MMO, Games

TV Advertising Campaign Drives Forge of Empires to Major Milestone

July 31, 2013 -

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.

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'Pay to Win' Upgrades Being Dumped in Epic Quest for Mighty Loot

July 30, 2013 -

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.

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EA Closes Phenomic Studio

July 12, 2013 -

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:

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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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NeenekoI have met some real jerks and slimeballs in gender activism, but when I hear the idea that there are many 'not nice' people it comes across as code for 'uppity people who do not know their place'.09/19/2014 - 12:10pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Many of the people pushing gender issues aren't nice people? I'm sure not everyone's a sweatheart but so far, everyone I've seen with such a critique had absolutely nothing to back them up.09/19/2014 - 10:46am
InfophileI think there's a qualitative difference between a site and a hashtag though. GP can ban anyone from commenting, so they can have the image they want. But anyone can use any hashtag and try to poison it. Granted, that hasn't happened to the other one yet09/19/2014 - 10:13am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, your comparison to GP does not work. We do not need to get rid of GP, because no one associates GP with trolls and abuse. The same can't be said for gamergate.09/19/2014 - 10:09am
Krono@Michael You don't remember the "other hashtag" because no one actually uses it. We're talking 836,983 uses of #gamergate over it's lifetime, and 8,119 for the "alternative". 47,129 uses on the 18th vs 41. With #notyourshield at 140,133 uses & 5,209 uses09/19/2014 - 9:48am
Kronoresearch it. Changing tags to get away from trolls would be like wiping GamePolitics and restarting under a new name to get away from people calling Jack Thompson a filthy names in the comments section.09/19/2014 - 9:35am
Sleaker@quiknkold - seems like all that page is is a bunch of random developer opinions and rumors that we're supposedto do what with?09/19/2014 - 9:31am
Kronoas an opportunity to push back against them. It's one of the things muddling the issue. @conster A new hashtag would do nothing to improve anything. Trolls will simply follow to the new hashtag, and it will confuse the issue for anyone attempting to09/19/2014 - 9:25am
Krono@Andrew aaah. Yes, I'm sure there's some of that. Part of the problem is many of the people pushing gender issues are not very nice people. Basically the latest incarnation of moralists we've seen in the past couple decades. Naturually some will take this09/19/2014 - 9:23am
quiknkoldhttp://www.nichegamer.net/2014/09/real-gamedevs-sound-off-regarding-the-gamergate-controversy/09/19/2014 - 8:35am
MaskedPixelanteMeanwhile, in news that actually DOES matter, Scotland voted "NO" to Scottish independance.09/19/2014 - 8:20am
ConsterSeriously? "We shouldn't make a new hashtag - it's better to associate ourselves with psychos than to decrease our visibility"?09/19/2014 - 7:54am
Michael ChandraI forget what it is exactly, but there already is another hashtag that some use, exactly to separate themselves from the abusive behaviour. So don't bother lying to me.09/19/2014 - 7:06am
quiknkold2 to 3 or more09/19/2014 - 6:53am
quiknkoldMichael Chandra : I'll say this. The only reason they havent used another hashtag is because it would look like a form of dividing the arguement. Using another Hashtag has come up, and they feel like if they made a new hashtag, it'll split the debate from09/19/2014 - 6:53am
Michael ChandraYou want a debate? Build a wall between you and the poisoned well. Make clear you despise it, despise the behaviour. Then get into the other issues you are troubled with, and don't say a single word again about the poisoned well.09/19/2014 - 3:46am
Michael ChandraAnd someone claiming #notyourshield was to be taken serious, when chatlogs show they wanted it going to hide even more harassment behind? Yeah, not buying a word you're saying. You poisoned your own well.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael Chandraallegedly fired over giving a game a mediocre review and the company threatened to pull ads? Sorry but I ain't buying this.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael ChandraBut people arguing this is horrible and just about ethics, even though there's very little support that journalistic integrity was actually violated here, while they never spoke up when a journalist was09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Michael ChandraIf people start with condemning the way GamersGate was used as a misdirection, then use a better hashtag, that would work in convincing me they mean it.09/19/2014 - 3:43am
 

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