Paradox Interactive is making a World of Darkness werewolf game

Those still licking their wounds over the years-old demise of the World of Darkness CCP MMO can howl with delight that IP-owner Paradox Interactive is further exploring the franchise in an upcoming werewolf title.

Paradox announced this week that it is facilitating the creation of a Werewolf: The Apocalypse adaptation. The game sounds like a single-player experience, as the gamer will take on the role of a werewolf warrior attempting to "save the world with fang and claw."

Cyanide Studio is handling the actual development of the game, which will come out on both consoles and PC. It may not be the game that MMO fans had hoped to see, but it is still nice to see Paradox utilizing the license in some way, shape, or wereform.

CCP Games sold White Wolf and its IPs to Paradox Interactive back in October 2015 following a failed attempt at producing a World of Darkness MMORPG.


Betawatch: The Repopulation changes hands (January 20, 2017)

The good news for fans of The Repopulation is that the game is coming back online. The bad news is... well, it's completely changed hands, with Idea Fabrik (owners of the Hero Engine) taking the game and making it their own. Will it be as good as it could have been? Will it release and be stable? We just don't know right now. But it's coming back. The owners are also starting just by bringing the alpha back online, lest you expect a whole new game out of the gate.

And there's more beta news! Oh, boy, is there ever more beta news.

And yes, there's a list, and it's just below. Did we miss something in there? Let us know down in the comments. Do you want to share your opinions on this week's beta news? Do so in the comments. Sharing feelings about betas? That's what the comment section is for, folks, don't let us stop you.

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Fox creates virtual and augmented reality games studio

Emerging from the efforts of Fox Innovation Lab, a new games studio called FoxNext has arisen.

Fox announced the new studio this week, saying that it will consolidate current gaming efforts while pursuing new titles. These include "virtual and augmented reality productions," such as Fox Innovation's 2016 The Martian VR Experience and upcoming projects based on the Aliens and Planet of the Apes franchises. Salil Mehta has been named president of FoxNext.

"Extending our storytelling to new platforms in new ways is a constant focus for us as we look to build more touch points with consumers every day. Building on the momentum we’ve already seen in this area via the Fox Innovation Lab, FoxNext represents a natural next step in defining our long-term vision in this arena," commented Twentieth Century Fox Film CEO Stacey Snider.


EverQuest senior game designer Josh Augustine moves over to World of Warcraft

Former PC Games editor and EverQuest senior game designer Josh Augustine announced yesterday that he's made a move to a position on a different MMORPG: World of Warcraft.

"I'm overjoyed to announce that I'm joining the World of Warcraft quest design team at Blizzard," Augustine wrote on Twitter. "One of my life goals and a huge honor!"

Augustine previously worked on several of SOE and Daybreak's titles during his tenure at the studio, including the original EverQuest, the ill-fated EverQuest Next, and Landmark.

Source: Twitter


Quantic Foundry's findings on WoW, SWTOR, and gender

Quantic Foundry, the gaming analytics consulting firm we've been following since late 2015 thanks to its Gamer Motivation Model, has a new blog post out this week that purports to break down participation rate in various gaming genres, including MMOs, by gender.

Parsed from 270,000 self-submitted surveys gamers have submitted to date -- 18.5% of which are from women -- Quantic's data appear to reinforce some of the basic stereotypes in gaming: two-thirds of match 3 gamers are women, almost all tactical shooter fans are dudebros, women play more high-fantasy MMOs than sci-fi MMOs, that sort of thing. But there are some interesting surprises. For example, a smaller percentage of World of Warcraft players are women than the genre numbers on the whole.

"23% of World of Warcraft gamers are women. This is substantially lower than the group average (36%). A lot of game researchers (Nic and I included) focused on studying WoW as an exemplar of online gaming, but it looks like WoW was not only an outlier in terms of market success, but also in terms of its demographics relative to other games in the genre."

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The Daily Grind: Is in-game advertising the MMO genre's post-lockbox future?

Massively OP reader Sally Bowls pointed us to a fun piece on Frankengadget this week about Final Fantasy XV and its overt product placement. "Final Fantasy XV tricked me into buying Cup Noodles" through a "beautiful, devious combination of empathy and nostalgia," the author laments. The story content promoting the noodles seems like the sort of cheesy fake marketing you'd get out of a Mass Effect game -- I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite X on the Citadel! -- only it's real.

Sally suggests that we're all still fighting the lockbox gambling battle -- and losing -- while the marketing departments of online game studios are already dreaming up their next trick, which might just be an old trick that never took hold in MMOs, at least not yet. "I think the next outrage is going to be ads and product placement," Sally writes. What do you think? Is in-game advertising the MMO genre's post-lockbox future? And if it is, do you prefer that to lockboxes?

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Pokémon Go made $950 million in 2016, but players aren't walking as much

There's no doubt that last year was phenomenal for Pokémon Go, as the popular app racked up an astounding $950 million in revenue by the end of 2016.

A study by App Annie credited Pokémon Go's success to the combination of simple mechanics, social features, AR gameplay, and the popularity of the Pokémon franchise. "To put Pokémon Go’s success in a broader perspective, its global consumer spend in 2016 exceeded the total worldwide box office gross of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice," the study said.

One of the touted benefits of the augmented reality game is how it got players moving. According to Niantic, collectively players logged 8.7 billion kilometers walked so far. However, a study in a British medical journal found that while most players started out by walking much more in the first week of play, by week six they were back to their old habits and any health benefits from the game were negated.


Wizards of the Coast forms new digital games studio led by Jeffrey Steefel

Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons might be getting an online upgrade in the near future. In a letter written this week to the Wizards of the Coast community, President Chris Cocks told fans that the company under his new leadership would be pursuing "exciting moves" to deliver better digital experiences to its players.

To  help with this, the company has formed a digital games studio led by former LOTRO Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel and staffed with other MMO and games industry vets. The studio will handle Magic Online and other video game initiatives involving Wizards properties. Wizards is also building a publishing team to bring these games to "unexpected settings, genres, and platforms."

Cocks teased some possible projects that the studio might be creating: "What would it be like to throw fireballs as a Planeswalker in an MMO or quest for treasure with your friends in a D&D augmented-reality game?"

Source: Wizards of the Coast. Cheers, Vaeris.


Perfect Ten: The MMOs with the most unclear futures in 2017

A little while back, I took a look at the healthiest games in the MMO space at this time. That was a nice, uplifting list, wasn't it? And all of those titles continue to do just fine, even if one or two might have had a few bits of shocking news along the way.

Unfortunately, this is not an industry in which health is assured. Games can be high-quality and beloved, but they can still be shut down by outside forces. And that's not counting games that just come out in the wrong time period or launch in an unrecoverable state.

That may sound grim, but we're already staring at the first two shutdowns of 2017 in the near future, and both of the titles being killed are surprises. One of them might have wound up on this list if it weren't being shut down, but at this point, it is. So let's look at the MMOs with the most unclear futures and start hoping for the best.

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Palmer Luckey took the stand in the ZeniMax/Oculus lawsuit

The lawsuit between Oculus and ZeniMax Studios is a complex one, but you knew that the person behind the genesis of Oculus and the Oculus Rift wouldn't be able to avoid the stand during this trial. Co-founder Palmer Luckey took the stand on Wednesday to argue that none of the information from ZeniMax was used in developing the Oculus Rift, while the prosecution tried to point out Luckey's own technical inexperience and the shady circumstances involving skirted NDAs.

Essentially, the question comes down to whether or not former id Software CTO John Carmack brought proprietary information from ZeniMax over to Oculus; if he decisively didn't, then ZeniMax's suit has no merit, but if he decisively did, then Oculus' defense is dead in the water. We'd say it's up to the reader to decide who's telling the truth, but at this point it's really up to the courts following Luckey's confused and somewhat flustered testimony.

Source: Polygon


Blizzard defeats Bossland bot-maker in German supreme court ruling

Score one for Blizzard: The gaming giant managed a win in its long struggle against German bot-maker and plague-on-honest-gaming Bossland GmbH.

The German Federal Court of Justice this week overturned earlier lower court rulings to determine that Bossland's HonorBuddy bot program for World of Warcraft is in fact in violation of anti-competition laws.

You'll recall that Bossland creates, distributes, and sells bots for Blizzard's games, which Blizz has ardently argued violates its copyrights and costs it exorbitant amounts of money to fight in-game and out. In May of 2015, Bossland convinced a German court to deny Blizzard's request for an injunction against it, which prompted Blizzard to sue Bossland's American contractor in a California federal court. That suit was ultimately dismissed, but when said American contractor cooperated with the authorities, Bossland absurdly accused Blizzard of copyright infringement for its acquisition of the Heroes of the Storm StormBuddy bot's source code. Let that sink in for a minute.

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Warface is bringing on a new publisher in February

Starting in February, online shooter Warface will have a new company at its back. Crytek announced yesterday that will take over publishing duties in North America and Europe, allowing the developer to focus on, well, developing.

The partnership should provide additional benefits to players, with an anticipated increase in content updates and planned cross-regional e-sport activities. The two companies are hoping to see "considerable growth" of the title following the move.

All accounts will be handed off from Crytek to come February, and there will be some action needed on the part of players to assist in this. Crytek said that all characters, items, and progress will be saved during the transition.

Source: Crytek


Jack Emmert is answering DCUO questions on Twitch right now

Daybreak has not had the best couple of weeks. No, wait, let me start over. Daybreak has not had the best couple of years. But some of Daybreak's MMORPGs appear to be doing just fine. Want to hear from one of them?

I'm talking about DC Universe Online, of course, and today, Daybreak Austin Studio CEO Jack Emmert -- yep, that Jack Emmert -- is hopping on Twitch to answer player questions and hopefully instill some confidence.

"We won't be announcing new initiatives or release dates," Senior Community Manager Mepps warns, "so come with your questions, feedback, and thoughts about the game as it is now and about our ongoing projects." You can also post your questions or see what's already been asked on the official forums. The stream begins at 3 p.m. EST today, which is right as this article is going live; watch it with us down below.

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