pokemon go

Official Site: Pokemon Go
Studio: Niantic
Launch Date: July 6, 2016
Business Model: F2P (Cash Shop)
Platform: Android, iOS

Nonprofit group says Pokemon Go discourages suicides in Japan

Let’s stop fussing over what Pokemon Go is being dragged into court over and focus on something it’s apparently, if inadvertently, doing right: suicide prevention.

The Japan Times reported over the weekend that the head of a suicide prevention agency in Japan, Yukio Shige, claims that a notorious suicide hotspot in Fukui Prefecture (with allegedly 120 deaths in the last decade) has seen fewer suicide attempts in the last two months since Pokemon Go launched. Shige argues that the designation of Tojinbo — that’s the cliff-top park in question — as a PokeStop has brought local traffic and players to the area, which in turn has changed the atmosphere into a lively one incongruous with self-harm. The Times reports,

“[Shige] said the effect of Pokemon Go is noticeable in that he did not encounter any suicidal visitors in August. Although he spotted seven such people in September, one of them told him the atmosphere ‘was not quite right for committing suicide.'”

Shige further noted he hopes other known suicide destinations in the country will also become PokeStops and widen the presumed effect.

Source: Japan Times via VG247


Superdata: WoW now charges a full monthly sub in China

Superdata’s digital games market report for August 2016 landed in our inbox today. Those of you who’ve been consistently frustrated and confused over the way Superdata bins games might be happy to know that the research firm is now reporting just three categories, but unfortunately, that means most core MMORPGs will be kept off the list entirely and the data are far less interesting to us (and more likely to be more or less static from month to month).

League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and Crossfire continue to dominate in terms of global revenue on the PC side, while Overwatch shows up in the top 10 for both PC and console. No one will be surprised by Pokemon Go’s place at the top of the mobile category. The researchers claim that Overwatch and World of Warcraft “show shifting Chinese spending habits” and note that Chinese players are now paying for WoW subs in monthly chunks.

“NetEase also recently changed their payment policy for World of Warcraft with the rollout of the title’s new Legion expansion. Rather than let Chinese gamers pay by the hour in tiny increments, players are now required to pay upfront for full monthly subscriptions. Despite this, the expansion was very well received in China with NetEase-processed revenue up to $37 million in August compared to $8 million in July. The success of both [WoW and Overwatch] goes against the assumption that Chinese gamers will never warm up to paying for games upfront, and provides evidence that it is possible to convince Chinese consumers to purchase high quality full-priced games. Whether this will fundamentally change the market remains to be seen, as local gaming behemoth and NetEase rival Tencent is still sticking to free-to-play.”

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The Netherlands is taking Pokemon Go creator Niantic to court

Pokemon Go’s legal entanglements continue today as Niantic has been ordered to appear before a court in the Netherlands on October 11th. The California-based developer is accused of failing to comply with a Dutch government request to remove pokemon from Kijkduin’s environmentally protected beaches and dunes, which the Dutch say have been swarmed with thousands of people hunting the critters. The municipality would also like pokemon banned from the streets from 11 p.m. at night to 7 a.m. in the morning.

According to The Guardian, the Dutch authorities in The Hague claim Niantic has not complied with their requests, which began last month, so they “had no other choice” but to take the games developer to court to seek relief.

This isn’t the first time an international government has demanded Niantic remove pokemon from unwelcome areas. To date, the French education minister wants them removed from campuses; the mayor of Bressolles, France, made demands to remove them from his town; the Sydney, Australia, suburb besieged by players did get at least one of the stops removed; and Japan successfully convinced Niantic to remove the critters from memorial parks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (though not the stops near the dangerous Fukushima reactor). Cambodia simply outlawed playing the game near its Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, while the Bosnian government scrambled to prevent players from chasing pokemon on abandoned minefields.

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Massively Overthinking: Are you suffering from MMORPG burnout?

In last week’s Daily Grind about whether or not MMOs are better the second time you play them, the topic of burnout came up.

“I find that MMOs have become, in my own perception, a kind of homogeneous mass in my mind that is a barrier in itself to involvement, like there is nothing new any more,” commenter Gibbins wrote. “Playing any MMO at this point is like going back to something I gave up and mostly I spend less time before walking away.” To which another commenter, Mukk, observed, “MMO burnout, it seems…”

But is it really burnout? How do you know when you can say, “It’s not you, it’s me”? How do you determine whether you’ve outgrown a genre, or it’s changed so much that it’s grown away from you? And are you suffering, or have you ever suffered, from MMORPG burnout?

These are the questions I presented to the Massively OP writers this week. Onward!

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A whole bunch of people filed FTC complaints over Pokemon Go

How many times are we going to have to use the word “watchdog” this week? I believe we’re on the third now, and this time, we’re not talking about law enforcement creepers or No Man’s Sky’s alleged false advertising: We’re talking about people who couldn’t catch ’em all.

According to a report on Polygon last night, 72 people filed Pokemon Go related complaints with the Federal Trade Commission in the few months since the game’s launch. The publication cited the results of its own Freedom of Information Act request made to the FTC to reveal complaints that ranged from anger over outages to anger over the crackdown on third-party apps that made it difficult to track Pokemon. The “largest number,” says Polygon, “are tied to customers complaining about the money they spent and what they received for that cash.” There are also allegations from people whose property fell under siege from Pokemon players, including an Oregon hospital that was struggling with gamers who were “descending on [its] halls and asking to go into private areas to take pictures and get their game points.”

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Meridian 59 continues to influence online games 20 years later

Twenty years ago this week, Meridian 59 shed its beta trappings and officially released as one of the very first graphical MMORPGs on the market. While larger and slicker games have certainly followed, M59’s presence made a significant impact on the development of the genre, including the birth of Ingress and Pokemon Go.

“I had a chance to soak in the early days of MMOs and some of the first online guilds that got formed and watching the whole social dynamic of that type of game emerge in the early days,” Niantic founder John Hanke said in a July interview. “That experience was definitely at the front of my mind whenever the concept for Ingress was being created. It was really very simply to take that MMO experience and hopefully the social-team cooperative gameplay element to that and bring it out into the real world.”

For more Meridian 59 memories, check our Game Archaeologist retrospective of this long-running MMO!


Harry Potter lookalike Maguss Wand plans Indiegogo for AR MMO

Augmented reality MMOs aren’t new, but we’re about to see a bunch of new ones, propelled by the unexpected success of Pokemon Go. Case in point: Maguss Wand, which isn’t technically a Harry Potter game but happily embraces the comparison in spite of possible legal issues. It wasn’t inspired by Pokemon Go, having been in development for a couple of years already, but the timing is good all the same.

Maguss Wand is a new AR MMORPG mobile game that has been in development for almost 2 years now,” reads the press release. “The game will allow you to walk and explore the earth while experiencing and living in the fantasy at the same time. It [lets] a player to become a wizard in the real world through immersive game-play. Explore magic, study wizardry, collect herbs and other ingredients, cast and defend spells, win duels and gain glory.”

According to Engadget, the game’s developers attempted a Kickstarter last year for a motion-sensing wand peripheral, but that Kickstarter didn’t fund. Now the devs say they’re planning an Indiegogo campaign on October 10th, with a closed alpha release coming “very soon.”

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The MOP Up: The Division opens its public test server (September 25, 2016)

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!

This week we got confirmation that The Division is finally launching its public test server (tomorrow, in fact!). We’ve got that plus stories and videos from Guild Wars 2League of LegendsFinal Fantasy XI, and more, all waiting for you after the break!

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Pokemon Go stream turns into ‘mugged in Central Park’ stream

Twitch streamer Rickeybot wasn’t bothering anyone; he was just streaming a session of Pokémon Go in Central Park at night. Long-time stream audiences know that game sessions can frequently go in unexpected directions, and this once certainly did, as Rickeybot was soon introduced to a new game in which another human being assaulted him and stole his phone. While being recorded.

The suspect in the mugging has not yet been apprehended, but committing a mugging while on live camera being streamed to the Internet likely will not wind up on anyone’s list of “most intelligent crimes.”

Rickeybot himself spent time with the police and then went to the hospital to be examined for further injury, while his audience has been trying to identify the assailant based on the footage. You can view the incident in the video down below. Our best wishes are with the streamer for both the recovery of his phone and his health, and we hope this serves as something of a reminder about being mindful when you’re out catching Pokémon.

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The MOP Up: Batman invites you to his gala (September 18, 2016)

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!

This week Bruce Wayne (AKA Batman) threw a special gala in DC Universe Online. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from DestinyMarvel HeroesElder Scrolls Online, and more, all waiting for you after the break!

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Pokemon Go has dropped 79% of its players, but it’s still making money

The number of people playing Pokémon Go has declined by 79% since its peak, according to market analysis firm Slice Intelligence. That’s a pretty enormous drop, moving the title from being one of the biggest mobile titles around to being in rather standard territory for big mobile downloads. And yet it certainly hasn’t translated to the game floundering, as it also accounted for 28% of all mobile gaming revenue in August, according to the very same report.

Statistics themselves just show the facts rather than tell a story, and thus there are a number of possible explanations; the sheer number of paying players has pushed the game to success even with the drop, for example, or those who remain are far more willing than others to drop money on the game. Whatever the reality of the situation is will become clear, but it’s undeniable that the game has lost a significant portion of its population without losing a significant portion of revenue.

Source: Gamasutra


Pokemon Go indiscriminately blocks access for rooted and jailbroken phones

Pokemon Go’s latest update fixes several annoyances and introduces Pokemon Buddies, but it’s also ticked off hardcore phone users: Android and iPhone players who run a rooted/jailbroken device will have noticed that Niantic is now suddenly blocking them from playing the game, presumably because cheating is easier with root, and it’s not as if there are a million good reasons to root your device. Oh wait, yes there are.

“We continue to focus on eliminating bots and scrapers from Pokémon GO,” declare the patch notes. “Rooted or jailbroken devices are not supported by Pokémon GO. Remember to download Pokémon GO from the official Google Play Store or iTunes App Store only.”

Of course, the vast majority of people running rooted devices (like, for example, me) aren’t cheaters and still want to play with their pokeymans. If you’re on Android, there’s a fix for you: Android blog Android Police has a guide out to using a specific mod, Magisk, to get around the block, proving once again that legit users are harmed and inconvenienced far more than problem players when indiscriminate rule changes are deployed.

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Pokémon Go is coming to Apple Watch, tops 500M downloads

Pokémon Go might not be the powerhouse that it was earlier this summer, but there is still some life left in these pokéballs. As of this week, the mobile game has been downloaded a half-billion times, at least three of which were in the households of the Massively OP staff. Another impressive number? Collectively, Pokémon Go players have walked 4.6 billion kilometers since the title’s launch.

Even more promising for the game’s future, Apple announced at its press event yesterday that Pokémon Go is coming soon to the Apple Watch, which should marginally cut down on all of those bikers you see trying to pedal and hold their phones at the same time.

If you don’t have an Apple Watch, another option presented is buying into Pokémon Go Plus, a $35 device that connects to your smartphone via bluetooth and allows you to hunt critters without having to stare at your screen all of the time. The Plus is coming out on September 16th.

Source: Pokémon Go #1, #2, Polygon, Gamasutra. Thanks Nordavind!


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