, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Trion Worlds announced that last week's participation in the Extra Life charity marathon and a promotion related to it helped give its MMORPGs RIFT Online and Defiance a record-breaking week last week. The company said that over a quarter of a million new players joined their online games, RIFT and Defiance. Bookended by the relaunch of RIFT as a free-to-play game on Steam and the charity marathon for Extra Life, Trion’s celebration week included promotions, in-game special events, and giveaways across both games to celebrate both new and veteran players.

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EA Cancels Command & Conquer

October 30, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Electronic Arts announced this week that it has canceled Command & Conquer, the free-to-play reimagining of the popular real-time strategy game. In a blog post developer Victory Games announced that fan reaction to the alpha of the game is what put the final nail in the coffin for the project:

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RuneScape Bonds Disrupt Gold Farming Activities

October 29, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

RuneScape makers Jagex say that the recent introduction of RuneScape Bonds into the long-running MMO has reduced gold farming activities by as much as 81 percent. Bonds were introduced into the game on September 26. A Bond in RuneScape cost $5, £3 or €4.25 each and can only be redeemed in-game. Bonds are redeemable for 14 days of RuneScape membership, eight Squeal of Fortune spins, or 160 RuneCoins. Multiple Bonds can also be redeemed for RuneFest tickets (RuneFest is a fan gathering that will take place at the Tobacco Dock in London on November 2).

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Plants vs. Zombies 2 Now on Android

October 24, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

After hitting a major milestone with Plants vs. Zombies 2 - 25 million downloads on iOS devices - PopCap Games' has decided that it is finally time to bring the free-to-play strategy game sequel to Android devices worldwide. The Android version of the game is available right now through Google Play and features full integration with Google Play's Game Services.

The Android version of Plants vs. Zombies 2 includes all the same features and functionality found in the iOS version, according to PopCap.

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SoftBank, GungHo Take Controlling Interest in Supercell

October 15, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Softbank and GungHo Online are making a substantial investment in Finnish free-to-play and mobile gaming juggernaut Supercell. The company is selling a 51 percent stake for $1.53 billion to Japan’s SoftBank and game developer GungHo Online Entertainment. The strategic investment will make Supercell a subsidiary of Softbank, with the funds being used to fuel Supercell’s global expansion.

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F2P Battlefield Producer to Helm DUST 514

October 8, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

EVE Online and DUST 514 maker CCP Games has hired veteran game producer Jean-Charles Gaudechon. Gaudechon will serve as the executive producer of DUST 514, CCP’s free-to-play first-person shooter on PlayStation 3. Gaudechon will drive future development of the persistent-world first-person-shooter DUST 514 at CCP’s Shanghai studio, according to the company.

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SOE Introduces EverQuest II Heroic Characters Program

October 1, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that "new, current and returning EverQuest II players" will be able to purchase high level characters in its free-to-play MMO beginning today. This, the company says, will allow players to jump right into the Tears of Veeshan expansion, when it launches in November. To celebrate the launch of the program, SOE will allow players to create one permanent Heroic Character for free as part of its "Hero's Call" event. That will run from October 1-15.

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OFT Warns UK Developers about High Pressure Monetization of Kids' Apps

September 26, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning app and game developers that high-pressure monetization in programs that are aimed at children needs to be avoided going forward. The OFT made its announcement today after months of investigation (which began in April) into allegations that some free online apps and games for children were using questionable tactics to get children to purchase in-game items - often without parental consent. The OFT examined 38 games related to this practice and drafted a set of guidelines for UK developers.

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Battleforge Shutting Down in October.

September 6, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

In July of this year, EA announced that it would be shutting down its German studio, EA Phenomic. The company handled the ongoing development of a number of free-to-play online games including Spellforce, Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances, and Battleforge.

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Plants vs. Zombies 2 Downloaded Nearly 25 Million Times Since Launch

August 30, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

PopCap's latest entry in the popular Plants v. Zombies series on iOS is very popular. According to the company, the free-to-play Plants vs. Zombies sequel has been downloaded nearly 25 million times since its launch on August 25. PopCap claims that this represents more than the total lifetime downloads for the original Plants vs. Zombies. Of course, being that this game is free-to-play and the original costs $20, you can kind of see why this one might be more widely enjoyed (people like free stuff).

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Splash Damage Changes Name of 'Dirty Bomb' to 'Extraction'

August 27, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Developer Splash Damage has decided to rename its free-to-play PC action game Dirty Bomb to Extraction. Given how the NSA might put you on a special list for searching for the term "Dirty Bomb," we think that is the best move for both fans and the Brink developer. Splash Damage also announced a publishing deal for Extraction with Nexon for launch in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

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EA's Peter Moore on Free-to-Play, Games as Services, and More

August 26, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

In an Engadget interview that took place last week during Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore said that the company no longer ships games that are "offline."

Speaking at length with Engadget following his company's Gamescom 2013 press event, Moore said that EA's current dedication to online functionality in its games is unmatched:

"We don't ship a game at EA that is offline."

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Big Fish Games Cuts Staff in Seattle, Closes Vancouver Office

August 21, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

In a memo sent to employees today, Big Fish Games CEO Paul Thelen announced that the company is laying off 49 employees in its Seattle office and shutting down its office in Vancouver. Projects in the Vancouver office would be moved to Seattle.

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Plants vs. Zombies 2 Downloaded Over 16 Million Times

August 20, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

EA's recently released free-to-play iOS sequel has the distinction of being the "most successful mobile game launch" in the company's history. Developed by EA studio PopCap Games, Plants vs. Zombies 2 has been downloaded 16 million times since its launch last Thursday on Apple's App Store.

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Microsoft Details Pricing on Killer Instinct DLC

August 20, 2013 - James Fudge

Microsoft confirmed today at Gamescom that its Xbox One fighting game Killer Instinct will release for free with one fighter (Jago) and that each additional character will cost $5.

Microsoft also plans to release DLC combo packs with multiple characters and extras too; the Combo Breaker Pack ($20) will offer the first eight characters from the game (six at launch, two later on down the road); and the Ultra Edition ($40) which features eight characters, accessory packs, costumes, and a digital copy of the original Killer Instinct game.

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PopCap CEO Defends F2P Plants vs. Zombies

August 16, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

PopCap has taken some criticism for jumping on the free-to-play bandwagon with Plants vs. Zombies 2 (which was released this week on iOS), but PopCap CEO Dave Roberts says that free-to-play isn't all that different from the business model it started with more than a decade ago.

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Dead Island Epidemic Announced

August 7, 2013 -

While details are pretty thin at this point, Deep Silver announced that it is working on a free-to-play MOBA-style game based on its survival horror action game series Dead Island. Calling it a "Zombie Online Multiplayer Battle Arena" game for PC, Deep Silver's Dead Island Epidemic pits three teams of players against each other in a fight for their survival. The game is in development only for PC at this point.

Deep Silver also says that the game will feature "all the trademark elements that are part of the a Dead Island experience."

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Ace Combat Goes Free-to-Play

August 2, 2013 -

It looks like another big franchise will dip its toe into the free-to-play waters on Sony's PlayStation Network. Namco Bandai Games announced today that the newest game in its ultra popular Ace Combat series is Ace Combat Infinity for PS3. Scheduled for release in late 2013 exclusively as a download on PSN, Ace Combat Infinity promises a brand new story campaign and team co-op multiplayer in a free-to-play setting.

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Andrew EisenSome locked threads. Some let them be. So, no, I'm not seeing a problem here. No corruption. No collusion. No ethical problem with privately discussing ethics.09/20/2014 - 12:48am
Andrew EisenAnd still, in the end, Tito made up his own mind on how to handle his site. All 150 or so members went off to handle their own sites in their own ways. Some talked about it. Some didn't. Some changed disclosure policies. Some didn't.09/20/2014 - 12:40am
Andrew EisenThere were two comments other than Kochera and Tito's. One pointed out the Escapist Code of Conduct, another comment was in support of Tito.09/20/2014 - 12:40am
Andrew EisenKochera privately expressed his disagreement on how Tito decided to do something. No, I don't consider that crossing a line nor do I consider the exchange an example of the group pressuring him.09/20/2014 - 12:36am
Kronotechnical reasons. Anyways, I need to get to sleep as well.09/20/2014 - 12:29am
KronoAnd he wasn't the only one pushing Tito to censor the thread. If Tito had bowed to peer pressure, we likely wouldn't have gotten this http://goo.gl/vKiYtR which grew out of that thread. Said thread also lasted until a new one needed to be made for09/20/2014 - 12:28am
Krono@Andrew So it's an example of Kuchera crossing the line from reporter to advocate. And an example of the group pressuring for censorship.09/20/2014 - 12:21am
E. Zachary KnightAnyway, I am off to bed. I will probably wake up to all of this being knocked off the shout box.09/20/2014 - 12:20am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, that is the type of reading too much into things that bugs me. Ben did no such thing. Greg had the last word in that part of the exchange. The rest was about how to approach the story and Quinn.09/20/2014 - 12:19am
Andrew EisenSo?09/20/2014 - 12:13am
KronoExcept that the forum thread wasn't harassment, and Kuchera continued to push for the thread's removal after Tito made it clear he didn't consider it harassment.09/20/2014 - 12:12am
Andrew EisenPersonally, I see nothing wrong with someone offering their opinion or the other person making up their own mind on how to run their site.09/20/2014 - 12:06am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, I read nothing of the sort in that email chain. I read Ben giving advice on what to do when a forum thread is used to harass someone and spread falshoods about them and others.09/20/2014 - 12:05am
KronoThat's exactly what Ben Kuchera was doing to Greg Tito.09/19/2014 - 11:58pm
Krono@EZK So you see nothing wrong with one journalist pressuring a journalist from a different organization to not only not run a story, but to censor a civil discussion already taking place?09/19/2014 - 11:56pm
E. Zachary KnightI write for a number of blogs and talk to people who write similar blogs all the time for tips and advice. I see nothing wrong with that.09/19/2014 - 11:50pm
E. Zachary KnightI read that comment now and frankly, I think that guy is reading too much into this. The press talk to each other. It happens. There is nothing that can be done to stop it from happening.09/19/2014 - 11:49pm
KronoUnfortunately it seems unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.09/19/2014 - 11:45pm
Krono@EZK No that's not the comment. As for wanting nothing do with any of it, that's perfectly understandable.09/19/2014 - 11:44pm
Sleaker@Conster - sand?09/19/2014 - 11:40pm
 

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