business model

Make My MMO: Star Citizen’s Star Kitten, Project Gorgon’s gorgeousness (April 22, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen built on the contentious infodump of last weekend with the news that it’s running a contest to encourage backers to, well, bring in more backers. Those who do earn a chance to win the big prize (a free trip to Gamescom in Cologne, Germany) or the little prizes, and those are what have players scratching the heads in confusion, as they’re themed around Star Kitten, an in-universe character that appears to salute… Hello Kitty?

Meanwhile, Ashes of Creation picked May 1st for its impending Kickstarter, Project Gorgon got pretty (!), Shroud of the Avatar and Grim Dawn and Path of Exile all previewed upcoming content in videos, Crowfall penciled in more pre-alpha test dates, City of Titans dropped a lore bomb, Hellion previewed its crew quarters, and TUG updated backers on its progress.

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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Darkfall: Rise of Agon is free to try for the next few days

As you might recall, Darkfall: Rise of Agon is set to launch in early May, which means that its beta program is currently winding down. Before the beta ends entirely, the team is inviting anyone who wants a look at the game to try it out for free. All you have to do is to create an account and download the game through Steam, and free play is yours until the beta shuts down on Monday, April 24th.

Free access isn’t the only topic on the table, not by far. Rise of Agon’s online store is now live, with subscriptions and currency on sale at 10% off. The standard subscription is set at $9.99 for 30 days of game time, with discounts for multiple months purchased. Players who previously purchased a Legend pack can now reserve their character name for the May launch.

Finally, the launch trailer and overview video are here, so give them a watch after the jump and see if it kindles your interest in the MMO reboot!

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The Exiled goes free-to-play for its third season

The Exiled, the PvP MMO formerly known as Das Tal, is making some business model changes.

When it launched into early access back in February, it did so under an essentially old-school B2P model, complete with a seven-day limited free trial. That trial has now been dissolved, or rather made unlimited, and replaced by a fully free-to-play period that will last through all of season three.

“In order to make it easier for new players to get into The Exiled we have decided to get rid of the 7-day trial period during Season #3. Yes, that means that you and all of your friends can play The Exiled for free for the coming four weeks. Just start the game and you’re in. You can (and should) still buy a Supporter Pack to unlock more character slots and get unique visuals for your character but it is not required anymore to play the game.”

The buyable upgrade packs still exist, and it’s not entirely clear whether future seasons will adopt the same model — this could be just a test to get more players hooked.

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Video: Everything you need to know about Star Wars: The Old Republic’s 5.2 War for Iokath, live today

After a week-long delay, Star Wars: The Old Republic launches its first major patch to the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion as Update 5.2: The War For Iokath today. The update continues your story directly where Eternal Throne left off and reintroduces classic companions Malavai Quinn and Elara Dorne.

Creative Director Charles Boyd spoke at length and answered a few of our most pressing questions about the update — everything from Quinn and Galactic Command ranks to raiding dynamics and win trading. Boyd doesn’t shy away from addressing any of them. Watch our interview with him in the video below to get caught up on everything coming in the update — plus check out the update’s official trailer!

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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.

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The Game Archaeologist: SOE’s The Agency

The graveyard of Sony Online Entertainment and Daybreak Game Company is certainly full enough to be considered a threat if there was ever a zombie uprising among MMORPGs. From PlanetSide to Free Realms, there are plenty of live games that were disposed of in this grim fictional burial ground. But there are also those stillborn titles that never had the change to make or break in a live environment. EverQuest Next might be the most fresh in our minds, but go back a handful of years and you might have seen players lamenting the loss of a different promising SOE game: The Agency.

The Agency seems like a natural fit for the studio’s focus on first-person shooters and a willingness to branch out from strictly fantasy territory. Instead of dragons or stormtroopers, players in this game were to face off against terrorist organizations and dastardly spy agencies, all in the pursuit of living out the ultimate James Bond fantasy.

But instead of sitting on our desktop, The Agency exists only in a forgotten corner of this imaginary cemetery. Today, let us tenderly brush off its worn tombstone and remember what we can about this canceled spy shooter.

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SuperData CEO discusses the money problem of e-sports

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.

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Newzoo analysts weigh in on virtual reality adoption

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. ”

Source: Newzoo via [a]listdaily

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Dauntless will feature controller support, explains free-to-play business model

How rock and roll is the upcoming co-op monster hunting game Dauntless? You don’t even have to use a keyboard and mouse if you want to, as the game will also support controllers. The news comes to us in a preview video in which a developer fields the question of whether or not the game will allow this: “Oh yeah, Dauntless supports controllers, baby!”

Players have been cobbling together other scraps of information about this 2017 title as founder’s alpha is heading to us soon. The devs also revealed some details about the game’s founder’s packs and free-to-play model. “Ultimately, because we believe that the best games are played with your friends, we decided if we kept our player hats on and stayed true to our vision, we could bring this game to more folks through F2P,” the team wrote.

Check out all of the news for yourself in the videos below.

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WildStar’s double XP event returns this weekend

Saddle up, cupcake, because you’re about to experience the fast lane in WildStar!

Carbine announced yesterday that is has another Double XP X-Plosion event coming up this weekend. From April 14th through the 17th, players will earn double XP from all sources if they’re still leveling up or double elder gems if they’re at level 50. The studio notes that the event stacks with other bonuses, including the subscription.

“We recommend maximizing Protostar’s very generous Double XP X-Plosion! by tackling adventures, expeditions, and dungeons, which you can queue for by using the content finder,” the studio advised.

Source: WildStar

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Skyforge is live on the PlayStation 4 for real

In the days of early access, endless open betas, soft launches, and head starts, it’s still important to note when a game is well and truly launched. Skyforge has launched for real on the PlayStation 4 today, meaning that this is its real and absolute launch. No backsies. It’s live and fully free-to-play and that’s just the way it is. You can even check out a launch trailer just below, that’s how launched it is.

Of course, you can purchase item packs to celebrate the release and get various goodies along the way. The game also does not require a PS Plus subscription to play, so you needn’t worry about paying money to one service to play a free-to-play title. Seriously, download the game and go today if you want to smash things up as a deity on your console.

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One Shots: Eight-bit vista

One of my favorite MMO April Fools of all time is Guild Wars 2’s playable Super Adventure Box. It’s so brilliantly designed and executed that it goes far beyond mere joke territory and became an institution. A fun game-within-a-game.

Reader Little Bugbear took advantage of an initial foray into SAB to take what I consider to be a very arresting picture. It’s almost a silhouette of a character lounging against an 8-bit skybox. “Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy a nice day of gaming,” Little Bugbear said.

Before we get into the rest of this week’s lineup, I want to share the news that we’ve made some further improvements to our comment system that should allow you to share your screenshots in bigger and bolder glory, especially when you post one at a time!

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Make My MMO: Ship of Heroes’ canceled Kickstarter, Edengrad’s early access (April 8, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, City of Heroes-inspired superhero MMORPG Ship of Heroes launched its Kickstarter, seeking $400,000. But three days later, Heroic Games canceled the crowdfunding attempt, saying it believed it “went to Kickstarter too early.” The new plan is to return to development, raise awareness, take donations through the website, and retool development based on its current level of funding, meaning a potentially smaller but earlier game.

In happier news, congrats are due to post-apoc sandbox Edengrad, which successfully launched into early access. Edengrad was funded last year for over $50,000 US thanks to Kickstarter backers.

Meanwhile, Dual Universe reached another stretch goal, Worlds Adrift launched its 6.0 update, Grim Dawn detailed the Necromancer class coming in its first expansion, Elite: Dangerous dropped its cash shop prices permanently, Starfighter Inc. continues to inch its way toward its Kickstarter end, and Shroud of the Avatar is in the midst of another free trial period.

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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