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70% of Lineage M’s launch players were over 30 years old

The Lineage franchise continues its unstoppable runaway train force in South Korea — this time with Lineage M.

Korea’s Pulse News reports that Lineage M now counts over 10 million players in its first month. The game launched overseas just a month ago with 5.5 million preorders; as of two weeks ago, it had already earned $89 million in revenue, what Pulse calls the “rapidest gain in the Korean game industry.”

Intriguingly, Pulse quotes a WiseApp stat that 70% of Lineage M’s launch-day users were over 30 years old, compared to 29% under 30. Is it a shift in the MMO market, a shift in the mobile market, or a marker for Lineage’s overall base?

SuperData’s June report doesn’t include Lineage M, but the Netmarble-backed Lineage 2 Revolution made the top 10 for mobile revenue in May and indeed set monthly revenue records in Korea — which Lineage M aims to break.

Expect NCsoft’s next quarterly report next month.

Source: Pulse News. Thanks, Sally!

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PSA: Today is your last chance to buy a Kritika Online founder’s pack

Been on the fence about buying in to Kritika Online? It’s time to make a decision now, because the game’s founder’s packs are going away very soon. Tomorrow, even. So you have today (and no longer) to buy in the founder’s pack and get things like exclusive costumes and pets.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that the costumes in question that serve as headliners are only available in the most expensive founder’s pack, which clocks in at $99.99. The cheaper versions offer no costumes but a variety of other benefits. You can decide for yourself if it’s worth the price up front or not; you’ll just have to make that decision soon before the last pack is sold and they’re gone forever. So no pressure. (You can take a look at our stream of the game to catch a glimpse of what it looks like in play, too.)

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Star Citizen’s latest concept ship isn’t a ship, and it’s pushed the game to $155M funding

Star Citizen’s latest concept ship isn’t a ship — it’s a freakin’ rover. Dubbed The Tumbril Cyclone, the vehicle’s multiple variants will run up to $70 for those who buy in.

“The Cyclone provides multiple interactive displays to give both the driver and co-pilot ultimate control of their vehicle and its systems. The Co-pilot’s seat not only gives the ability to survey the area, but also provides controls to additional systems provided by the various modules. […] The new X-TEC tires are the perfect solution for off-road vehicles. These articulated treads can change their configuration to handle soft and loose terrain or harder surfaces to provide equal traction, no matter the environment.”

Perhaps the bigger news is that sales of the ship this weekend have pushed crowdfunding for the sci-fi MMO to a grand total of $155,000,000. Going on $155.2M, in fact.

Reddit is chattering with details on which ships the Cyclone will fit into, if you’re worried about that. Is there a point to them in a game world where you can land on planetary surfaces in your spaceship? Maybe. Expect the full Q&A later this week.

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RuneScape is a massive hit on Twitch

Time and again, we here at Massively OP have noted how RuneScape seems to be incredibly underestimated by the larger MMO community. For how popular it is, it never seems to get the respect and attention from the core MMORPG community that its online contemporaries do.

That is, until you head over to Twitch. According to the June viewing charts over on NewZoo, the fantasy MMORPG drew in an astounding 6.7 million hours of viewership over that month alone. This is enough to put it in 11th place, well ahead of titles like Destiny, Minecraft, Black Desert, and H1Z1: King of the Kill. It’s RuneScape’s world — we only watch it from afar.

The top 10 of the viewership chart is filled with the usual suspects, including much of Blizzard’s roster (World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm) and the dominant MOBAs of our time (League of Legends and Dota 2).

Source: NewZoo. Thanks Sally!

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SuperData June 2017: ROBLOX, GTAV, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds are making bank

SuperData’s global digital games revenue summary for June 2017 is out, and it’s a strange melange of huge shifts and no changes at all.

On the PC front, there’s been movement at the bottom of the list, as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and ROBLOX (seriously) have kicked CSGO and New Westward Journey Online II to the curb and knocked World of Tanks and Overwatch down a few pegs. World of Warcraft remains at #6, thanks to last month’s recombination of east and west. It’s a weird saga.

On consoles, however, Overwatch inched up a place and Grand Theft Auto V surged to take the top spot, in spite of its messy modder confrontations this summer. “Despite negative press over community-created-mods decisions, Grand Theft Auto Online experienced its most successful month this June on the back of [its] newest DLC,” SuperData says.

The mobile category has seen a huge shakeup as well, as Honour of Kings leaped from 10th place to 1st, pushing down Clash of Clans and Clash Royale — the firm estimates Honour of Kings made over $150 million in June. Pokemon Go remains noticeably absent from the top 10 lists this summer, but SuperData gives it a nod anyway.

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Final Fantasy XIV sees a price hike for Brazilian and Russian players

Shock! Dismay! The prices for Brazilian and Russian players have risen for Final Fantasy XIV! But to confuse the issue a little further, they’ve risen to… just about the same level as everyone else pays worldwide. According to the official statement on the forums, this was simply a result of adjusting the pricing exchanges for different currencies, making sure that everyone worldwide is paying about the same amount.

Player outrage over the issue is unsurprisingly at peak volume, with the two main points of contention being that the adjustments were not announced ahead of time in any format (and indeed, even Square-Enix’s own staff seems to have been somewhat surprised) and that the price adjustment fails to take into account different incomes in different regions. It’s not the first time in recent days that we’ve seen some dispute over localized pricing for different regions, which if nothing else goes to show the difficulty in operating a global game with servers open to all regions.

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Make My MMO: Albion Online joins the list of launched crowdfunded MMORPGs (July 22, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, indie sandbox Albion Online — whose 250,000 founders reportedly crowdfunded the game for almost $10,000,000 — formally launched. The buy-to-play isometric game has hardcore old-school flair with a potentially alienating PvP template, but it’s brought plenty of PvE content along for the ride in an attempt to woo a more diverse playerbase.

Meanwhile, Project Gorgon made progress on its 64-bit test build, OrbusVR plans to open its alpha next weekend, City of Titans released a new lore piece, Camelot Unchained showed off more of its UI, Ashes of Creation demoed arenas, Path of Exile picked a date for Fall of Oriath, and Crowfall pushed its very first trial campaigns to testers. Oh yeah, and some Star Citizen drama.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

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Betawatch: Dark and Light shines a light on early access (July 21, 2017)

For everything, there is a season, turn turn turn. We’ve bid farewell to Albion Online this week, as it has launched properly and thus no longer qualifies as being in beta, but we also can say hello to the early access period for Dark and Light. Seriously, that just came out of nowhere, after ages of delays. It’s kind of awesome like that. So hooray for new early access!

We also bid farewell to Gigantic as it reaches its official launch. It’s like everyone graduating from college, although in this case college is full of supposed tests that are mostly a matter of building notoriety and… huh. That analogy works surprisingly well.

More testing news? Of course, friends, of course.

Well, after all of that I’m sure everyone wants to retreat to the safety of the list of games in testing, yes? I know I do. It’s down below, and you can feel free to scroll through it and let us know if we’re missing something important in the comments.

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No, exploitative gacha mechanics are not a good idea for western devs

We’ve been talking about exploitative gacha games and related business models on Massively OP for a long time, most recently and notably in depth earlier this year when we covered how Japan, Korea, China, and Singapore have all passed laws to take the model down a peg. In fact, China’s newest anti-gacha laws have since been used to target MMOs, card games, and even Overwatch’s skins. So given all the crackdowns, you’d think that the trend would be to avoid it, right? That industry analysts and watchers on this side of the pond would be wary?

But no. Bizarrely, there’s a new GamesIndustry.biz article this week in which AppLovin Managing Director Johannes Heinze advocates that western developers start including gachapon mechanics, even citing Pokemon Go as a good example of how well it works. He argues that gacha requires:

  • A large, varied set of content
  • A strong desire from the player to collect as many items as possible
  • A game where gacha content is necessary for players to progress
  • An effective mechanic for duplicate content (to prevent player churn from pulling too many duplicates)

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Blizzard adds a Diablo III senior designer, lays off audio director, and ends XP and Vista support

From zombies to demons, game designer Harrison G. Pink is no stranger to bizarre apocalypses. Pink formerly worked on Telltale Games’ hit Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands titles, but nowadays he has a new address: Blizzard Entertainment.

Pink announced on Twitter this week that he was snapped up by the studio to work on Diablo III as a senior game designer. The action-MMO could certainly use a shot of new blood as it dealt with a shaky Patch 2.6 rollout and questions about the game’s future in the studio’s portfolio.

Meanwhile, Gamasutra reports that Blizzard’s in-house senior audio director has been let go by the studio after 12 years of service, apparently in favor of freelance contractors. Russell Brower explains that “as the company has grown, the topography of the Sound team has adjusted accordingly, and the last couple of years have been no exception. With the success of a ‘sound de-centralization’ initiative, my current position of overall Sr. Audio Director/Composer is no longer relevant and is being eliminated.”

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Massively Overthinking: Building a better MMORPG economy

We are on a roll with the epic questions for Overthinking lately! “The recent article about monetization got me thinking about just how much most modern MMOs are still trying to replicate real-world capitalist economies,” MOP Patron Avaera begins.

“Virtual currency is usually earned proportional to various measures of virtual effort that are intended to be wealth-generating activities – selling loot earned from skillful PvE hunting, selling crafted goods made from resources gathered over time, owning items or land that generates tradeable material over time. However, virtual effort doesn’t have the quite the same limitations, scarcity, and creativity as real-world effort, and these systems seem prone to exploitation by users/bots that can easily outmatch casual players in terms of how much virtual effort and time they can expend, leading to various RMT problems and artificially distorted economies. How would you go about avoiding this problem, if you had the god-like powers of a game designer? Is there a way to set up a virtual economy so that it isn’t prone to exploitation by bots or gold-farmers, and will we ever see a virtual game currency that can truly be exchanged with a real one?”

I posed Avaera’s question to our staff to mull over.

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SuperData’s new report suggests multiplayer console gamers are more susceptible to DLC and RMT than ever

Gamers talk a big talk about horse armor DLC and pay-to-win and the evils of cash shops, but y’all keep buying anyway.

That’s according to gaming research analysis firm SuperData, which today released an excerpt from its pricey report on digital console revenue for 2017. More than half of all digital console revenue this year, the firm says, will come from “additional content” like DLC and cash-shop microtransactions. That number is half again as high for the top-earning console games from the last few years.

Fully “39% of first-year additional content revenue for all titles is made in the first 3-to-6 months, leaving game publishers with a tight time frame to release new content,” argues SuperData. “Digital console consumers are hungry for more content as soon as they are done with the core gameplay. Most single player games have a gameplay timeframe between 10-to-40 hours within their single-player mode. It is not hard to see why over a third of console players believe that publishers should release content every 3-to-6 months. Over a fourth of them believe additional content should be released at least once a month. Publishers are warned to be wary of releasing content too close to the release date, since consumers see that tactic as profiting off content that should otherwise have been released with the full game.”

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Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott backs Neverdie’s ‘etherium blockchain gaming’ venture

I often joke with our readers that Massively OP is not an MMO uptime monitor, but darn if we don’t feel like a Richard Garriott uptime monitor lately — love him or hate him, the man is on one hell of a PR tour for his book and Portalarium’s crowdfunding. So what’s one of the founding fathers of the MMORPG genre and the current boss at Shroud of the Avatar doing today? Boosting Neverdie Studios.

So let’s back up. Remember back in 2005 when when a Project Entropia player bought an asteroid in the game for $100,000 and then flipped it a few years later for more than six times that, ultimately setting a Guinness record and claiming to be the “first gamer to make a million dollars inside a virtual world”? That player was Jon “Neverdie” Jacobs, and Neverdie Studios is his real-world secure bitcoin-like-trading venture promoting “Etherium Blockchain Gaming,” which amounts to peer-to-peer online money trading and is of particular to interest to online gaming studios. The company has apparently already raised $2 million in a pre-sale and has now launched an “initial coin offering” (ICO) whereby people can invest in the tech.

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