Obviously, nothing has yet been announced, up to and including a question of whether or not the hire would be relocated or if it would be a remote position. But there’s also nothing saying that the company won’t open a new branch office in the region to oversee a localized version. At the moment, all that can be said for certain is that a watchful eye has been turned upon Southeast Asia, and if you live in that region… well, you may have a localized version of the game soon.
Industry & Business Category
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Everybody’s doing sandbox MMOARGs these days — including Disney.
Disney World in Orlando has been working on a new Star Wars ride, glad news for anyone who barfed on the old one over the last couple of decades. But Disney is getting more than an updated ride: The Star Wars expansion land part of the park nabbed an extensive panel reveal during this past weekend’s Star Wars Celebration, and it definitely shares a bit in common with live-action MMOs.
“We wanted to build new Star Wars stories, new Star Wars destinations,” Disney Creative Exec Scott Trowbridge says, echoing thousands of giddy game devs before him, “but this time you can be in the story.”
To that end, Disney is setting the new area on a new-to-the-franchise planet, within the new trilogy timeline. Attendees will fly the Millennium Falcon as one of the “rides,” and what they do during one trip will affect the trip of the next batch of guests, with “total immersion” as the goal. You’ll also be picking… a faction.
Make My MMO: Star Citizen’s roadmap, Elite Dangerous’ Commanders, and Starfighter’s successful Kickstarter (April 15, 2017)
This week in MMO crowdfunding, it’s been a battle of the space MMOs.
- Elite: Dangerous rolled out its Commanders 2.3 update, introducing what our own Justin dubbed “sitting in cockpits” — you won’t be walking in stations per se, but you will at least be able to roll up impressively detailed avatars and multi-crew your spaceships.
- Late last night, Star Citizen published its 2017 development roadmap, suggesting that 3.0 will arrive this summer, though it’ll be less ambitious in scope than originally planned, as some of its features will be pushed to later in the year.
- And congrats are due to Starfighter Inc., which pulled off a big Kickstarter win earlier this afternoon and takes home over $170,000.
Meanwhile, Ashes of Creation posted some gorgeous new concept art, Dual Universe posted its latest newsletter and video dev diary with alpha footage, Crowfall canceled its weekend playtest but made headway on expanding gender for its classes, Valiance Online showed off its special effects, and Kickstarted Planet Nomads geared up for early access next week.
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.
You can stop fidgeting about what might or might not arrive in Star Citizen this year: Cloud Imperium has released its promised development roadmap for the rest of 2017. The studio stresses that quality will trump everything, that estimates are merely estimates, and that the schedule isn’t all-encompassing, but the words “3.0” and “persistent universe” and “planetary tech” have been enough to send Reddit into a tizzy of excitement.
It’s also sent the community into a tizzy of concern, as it appears the original plans for 3.0 have been trimmed down to get it out the door this summer, with many of its features pushed off to later patches later in the year. According to the newsletter, this is partly the result of Behaviour Interactive ending its subcontract for Cloud Imperium (you MMO folks will know it as the studio behind Eternal Crusade).
Check out the whole shebang below.
Whether you’re a big fan of the e-sports scene or you would be quite happy never hearing about it ever again, you are no doubt aware that a lot of companies are sinking quite a bit of money into it. It’s not just limited to existing e-sports darlings like League of Legends, either, as Blizzard is very clearly targeting the field with Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch, and it’s pretty obvious that Guild Wars 2 wanted a slice of that pie. But a new piece by Joost van Dreunen, CEO of Superdata, brings up a relevant point that is often getting overlooked: With all of these companies investing in the field, where is actual business model to make money off of e-sports?
Van Dreunen points out that the long-term impact of e-sports, both in terms of viability and engagement, has yet to be understood in anything more than the broadest terms and may in fact be part of a shifting of culture. The current emphasis on a very narrow appeal isn’t helping drive long-term engagement, and it raises questions about whether the long-term goal of e-sports is to serve as a business model unto itself or if the goal is basically to use these events as an advertisement for the games in question. It’s well worth reading even if you’re not a fan of the field, as it brings up some interesting points about where the idea of competitive video games will go in the next few years.
Remember last week when SuperData published a report on virtual reality, predicting a “steep rise” in VR adoption as we roll toward 2020? Competing analysis firm Newzoo is a bit more reserved and focuses more on the existing market rather than the future one. In its recent blog piece, it points to mobile VR being the current arena of growth opportunity, echoing SuperData’s point that the Samsung Gear has outsold everything else and dangling the idea that an Apple VR system might disrupt the market and bring in wider adoption.
“There are several factors that will contribute to the mass adoption of mobile VR, including improvement in the quality of the VR experience offered by relatively affordable mobile VR devices such as Google Cardboard, overcoming compatibility issues, and a boost in content that caters to people’s great variety of interests,” Newzoo says. “Additionally, the business model needs to be a good match. An example of this, coming from sports, that could potentially spark the mass market breakthrough for VR: the NBA wraps up its live VR experience in their subscription model. Not offering a single purchase option is a missed opportunity and limits uptake. Another factor at play is the fact that many people have their first VR experience with someone else’s device. The need to own a personal headset is not yet big enough to justify the purchase. ”
Kanneg announced the changeover yesterday in his first producer’s letter, saying that Irving has moved to “a great new opportunity” in the company while Kanneg himself moved up from his previous job as director of live services.
SWTOR’s newest producer gave out his professional and gamer cred résumé: “I’ve been with BioWare/EA and SWTOR for the past six years, where I’ve held a variety of positions, and have always been a very active player with nearly 10,000 hours of gameplay, 28 plus characters and tons of achievements.”
The studio’s Jordan Leithart argues that “one of the biggest draws of survival games is the community,” which is great and all for super social people and extroverts. But a lot of potential players will find themselves overly intimidated by a game where most of the people who meet would rather kill them than take the time and risk to become BFFs. Consequently, the studio is adding joinable factions — three of them, in fact, which’ll sound familiar to MMO players who consider themselves Dark Age of Camelot and Camelot Unchained loyalists.
“My favorite part about factions (along with some other systems that we have in place) is that there is a spot for everyone to help with,” Leithart writes. “If you don’t want to take part in the Reckoning, that’s great. You can spend the time leading up to it gathering resources and crafting the necessary gear to help the faction survive the night. If your idea of fun is to protect your hunter gatherer’s from roaming bands of opponent factions, then you’re needed for the faction to thrive.”
Perhaps the more interesting news for all fans of the blocky sandbox is what’s happening after the Megalithic patch; Trion is promising that 2017 will see “the ability to unlock and designate a sub-class to gain new unique abilities on your active class”; major upgrades for clubs, including levels, ranks, and rewards; a “massive increase” to mastery rank caps and prizes; and something called plasma fishing.
Congrats are due this week to the University of Texas at Arlington, whose Heroes of the Storm e-sports team pretty much walked away handily with the Heroes of the Dorm trophy given at the Las Vegas National Championships on Saturday. UT Arlington finishes its competitive year with a 29-0 record and blots out its huge loss to Arizona State last year.
The five students pick up free college tuition for up to three years (up to $75,000 total) as their prize, so not a bad deal at all. Google says tuition at UT Arlington is just under $10,000, which is dirt cheap in the States, in case you’re wondering, so Blizz got away easy!
In other Heroes of the Storm news, Kotaku has a whimsical report out on two lovebirds who met while playing Heroes of the Storm, and against really all the odds everywhere, married each other last week. They didn’t cosplay at their wedding, in case you’re wondering, but they considered it!
Niantic’s latest Pokemon Go post might seem like a mundane thank-you note for all its many awards, but there are two bits buried within worth noting. The first revolves around the game’s stats, and the second suggests improvements to gameplay.
“We continue to be inspired by the passion of the 65+ million people from around the world playing Pokémon GO each month. We’re still at the beginning of the journey and there’s a lot more to come. With spring arriving in the northern hemisphere, players can look forward to all new cooperative social gameplay experiences in Pokémon GO that will give Trainers new and exciting reasons to get back into the sunshine.”
Niantic is counting 65M players, which adds to the perspective we already had that the game has been downloaded 650M times and made a billion bucks. Earlier this month, we reported on a ComScore data release that suggested the game has fallen from its peak of 28.5M daily users to 5M.
Earlier this month, we covered SuperData’s report on the state of gambling practices in digital games, in which one of the analysis firm’s claims was that Valve’s ordeal last year — whereby government regulatory boards investigated the company’s level of complicity in illegal gambling of Dota skins — have put a chill on other studios considering similar arrangements, to say nothing of the CS:GO legal drama. “No other company wants to be next,” SuperData said.
But apparently there’s one company: Wargaming. The studio’s Head of Global Competitive Gaming, Mohamed Fadl, told Gamespot that betting in gaming could become “one of the major incomes for esports or streaming platforms.”
“You’re stupid to say betting is bad,” Fadl reportedly said. “It’s a natural part of sports.”
Have you been itching to pop into The Elder Scrolls Online ahead of the launch of Morrowind in June? Good news for you: Bethsoft has just announced it’s plotting a free play week beginning tomorrow and ending on April 18th. The event is for PC, PS4, and Xbox One (and Mac!), so you’ll have seven days to try it out without dropping a penny.
On a fresh account, you’ll have access to the whole base game (but not the DLC). You also pick up 500 crowns to spend in the cash shop. “Any characters created, Crown Packs purchased, or Crown Store items bought, as well as any progress made during the Free Play Week will carry over when you purchase the game,” ZeniMax says, in the hopes that you will indeed purchase said game. Plus:
“During the Free Play Week, you’ll enjoy a discounted price on either The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited (the base game) or The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition, which includes the base game as well as the four major DLC packs: Imperial City, Orsinium, Thieves Guild, and The Dark Brotherhood.”