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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
InnoGames says that its advertising campaign on television in the United Kingdom has helped the company's free-to-play strategy game Forge of Empires surpass the 10 million registered user mark. The ads have been running for several weeks in the UK, with InnoGames planning a long-term TV campaign for the title.
Ubisoft's free-to-play online strategy RPG Epic Quest for Mighty Loot is going to dump 'pay to win' microtransactions, according to Joystiq. The game's developers announced today that certain in-game items will be removed from the in-game store because they unbalance the game for players that aren't willing to pay.
GamesIndustry International is reporting that EA Phenomic has been closed. The studio responsible for developing Spellforce and Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances is believed to employ around 60 people at one time, though the actual number of employees it had before closing is unknown as of this writing. While EA would not comment on the particulars of the studio's closure, it did issue a statement explaining why it had to shut Phenomic down:
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.
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:
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.
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.