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Square-Enix announces ‘survival action shooter’ Left Alive

Square-Enix announced LEFT ALIVE this morning, a “survival action shooter” that is permanently in capslock mode apparently.

We don’t know a whole lot right now as we’ve just got the trailer from the a PlayStation press conference in Japan and a tease that more is on the way at the Tokyo Game Show later this month, but we do know it’s a new IP in spite of its similarity to Front Mission, and it’s destined for the PS4 and PC (via Steam) at some point in 2018. It doesn’t technically say multiplayer, but cross your fingers? The trailer’s down below.

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Scientists say Pokemon Go helps relieve stress in Japanese workers

A new Japanese study in the acclaimed science journal Nature suggests that Pokemon Go players experienced a drop in “psychological distress” because of the game. The paper gives psychological distress a specific definition, but it’s easier to explain it as the amount of “vigor” someone has compared to depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

While the study had a control group of non-players and used a total sample size of 2,500 fully employed Japanese workers, at this point in the research game, I’ve started to become less impressed. While I’d love to sing praises of POGO, there’s a reason most people look at the game as a fad, and the research here only reinforced this. Let’s take a look at the study and what it really means.

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Destiny 2 shatters PlayStation records and tops a million concurrent players for over a week

It sounds like the suits are pretty pleased with sales performance so far. In a press release, Bungie announced that the multiplayer shooter has already set a new record for the first day of sales in the PlayStation Store, overshooting its predecessor’s achievements in that area.

While the studio wasn’t giving specific numbers for units solid on either console, Bungie did say that Destiny 2 has racked up eight days of topping a million players enjoying the game concurrently. We do know that the game has topped retail charts in Japan, cranking out over 50K sales in its first week.

As for that unfortunate and now-scrubbed armor design that drew unintentional reference to hate groups, Bungie promised that it would be more diligent in its vetting process going forward.

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Phantasy Star Online 2 is coming to Nintendo Switch… in Japan only

At what point is Sega officially just taunting Phantasy Star Online 2 fans in North America? It’s hard to be sure, but the announcement that PSO2 is coming to the Nintendo Switch probably crosses that line. Because it’s true, the title will be playable on the Switch… in Japan. No American release, just in Japan.

The port announcement came as part of the most recent Nintendo Direct announcement, and it may very well put a lie to the speculation that Sega’s refusal to release the game was due to their PC-heavy strategy and business deals preventing a proper release on Steam. So why is it only in Japan? Who knows. The important thing is that Japanese players can use the Switch and you cannot. (Unless, of course, you’re reading this from Japan. If that’s the case, well, hi!)

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Pearl Abyss is building four more MMOs as Black Desert swells to 7.65M registered users

We’ve been tracking Black Desert developer Pearl Abyss’ path to IPO since last spring, when multiple Korean outlets began reporting that the company sought a listing on the Korean stock exchange this coming fall. A few weeks ago, the company’s IPO press conference let loose a few more tidbits MMO players might be intrigued to learn. As parsed from Invenglobal’s translation, here are the highlights:

  • Black Desert took four years to make and currently operates in 100 countries. “The total RU [registered users] is more than 7.65 million based on July 2017, and the total sales are approximately ₩340b [$301M].”
  • As of the end of July 2017, PA has sold 530K copies of the game through Steam, amounting to $1.3M in sales. “The title was placed No. 2 of the total sales on Steam on June 20th.” (There’s a section that notes the game cost only ₩1.2b ($1M) to make, “a relatively small cost […] compared to other MMORPGs,” but we assume they’re talking about just the engine specifically there.)

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Destiny 2’s console edition has officially launched around the globe

Did you stay up last night until midnight, waiting for your turn at Destiny 2? Were you watching the Bungie feed as it posted launches around the globe, its social media intern hopelessly confused about which countries constitute Central Europe? Did you take a “sick” day today only to wait in queues all night and be unable to form your guild while griping on Reddit about pay-to-win? Or were you vicariously watching the hoopla through streamers who’ve already beaten the game in just 12 hours?

Welcome to the launch of an MMO!

We’ve rounded up all our Destiny 2 news, plus the official launch trailer, the epic dance trailer from Japan, the launch message from Bungie, and our hands-on with the game from earlier this summer. PC players, you’ll have to keep dancing until October 24th. Sorry dudes and dudettes.

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The Game Archaeologist: Furcadia

Let’s face it: There isn’t really a huge pool of MMORPGs from the 1990s to explore in this column. By now I have done most of them, including some of the more obscure titles. Yet there has always been this one game that I have shied away from covering, even though it (a) was an actual MMO from the ’90s and (b) is still operating even today. And that game is, of course, Furcadia.

So why my reluctance? To be honest, I suppose it was my reluctance to tackle anything in the “furry” fandom without knowing how to handle it. I don’t quite get the fascination with wanting to pretend to be an animal, and some of the expressions that I’ve seen in the news and online from this community have made me uncomfortable. Thus I kept away because I was worried that a piece that I wrote on Furcadia would devolve into a nonstop stream of jokes to cover that personal disquiet.

But I’ve tiptoed around this MMO long enough, and I have come to realize that there is virtue in earnestly trying to understand a subculture that is outside of my bubble, even if I don’t end up appreciating or liking it. Casting off preconceptions and simple snark, let us take a look at this unique title and see what it has to offer for the larger genre.

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Ghost in the Shell Online will close on December 6 in North America

So, remember how Ghost in the Shell Online announced it was shuttering in Japan without announcing that it was also shuttering in North America? Turns out the latter is happening as well. The team behind the game announced today that all services will be shutting down on December 6th for North America, South America, Europe, and Oceania. All cash shop services have been suspended, although the game will continue to operate normally until the shutdown.

The official word is that it was a difficult decision to make, but the ultimate conclusion was that further development time wouldn’t make the title into a large enough success to justify ongoing costs. Our condolences to the players and developers affected by this closure; we hope you get some last good matches in before the game goes entirely offline.

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Pokemon Go’s Yokohama event was a huge improvement over the lawsuit-provoking trainwreck in Chicago

Just a month ago now, Pokemon Go’s Chicago festival was completely wrecked by connection issues that rendered the game an unplayable trainwreck for thousands of attendees, who booed studio representatives who climbed on-stage live to apologize. A Niantic spokesperson at the time admitted the team was “pretty horrified” about how it all went down, which didn’t stop the company from collecting almost $6M in sales on just one day of the event. It didn’t stop disgruntled ticket-holders from bringing a class-action lawsuit against Niantic in Illinois, either.

At the time, Massively OP’s POGO expert Andrew Ross argued that Niantic has repeatedly made amateur-hour mistakes in its handling of a globally massive IP over the last year — that Chicago was just one more.

So it may surprise you to know that in spite of the fact that players around the world are not thrilled about the game’s new raid mechanics, the event that heralded those mechanics — Pikachu Outbreak in Yokohama, Japan — hasn’t been a trainwreck at all.

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Almost nobody is happy with Pokemon Go’s irritating ‘exclusive raid battles’ plan

Pokemon Go players are buzzing today over the release of legendary Pokemon Mewtwo at the Yokohama, Japan, event, which according to Niantic allowed “thousands” of players to grab the critter.

“In the coming weeks, you, too, will have the opportunity to battle and catch Mewtwo with the new Exclusive Raid Battle feature,” Niantic says.

“Exclusive Raid Battles are similar to existing Raid Battles, with a few notable differences. Exclusive raids will periodically appear at Gyms around the world; however, unlike existing raids, Trainers will be invited to join an Exclusive Raid Battle. To receive an invitation to participate in an Exclusive Raid Battle, Trainers must have successfully completed a raid recently, by defeating the Raid Boss, at the Gym where the Exclusive Raid Battle will be taking place. The invitations will include advance warning of when the Exclusive Raid will take place, giving them ample time to coordinate with other Trainers before taking on the powerful Raid Boss.”

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The Game Archaeologist: EverQuest Online Adventures

In the pantheon of SOE’s (now Daybreak) flagship EverQuest franchise, there used to be a whole family of MMOs gathered around the table every evening. There was Papa EverQuest, looking a little wrinkled and worn but also radiating fame and authority. Next to him was Mama EverQuest II, a powerful  matron of entertainment. And EverQuest Next used to be a twinkle in their eyes before it was extinguished.

Then, in the next room over was a cabinet. The cabinet was locked. Inside that cabinet used to be a weird abnormality that certainly looks like a member of the family, but one that hadn’t seen the light of day in quite some time. This member subsisted on the scraps of an aging console and the fading loyalty of fans, hoping against odds that one day he’d be allowed out for a stroll or something. His name was EverQuest Online Adventures, the EverQuest MMO nobody mentions.

EQOA was a strange abnormality in SOE’s lineup. While it was one of the very first console MMOs and heir to the EverQuest name, it was quickly eclipsed in both areas by other games and left alone. Yet, against all odds, it continued to operate on the PlayStation 2 for the better part of a decade before its lights were turned off. Today, let’s look at this interesting experiment and the small cult following it created.

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Ghost in the Shell Online services to close in Japan

The bright side of the news that Ghost in the Shell Online will be shutting down service in Japan is that this is not, technically, the game shutting down in its country of origin. But it’s still something of a blow, considering that the IP it’s based on is extremely Japanese and it was expected to be rather successful in the country. Not so, it appears; no reason is cited for the servers shutting down, but the most likely explanation is lack of players.

The game will close on November 29th after just about a year of operation in the country. No statements have been made about the future of the title on Western shores, to you can feel free to extrapolate your own hopes or fears based upon the announcement.

Source: MMO Culture

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Massively Overthinking: Is the popularity of small-scale co-op games hurting MMORPGs?

Gamasutra has an unusual piece from an Ubisoft developer this week arguing that co-op gameplay is the industry’s rising midcore trend, one that he believes will ultimately outstrip team competitive games. “It’s all about all the big data and stats that are finally available and can be mined,” author Andrii Goncharuk says, “and no surprise that it’s showing that players who played co-op mode have much more play hours, and players who played co-op with friends have even more play hours.”

He may be right, though first you’d have to believe co-op ever went anywhere to begin with (and console players would probably tell you nope!). But as I read the article, I couldn’t help but see MMOs in most of the arguments he’s making about what makes co-op games sticky, and yet MMOs are being edged out all the same. And while I don’t like to think of the MMO genre’s space in the industry as a zero-sum situation, the reality is that when people tire of MMORPG baggage but still want social play, co-op is exactly the sort of game they retreat to.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our writers to reflect on the rise of co-op PvE games outside the MMO label. Do we play them? Do we prefer them, and when? How can we learn from them? Is the popularity of smaller-scale co-op hurting MMORPGs?

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