EVE Online maker CCP Games today announced the final schedule of events for its sold-out annual fan celebration, EVE Fanfest (April 25-27). Playing up this year's "Second Decade" theme (which commemorates the 10th anniversary of EVE Online) CCP has managed to bring some pretty interesting speakers to the event this year including Dwarf Fortress co-creator Tarn Adams, and Paola Antonell from MOMA.
Kaspersky Lab has uncovered a Chinese hacking ring that has been breaching the security of and stealing source code and other material from various online games in East Asia, South Korea, Germany, the US, Japan, China, Russia, Brazil, Peru, and Belarus. The security researchers at the company say that this Chinese hacking ring broke into the servers of dozens of online video gaming companies and stole from them over a four year period.
CCP Games today revealed the line-up of speakers that will be a part of the "Make EVE Real" track at its (sold-out) annual fan celebration EVE Fanfest from April 25-27. Dr. Richard Obousy (President and Co-Founder of Icarus Interstellar) and Chris Lewicki (President of Planetary Resources) will join Michael Laine (President of LiftPort Group) in sharing their thoughts on how current science fiction may soon become a reality.
An interesting story via the Huffington Post (based on this CBC report) details sexual predators in the United States using online games and consoles to talk to children in Canada. This particular report focuses on Winnipeg, but it's not far-fetched to imagine that if it's happening in one province, it's happening to some degree in other provinces as well.
Richard Garriott's Portalarium announced that it is now accepting PayPal payments for the Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues crowd funding campaign. The PayPal option is available on the Shroud of the Avatar site.
Sony Online Entertainment will merge the two remaining servers for its MMO Vanguard into one big server on April 4 at 10 p.m. PDT, the company announced this week. On April 9, the European Halgar server will permanently be taken offline, following its merge with the Telon server. SOE warned players that when this happens the game will be down for a 24 hour period - but that's not the worst of it; when the two servers are merged into one server some characters may be affected.
The Korean version of Trion Worlds' MMO Rift will be closed at the end of next month, according to this Polygon report. Rift will be shut down on April 25, according to an announcement by Korean publisher, CJ E&M.
The publisher cited "difficult maintenance decisions" as the reason for dumping the game from its roster of MMO titles. CJ E&M will give refunds to subscribers from April 17 onward, although the in-game shop will close on March 28, according to Polygon.
Richard Garriott posted a lengthy explanation of a PC Gamer interview that was published yesterday in which he said that "most game designers really just suck," and that he had not met anyone who he thought came close to being as good a game designer as he was.
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
With 18 more days to go, Richard Garriott's Kickstarter campaign for Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues has surpassed its $1 million funding goal. With that challenge out of the way, Garriott and his studio Portalarium have added a few stretch goals. As of right now, the Kickstarter has generated $1,031,716 from nearly 15,000 backers.
While Richard Garriott (also known as Lord British in most circles) may no longer hold the rights to the Ultima series of classic CRPG games or Ultima Online (he sold it, along with Origin over a decade ago) that hasn't stopped him from returning to his roots. Today Garriott announced that his Austin-based studio Portalarium is hard at work on his newest game, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, a sort-of spiritual sequel of sorts to the Ultima series, but set in a whole new universe.
CCP Games passed along a note to proudly proclaim that its flagship title, the space-themed MMO EVE Online, is part of the Applied Design exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. EVE Online is one of the first fourteen video games to enter its MOMA's permanent collection.
CCP Games announced that its long-running subscription-based sci-fi MMO EVE Online has surpassed the 500,000 subscriber mark worldwide for the first time in the game’s history. The milestone is a major one in the game's ten years of operation and follows the December 4 release of EVE Online: Retribution, the game’s 18th free expansion. CCP says that this latest expansion is its most successful ever. Also in December, EVE Online relaunched in China with new partner Tiancity to bring the game to a massive new audience where it has been thriving ever since.
According to a report from Xinhuanet (as reported on by Shanghaiist), the Chinese government is developing its own set of criteria for early diagnosis of online game addiction in young people. Chinese authorities announced plans on Sunday to develop "China-specific criteria" for diagnosing and treating online gaming addiction in minors.
Free-to-play MMO developer and publisher Wargaming has come to the rescue of Gas Powered Games, who looked like it might go out of business just a few days ago after it canceled a Kickstarter campaign for its game Wildman - the success of which founder Chris Taylor categorized as vital to the company's future survival. Wargaming bought the Seattle-Washington-based developer of such hit franchises as Dungeon Siege, Supreme Commander and Demigod for an undisclosed amount of money.
CCP Games has informed us that the EVE Fanfest 2013 event to celebrate all things related to its popular space MMO EVE Online sold out last week. The event held once a year in Reykjavik, Iceland will see about 1,400 attendees - about 50 percent more than last year's event. The Fanfest offers attendees three days of EVE Online and CCP-related activities that include panels, local Icelandic excursions, presentations from the game's developers, PvP tournaments, a developer-lead pub crawl, game reveals, and the general joys of camaraderie.
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.
With just two more hours to go in its Kickstarter campaign, Goldfire Studios has managed to go slightly over its funding goal of $20,000 for its gambling-based MMORPG, CasinoRPG. As of this writing the Kickstarter raised $20,161 from 197 backers. The next step for the persistent virtual world gambling game is a private beta test, though some of that testing will likely be tied to various reward tiers.
Secret World and Age of Conan developer Funcom continues to tighten its belt as part of a restructuring plan it announced last year. Today the company announced that it has closed its Beijing studio and laid off staff in its Canadian and U.S. offices. The Beijing studio was responsible for creating the art and animation for the company's Secret World MMO. Responsibilities of the Beijing studio will be moved to Funcom's U.S. offices. Despite a heavier workload Funcom also reduced the workforce at the Raleigh, North Carolina-based office.
Sony Online Entertainment and Major League Gaming announced that they have teamed up to bring PlanetSide to the MLG's competitive gaming audience.
After announcing that it would launch a planet in Star Wars: The Old Republic where players could engage in same sex relationships with NPC's, the gaming community's reaction has been mixed. The new planet, Makeb, will be launched as part of the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion pack to be released later this year.
But the LGBT community is not happy with the relationships being isolated on one planet or the fact that they will have to buy an expansion pack in order to use it. Some are calling this little wrinkle "pay-to-gay."
ArenaNet's Colin Johanson says that the popular online-focused RPG Guild Wars 2 has managed to sell over three million copies since it was released and launched in August of 2012. He made the announcement as part of an update on the game's official site detailing what new content the company plans to bring to Guild Wars 2 players in the next few months.
Even though Funcom's The Secret World MMO found success after switching from a monthly subscription fee to a free-to-play payment model (more than 70,000 copies of the game were sold in the last four weeks, according to Eurogamer), the company is still forced to move ahead with restructuring, according to Develop.
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.
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.
Jagex Software has decided to spend about half a million pounds on a fancy Runescape TV and marketing campaign. The marketing campaign running in theaters for the 12-year-old MMO is running during showings of The Hobbit in UK and Australian theaters. Publisher Jagex has also bought spots on TV and digital channels for a campaign that runs until January 6th. The TV campaign is being run on E4, Dave, Sky, FX, and Disney XD.
Fox announced that it will shut down its online game based on the popular animated television series Family Guy. The company announced that Family Guy Online will be shutting down for good on January 18, 2013 and that some subscribers would get refunds. Anyone who made in-game purchases between October 22 and December 21, 2012 will receive a refund in early January.
Korean MMO publisher NCsoft will sell its shares in NC Interactive - the company's U.S.-based subsidiary at the end of this month, according to a Reuters report. NCsoft will sell its 809 million shares on Dec. 24 for 78,348,368,000 South Korean wons, or USD $72,926,269.