MMO, Games

World of Warcraft Microtransactions Confirmed

July 9, 2013 -

The World of Warcraft version 5.4 update is alive and kicking on the Public Test Realm today, according to Blizzard. According to the patch notes, the update adds a new siege, flexible raid difficulty, a redesigned arena system, and a few other odds and ends. More importantly, the update adds an in-game store where players can buy a variety of buffs and other items. No doubt the selection of offerings will be limited for the purposes of the test phase.

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Blizzard Considering Additional Microtransactions in World of Warcraft

July 5, 2013 -

After an in-game store was discovered on a World of Warcraft test server, Blizzard publicly acknowledged that it is looking into adding microtransactions to its long-running MMORPG. In response to questions about this from members of the community, Blizzard community representative Jonathan Brown made the following post on the Battle.net forums:

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PlayStation Plus Requirement for Free-To-Play Up to Publishers, Says SOE

June 13, 2013 -

If you decide to play certain free-to-play MMO-style games on the PlayStation 4 you may not need to have a PlayStation Plus subscription. According to Sony Online Entertainment, publishers of those games can decide whether or not they will make Plus a requirement. SOE is developing two of its current properties for play on PS4 - PlanetSide 2 and DC Universe Online - and both of them do not need a Plus membership in order to play.

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Killer Instinct for Free - Sort Of

June 11, 2013 -

Besides serving up the most misogynistic moment of E3 so far (during the press conference when the Killer Instinct lead told an Xbox Community Manager to "Just let it happen, it'll be over soon"), Microsoft revealed that Killer Instinct for Xbox One would be free… sort of. The game will let you have the very first character - Jago - with the game when you download it. But after that, all other characters from the game are going to cost you extra.

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Wargaming Providing Financial Support to Three Open Source Software Foundations

May 23, 2013 -

Free-to-play MMO developer and publisher Wargaming (World of Tanks, World of Warplanes, and World of Warships) has announced that it will provide financial support for three open-source foundations. The company says that it is doing this because it uses a number of open-source technologies in its games and it wants to help support those technologies grow and prosper.

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ESRB Warns Wartunes 'Publisher' about Using AO Rating in Marketing Campaign

May 13, 2013 -

An online marketing campaign for the free-to-play MMO game Wartune has caught the attention of the ESRB, who claims that it has asked the game's "publisher" to stop claiming that it has an ESRB "Adults Only" (AO) rating. The game has yet to be rated by the board, according to the organization.

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Develop Finds Majority of Apps Do Not Warn About In-App Purchases

May 9, 2013 -

An investigation examining 400 apps conducted by Develop shows that there is a lack of consistency in the way in-game purchases are presented on digital stores. The investigation follows the UK government agency the Office of Fair Trading’s recent announcement that it would investigate in-app purchases in children’s games.

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Report: UK Parents Soaked for Millions a Month in 'Unauthorized' In-App Purchases

May 8, 2013 -

According to a report in the UK newspaper The Guardian - citing data from a recent Microsoft survey - as much as £30.9 million in purchases a month are made by children without their parents' consent. That is according to 28 percent of 2,000 parents surveyed in the region.

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Federal Court Approves Apple's Proposed 'Free-to-Play' App Settlement Plan

May 6, 2013 -

Courthouse News reports that Apple's plan to settle with parents over its failure to get parental consent before minors made purchases in various apps has been approved by a federal court. Apple's settlement would provide all class members with a minimum $5 iTunes store credit (or cash payment for those who no longer have an iTunes account), according to court documents.

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Valve Launches Steam Subscription Service

April 25, 2013 -

Valve Software announced that the very first game to make use of its freshly launched support for subscriptions is the MMO Darkfall Unholy Wars, with "additional subscription-based games to follow."

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Peter Molyneux Voices Concern Over Future Regulations in the UK Stemming From OFT Investigation

April 18, 2013 -

Developers must be careful of how they manage their free-to-play games. Speaking to Develop Editor Will Freeman at the F2P Summit, Peter Molyneux warned developers of the dangers that a set of regulations governing in-app purchases could have on the entire games industry in the UK.

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OFT Public Survey Questions on Free-To-Play Gaming Habits Revealed

April 16, 2013 -

Earlier in the week we learned that UK regulatory agency the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had begun investigating free-to-play models in mobile and online games that used questionable practices to highlight (to children) buying upgrades in-games. Today we have learned the contents of the public survey that the agency is using to get information from UK consumers.

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UKIE: We Will Assist OFT in Free-to-Play Investigation

April 12, 2013 -

Responding to news that the UK regulatory agency the Office of Fair Trading is investigating free-to-play game practices, the UK video games trade body UKIE issued a statement saying that it would assist the OFT in find the truth.

The OFT announced that it would investigate how companies offer in-app purchases in games and if they use strong marketing techniques against children.

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UK's Office of Fair Trading Investigating Free-to-Play Games

April 12, 2013 -

UK agency the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has begun contacting game developers and publishers as part of an investigation to determine if any free-to-play games are acting within the law. While the OFT won't name names at this point, it says that it is contacting companies who have games with micro-transactions in them currently on the market.

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Report: Supercell Valued at $800 Million

April 1, 2013 -

Finland-based free-to-play game studio Supercell is valued at around $800 million after its latest funding round. The developer behind the hit F2P mobile titles Clash of Clans and Hay Day sold off between 16 - 20 percent of its common shares for an estimated $100 - $150 million. The word on the street is that the company's latest investors include Institutional Venture Partners, Atomico and Index Ventures. The company allegedly got close to being valued at an even $1 billion, but fell just short of the mark.

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Blizzard Reveals First F2P Game: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

March 22, 2013 -

Blizzard's first foray into free-to-play isn't an MMO, or an online action or strategy game - it's a collectible card game based on the popular Warcraft universe. Today at PAX East (even as it was showing off a special build of Diablo III for PS3), Blizzard revealed a free-to-play strategy card game for Windows, Mac, and iPad called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

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TERA: Rising Membership Soars in February After Free-to-Play Transition

March 20, 2013 -

En Masse Entertainment’s MMO TERA: Rising has seen a dramatic increase in registered users after the game went free-to-play in February. TERA: Rising now has over 1.4 million users following its February launch as a subscription-free game with new content. Player participation also jumped sharply, with a 10-fold increase of maximum concurrent users compared to before TERA’s subscription-free evolution - according to En Masse Entertainment

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Ridiculous Fishing Developer: Don't Be Afraid to Price that Game at $3

March 18, 2013 -

Ridiculous Fishing and Serious Sam: Random Encounter developer Vlambeer says that "non-evil" free-to-play game design is almost impossible and that game developers should not be afraid to price their games at $3. Vlambeer's Ridiculous Fishing, which almost saw the studio go under during development, went live last week on Apple's App Store and garnered strong sales and critical acclaim from fans and critics.

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Xbox Live's Only Free-to-Play Game Happy Wars Downloaded More Than Two Million Times

March 11, 2013 -

Microsoft, who is not all that good at adding free-to-play games to its Xbox Live service for Xbox 360 (there are only a couple at this point), is probably happy that it allowed the free-to-play and kid-friendly MOBA game Happy Wars to launch on the platform in October of last year. As of today the game has been downloaded over 2 million times, according to maker Toylogic. While the game is completely free to download and play, players can purchase "Happy tickets" with real money to upgrade equipment and buy vanity items.

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Former Square Enix Exec Keiji Fujita Joins Adways Interactive

February 26, 2013 -

Former Square Enix and Taito executive Keiji Fujita has joined Japanese mobile ad network and game publisher Adways, the company announced today. Fujita will take the reins of the company's San Francisco office, which will serve as the home of the U.S. subsidiary, Adways Interactive. Keiji Fujita will serve as the Vice President of Game Business. The company also announced that it is looking for non-Japanese free-to-play mobile games to launch in the Japanese market. It will be on the hunt for such properties at Game Connection America 2013, where it will be present as an exhibitor.

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Firemint Softens 'Freemium' Requirements in Real Racing 3

February 15, 2013 -

PocketGamer is reporting that EA-owned studio Firemint has given in to pressure by consumers and removed "freemium features" to its latest game Real Racing 3. Earlier this week developer Firemint announced that the game would be available as part of a soft launch in some territories February 28.

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Kongregate CEO: Core Gamers Spend More Than Casual Players

February 8, 2013 -

Indie games portal Kongregate says that "core gamers" tend to spend way more money than casual gamers on its popular gaming destination (which is owned by retailer GameStop). Speaking to Develop, Kongregate CEO Jim Greer said that while the free-to-play titles it offers had a similar conversion rate to other platforms (two-to-three percent) paying core gamers were spending an average of approximately $60 a month.

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SOE and MLG Team Announce PlanetSide 2 Partnership

January 25, 2013 -

Sony Online Entertainment and Major League Gaming announced that they have teamed up to bring PlanetSide to the MLG's competitive gaming audience.

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Gazillion Boss Defends Pricy Content Pack for Marvel Heroes

January 21, 2013 -

Dave Brevik of Gazillion, the developer behind the upcoming Marvel Heroes free-to-play MMO action game, is defending a pricey content pack for the game that costs well over $100. The pack, the Marvel Heroes Ultimate Pack, gives players every hero and costume the game, as well as in-game currency and early access prior to the game's launch. Being that this is a free-to-play title some have scoffed at the huge price tag for the package, but Brevik doesn't think it's that big of a deal.

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Tera Going Free-to-Play in February

January 9, 2013 -

En Masse Entertainment and Bluehole Studios announced that their massively multiplayer online role-playing game Tera soon be switching from a monthly subscription plan to free-to-play. While the exact date for this switch from paid subscription to free has not been revealed, the companies say it will happen sometime in February.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Executive Producer Same Gender Relationships Delayed Because of Switch to Free-to-Play

January 3, 2013 -

In an update this week to the official blog for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Executive Producer Jeff Hickman detailed some of the changes that the next big update to the Star Wars themed free-to-play MMO will bring. Besides delivering changes to a special PvP area, the 1.7 update also sees the return of the Gree Enclave area, and details on why the inclusion of same-sex relationships has been pushed back slightly.

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Funcom Ditches Subscription Model for The Secret World MMO

December 12, 2012 -

Funcom has decided to ditch the $15 a month subscription fee for its MMO The Secret World. The company announced today that players can now enjoy the game for free, though they'll still have to drop $30 to buy the game. After that players can opt for a special monthly membership or play for free and buy items from an in-game store as they see fit.

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Former Zynga Employees Join Rumble Entertainment

November 13, 2012 -

Brian Schneider and Steve Desilets, two former senior staff members at Zynga have assumed senior roles at free-to-play studio Rumble Entertainment. Brian Schneider will take on a role in Rumble’s executive team, where he will focus on retention and monetization strategies. Former Zynga design director Steve Desilets will serve as creative partner with Rumble co-founder and design director John Yoo. His goal will be to build new Rumble-developed games.

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Wargaming to Finance Burma Spitfires Expedition

October 29, 2012 -

World of Tanks, World of Airplanes, and World of Warships creators Wargaming announced this morning that they are "fully underwriting" aircraft enthusiast David Cundall's efforts to recover British Spitfires reportedly buried in Burma at the end of World War II. The company's investment in Mr. Cundall's will allow him and the Burmese authorities to pursue the long-standing mystery of the Pacific theater.

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Infographic: League of Legends Rules The World

October 12, 2012 -

Riot Games has released an infographic that illustrates why its MOBA title, League of Legends, is the most played game in the entire world.

According to data on that colorful infographic, League of Legends has a total of 70 million registered Summoner names, 32 million active monthly users, and 12 million daily active users. The infographic also claims that over 1 billion game hours are logged every month in League of Legends.

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Andrew EisenPlus, with Nintendo carrying the Wii U almost all by itself, it could help plug one of the unfortunately inevitable release schedule gaps.08/01/2014 - 3:23pm
Andrew EisenAn HD re-release would be cool though. It's a great game (and quite the looker, especially when up-rezzed) and more people should play it (the game had a limited release at a time when the Wii was all but dead an buried).08/01/2014 - 3:21pm
E. Zachary KnightSo no, people are not going to need to play the Wii game to undstand or enjoy the Wii U game.08/01/2014 - 1:27pm
E. Zachary KnightFrom what I understand, the two games have as much to do with eachother as Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy 2.08/01/2014 - 1:26pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's my secret hope that Nintendo announces Xenoblade HD to be released in the leadup to Xenoblade Chronicles X, or at least a mass market version of the first game so that people aren't going into this one blind.08/01/2014 - 12:40pm
PHX CorpI'm going to do a test stream later today, if anyone is intrested07/31/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenYes, I'm such a big Nintendo dork that I read Nintendo's quarterly financial reports.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenCool tidbit - Mario Kart 8 sales account for more than half of total Wii U software sales for the last quarter even though it was only available for the last third.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenStill a pretty cool promotion. Unfortunately for me, I'm not interested in purchasing Mario Kart 8 and I already owned or didn't want any of the free games on offer.07/31/2014 - 1:43pm
Andrew EisenInteresting that EU had 10 games to choose from while North America only had four.07/31/2014 - 1:41pm
MaskedPixelanteIt certainly worked, I probably would never have bought Mario Kart 8 if it didn't come with a free copy of Wind Waker HD.07/31/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenI imagine will see similar promotions like "Buy Mario Kart 8 get a download code for one of these specific games" but almost certainly not for all of its (however you would define) biggest releases.07/31/2014 - 11:24am
MaskedPixelanteI wonder if Nintendo is going to be doing "buy one get one free" promos for all their biggest releases going forward.07/31/2014 - 10:48am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/special-report-retail-revolt-over-pc-code-strippers/013614007/31/2014 - 8:27am
ZippyDSMleeWouldn't they be able to afford and get done in a timely manner a general gba emluator for the 3DS? It seems to me if they want to make money off sales they need to do it.07/31/2014 - 7:25am
Sora-ChanAmbassador program, that's what I was looking for. Anyway the other games that have been made no longer exclusive to the early adopters got updates in their software. It'll only be a matter of time more than likely for the GBA to get the same treatment.07/31/2014 - 5:35am
Sora-ChanI might be naming it incorrectly when I say "founder" i mean the program for earlier adopters.07/31/2014 - 5:34am
Sora-Chanthe 3DS's GBA emulator was a rush job due to the founder program. No other GBA titles have been released on the 3DS yet. If/When they do get around to it, they'll more than likely update the emulation software.07/31/2014 - 5:32am
Zenemulator...it's not just a slap job that makes "some" work..they do it for each which is why they work so well. I would rather have the quality over just a slap job.07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
ZenMatthew there is a difference between "worked" and "accurate". You play the Nintendo VC titles they play as damn close to the original as possible. The PSP would just run them as best they could, issues and all. And Masked...EACH VC title has their own07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
 

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