It’s all coming up Kakao Games these days.
The Korean studio received a large investment package recently that totals $131.6 million. The bundle comes from five external companies, including China’s Tencent, South Korea’s Netmarble, Bluehole Studio, Premier Growth-M&A PEF, and Actozsoft.
So what does Kakao plan to do with its newly laden pockets? The studio has its eyes on global expansion and the acquisition of other studios.
Over in its signature product Black Desert, Kakao and Pearl Abyss are preparing to roll out a new PvP server called Arsha that provides incentives for player conflict. The game is also half-off ($5) on Steam right now through February 19th.
So what’s actually going on for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds? Most of the news we’ve heard about the game this year has been focused around jumping to more platforms or adding more anti-cheat measures, not actual balance tweaks or anything of the sort. The good news is that there does appear to be a plan, and players can rest assured that it’s going to be talked about very soon. Community manager Sammie Kang has promised players that it will be released jut as soon as the details are finalized.
Meanwhile, the game’s numbers on Steam have dropped for the first time since launch, which prompts all sorts of speculation about what might have caused the sudden drop. It could be the lack of development communication, or it could be the anti-cheat measures, or it could be the approach of the game in a localized version in China, or the mobile version of the game (also in China). It could even be coincidence. But we can all start trying to build a narrative about it now, just to occupy ourselves.
Things are looking pretty rosy for Nexon as the studio posted its Q4 2017 financials. Revenue and profit both shot up compared to the year previous, and Dungeon & Fighter has proved to be a smash hit in China.
Nexon reported that it made around $2.2 billion in revenue for 2017, a number that is up 28.3% from 2016. The company attributed the success to increased sales in China and stable economies among the countries in which it does business.
The studio made 72% of its revenue from PC and 28% from mobile. Breaking income down by countries, China was the largest at 43%, followed by Korea (40%), Japan (6%), and North America (6%). Nexon also split its stock at the time of this report, taking it from 440 million shares to 1.4 billion shares.
Earlier this month, the studio was hit by a round of layoffs that may have impacted as many as 20% of the company’s western office.
At long last, your nightmare of having moments in the day when you might not be playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is coming to an end. At least, it is if you live over in China; the game has a mobile version there, and you can check out the mobile gameplay just below. Guess what? It looks exactly like the normal version, but with touchscreen controls. Quelle surprise. It’s also available now in China.
If you’re living this same nightmare of having a few moments of not playing the game, we’re sorry to note that there are currently no announced plans to bring this mobile version of the game to the West, as the mobile version was developed by Tencent over in China. Still, you can watch below and hope. Or just accept that you’ll have to sometimes leave the house and not be able to play. One or the other.
announced today that Trove
is launching in Japan on PS4 this spring, with closed beta coming “soon.” You’ll recall it launched in China last year
“Trion Worlds is focused on bringing our games to people all over the world, and expanding into Japan marks some exciting things for the future,” Trion CEO Scott Hartsman teased. “Trove is playable in over eight languages, with more being added very soon. We are fully aware of Trove’s global appeal, and we’ll only continue to grow and build the experience for even more audiences.”
Meanwhile, the cutesy voxelbox is one of Twitch’s darling this month; if you’re a Twitch Prime subber, you can pick up a bunch of new goodies, including a couple of mounts. Course, you’ll have to link up your Twitch and Trion accounts to get ’em.
Patchy patch patch! It’s patch day for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ test server. On PC, Bluehole says it’s still working on the ongoing anti-cheat measures it’s been promising (yes, Steam’s comments are still filled with demands to region-block China from western servers). The Miramar map has also been buffed out with new stuff, including new buildings and cover “to improve the engagement experience,” more off-road routes, and better spawned loot too.
On Xbox One, this week’s patch tweaks vehicle damage; players will see more damage to vehicle bodies (especially the wheels) with gunfire and grenades, more damage to passengers in crashes, and less damage to players when being rammed by vehicles.
“We’re now serving up chicken dinners to over 4 million players on Xbox,” Bluehole says. “Thank you for your continued support! ”
Meanwhile, Polygon has a report out this week speculating on bizarre but apparently well-sourced rumors that Microsoft is gearing up for a major acquisition. PUBG Corp is indeed on the list of possibilities, along with Electronic Arts and Valve.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds isn’t giving up on performance optimization and cheater crackdowns, you’ll be glad to know. In its most recent Steam post, Bluehole says it’s helped performance by introducing “multiple areas where players gather before the match start” so that everyone’s not swarming together at the spawn point. Likewise, the studio says it’s “testing a new security (anti-cheat) measure that is still under development.”
Of course, if you scroll down the Steam page there, you’ll see a zillion people begging for PUBG to just region-lock China, as western gamers believe loverseas players using VPNs jack up the game – never mind the argument that Chinese players use hacks with impunity. As we’ve previously reported, PUBG is still in early access in China while partner Tencent sanitizes it for its government-approved release.
Players are currently reporting that the test server, at least, is now subject to a ping lock, which is blocking at least some players from joining servers if their ping is over a set limit, which appears to be around 175ms. It is not clear whether this is a tweak that will migrate to the live game.
If you thought Epic Games was being too rough on cheaters in Fortnite by smacking kids with personal lawsuits, wait until you hear what Tencent is up to. The Chinese gaming giant is preparing to (officially) launch PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds there (yes, it’s already playable there via Steam, but in early access). And ahead of that, it’s going after cheaters, specifically the cheat vendors – hard.
Bloomberg reports that the company has worked with Chinese police to arrest 120 people as part of 30 different cases involving cheat programs for the game. According to the publication, the company is trying to crack down on the hacking that pervades its games, specifically PUBG; those convicted under Chinese law could be sentenced to several years in prison, in addition to fines (and yeah, it’s happened before). So maybe don’t be a hacker targeting a megacorp’s video game in China.
It is true that the Hi-Rez Expo has wrapped up for 2018, and we’ll need to wait another 12 months to attend the next one. (Folks should be over the effects of the after party by then!) There’s just something awesome about getting to gather with tons of fans in one place as well speaking with devs face-to-face. Every year has been cool, but this year has something a little extra: Founder and CEO Erez Goren attended and mingled, answering questions and sharing his love for gaming.
Goren hasn’t given many public interviews in years, but between the dev roundtable with President Stew Chisam and bumping into him on the show floor and chatting with him individually, I got to learn a number of fun facts about the philosophy and workings of the studio from the tip top man himself. And it is true, everything did come from Global Agenda!
If there’s one thing that EVE Online
does better than any other MMO on the market today, it’s persistent gameplay on massive scales. The now-famous Bloodbath of B-R5RB
in 2014 involved 7,548 players over the course of almost 24 hours, and the Siege of M-OEE8
at the end of 2016 peaked at 5,300 separate players all piled into the same star system at the same time. Hundreds of thousands of players live and fight in the same single-shard universe, and EVE
‘s largest corporations have more members than the total population on some other MMOs’ shards.
But what about the smaller end of the scale? MMOs aren’t just populated by monolithic organisations bent on galactic domination, and a growing proportion of today’s gamers play online games solo or in smaller groups. Features such as Upwell structures and the new PvE gameplay have clearly been designed with a wide range of gameplay scales in mind, but EVE has never really got past the problem that bigger groups are almost always better. Could the solution to this problem be found in small-scale asymmetric and asynchronous warfare opportunities?
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at why EVE‘s massive scale makes it so compelling, the problem that massive scale introduces, and the case for more asymmetric and asynchronous warfare.
Battle royale? Team shooters? League of Legends
scoffs at these pretenders to the online throne, sitting on top of an e-sports empire that spans the globe. A big part of this empire is in Asia, where e-sports are blowing up huge in China.
Encouraging the spread of this is computer hardware company ASUS, which just dropped $16 million to help build and open an e-sports headquarters in the country. ASUS is a strong participant in the League of Legends professional community, sponsoring a new pro team called the Rogue Warriors that founded this past December.
ASUS recently developed and released a laptop in India specifically designed to cater to e-sports players. The ROG Strix SCAR Edition was put out under ASUS’s Republic of Gamers brand.
“E-sports is gaining tremendous popularity in the country especially game titles like Dota 2 and Counter Strike,” noted National Business Development Manager Arnold Su. “The number of gamers switching from casual gaming to professional is increasing every year at an exponential level.”
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Record of Lodoss War Online, Age of Wushu, Fortnite, EVE Online, ARMS, Path of Exile, Dark and Light, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, all waiting for you after the break!
A couple of weeks ago I covered 20(ish) MMORPGs that we are looking forward to seeing develop, test, and launch in 2018. But as you well may know, Massively OP covers a small university’s worth of “not-so-massively” multiplayer games that have some crossover into the MMO space. We do this because it gives some people much-needed gripe fuel and also because a lot of our readership is also interested in these games.
There is a lot of movement in the multiplayer game space, especially as the larger video game market continues to adapt and hew to MMO design. It’s a blended mess as we continually try to sort these games out into their proper categories, but while we do that, you can enjoy this list of 20 multiplayer games that you should be tracking in 2018. From survival sandboxes to pirate simulators to sequels, here we go!