NCSoft Launching into Western Mobiles with Aion: Legions Of War

Three weeks from today there’ll be a new foray from NCSoft into the mobile game market, this time with its first mobile RPG in the west, Aion: Legions of War. With the success they saw in Korea in 2017, NCSoft decided to try its hand at another mobile experience. Certainly, there are a number of mobile titles that have been announced by NCSoft recently like Blade & Soul M but their Aion entry is being touted as the first mobile RPG of theirs for the western market.

This particular entry, borrowing from the MMO Aion is created by the original Aion development team at NCSOFT’s headquarters. Players will be able to collect heroes from the world of Aion and build up combinations of them for use in boss battles, PvP, and Guild Dungeons.
Check out some of the short clips of the game here.


While you cannot download the game yet, pre-registration is available now on https://www.aionlegionsofwar.com/en along with that most classic of pre-order enticements, an unlocking bar. Pre-registering gives 100 points to the total, though how many are needed for each tier is a question. There are other share options to add to the total.

Unlocks include 36,000 in-game gold, a “rare confinite”, 160 gems and the biggest unlock being a three-star hero. Notably, you will need to connect with your Facebook account to redeem the rewards after launch.

With NCSoft leveraging Lineage for a mobile game and now Aion, you have to wonder if we’ll see some odd resurrections in the future. While Master X Master never made it, it was notable for having characters from Guild Wars 2 and City of Heroes. With the recent shut down of Wildstar, maybe there is a mobile future for the Chua or a return to the streets of Paragon City for that most classic of activities. Go, Hunt, Kill Skuls.

 

Source: Press Release

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Aion Axes its Subscription and Posts 30 Pages of Patch Notes

If your game’s update is large enough to require a separate PDF file, it’s probably a big one. Such is the case for Aion 6.0, which is such a massive adjustment for the free to play MMO that its required 30 pages’ worth of patch notes to outline all of the things new with it.

aion 6.0

Obviously, we’re not going to go through 30 pages of patch notes, but if you’re the sort who has that inclination, here they are. As one would expect, they cover the dearth of changes to Aion with the new patch, from skills to new regions and everything in-between.

As for other matters that concern the community such as the Veteran System replacement, Transformation Contracts and more, a series of videos from the devs have been posted on the game’s Twitter.

On the subject of system changes, the game’s monthly subscription Prestige Pack has come to an end, replaced now with the Prestige Pass. This item was part of the original Pack and offers players a variety of boons such as increased entries into end game instances, exclusive coins for use at a special vendor, and access to special NPCs, buffs and quests, all for a limited length of time. More details and an FAQ are found here.

Our Thoughts

wow those are some beefy patch notes. It’s very likely going to take a lot of time for players to fully process all of the changes both to the game and the Prestige Pass, but if you’ve got thoughts on anything now you’re certainly welcome to share them with us.

Sources: Twitter, official site

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NCSoft Posts Job for Next-Generation Aion MMORPG

It appears that NCSoft isn’t the reaper of MMO souls many would like to think it is. At least as far as its Korean market is concerned. Case in point; a new job posting by the company which seem to hint at some next-generation Aion MMO, or at least something based on the Aion universe.

next-generation aion mmo

According to the posting, the company is seeking an animator to work on some undetermined new project based on the Aion IP. As one would perhaps expect, the details of this job posting are pretty sparse on the specifics of what this project involves, but it does mention that the project is powered by Unreal Engine 4 and is intended to be “a next-generation console and PC MMORPG.”

This new job posting could have connections to a January 2017 rumor of a direct sequel to Aion, though bear in mind that was an assumption that was reached thanks to the project’s codename of “A2”, a project that was in the planning stages at the time of the initial rumor in question.

That said, a year between planning and hiring an animator for characters and monsters of the project could certainly fit the timeline of development. The iron may also be hot for a sequel to Aion; bear in mind that NCSoft’s Q1 report saw the game’s sales jump by 48% as a result in a monetization scheme adjustment.

Our Thoughts

By our admission, there are a few stretches in this logic regarding this all leading into an Aion 2 and there’s even less chance that any of this will mean anything to Western players of Aion. All the same, we are curious to learn just what this “next-generation” form of Aion will end up being one way or the other, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Source: MMO Culture

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MMO Money: Mobile Revenue is Breaking Records

Quarterly report season, it’s exciting and a little bit brain melting. In between it all we’ve got other business news to talk about too including esports betting and more lootbox drama. We also get a real-world example of what can happen to a company’s stock when an embargo is broken and false information is released. There’s one theme that runs throughout this article, mobile revenue is breaking records all over the place. There’s a lot of information to digest in this week’s MMO Money so grab a drink, maybe a snack too and sit back for a wild ride. It all ends with more lootbox talk from Begium, Guild Wars 2’s game director, and everyone’s favorite…EA.

 

PUBG Mobile Revenue Only 1/3 Fornite iOS Revenue

Mobile Revenue is Breaking Records

While PUBG mobile and Fortnite iOS came onto the scene at roughly the same time back in March, PUBG has only started to monetize in the last week. The revenue for that first week isn’t amazing. In fact, it’s one third the revenue Fortnite got in its first week being on iOS only. For those who don’t know, PUBG is available on both Android and iOS. Fortnite generated 3.7 million dollars its first week on mobile compared to PUBG which comes in around $1 million.

The report from Sensor Tower also states that Fortnite beat out PUBG with fewer players, 3.7 million downloads vs 22 million. But it doesn’t show how many of those 22 million downloads since launch are still active PUBG players, so this isn’t really a fair comparison to make. The 3.7 million Fortnite players would have all been active at some point in that week simply because it was the very first week, and not a couple of months later. Randy Nelson, Head of Mobile Insights at Sensor Tower attributes the differences to the means of monetization. “There’s also the possibility that the way Epic Games has structured its purchases may be giving Fortnite a leg up on its biggest competitor,” he said. “It offers limited-time costumes and set daily items that players can purchase outright, as opposed PUBG Mobile’s primary use of loot boxes that produce random (and often duplicate) items when opened by players.”

 

Activision-Blizzard Q1

They’re winning all of the money. End of story.

Overwatch Retribution Event - McCree and Reaper

Kidding…well sort of. They really are winning all the money. Activision-Blizzard had a net revenue of $1.97 billion for Q1, that’s up from $1.73 billion for Q1 2017. Net revenue from digital channels were at an all-time quarterly record of $1.46 billion. In Q1, Activision Blizzard had 374 million monthly active users, 38 million of those coming from Blizzard games. Preorders for WoW’s Battle for Azeroth expansion are ahead of where they had originally forecast.

The Overwatch League has strong viewership globally, reaching millions of people every week. As a result of the league and the upcoming playoffs, this summer there is increased engagement with the franchise. This means more people are playing and watching for longer than previously.

On the mobile side of things, King has had its highest quarterly net bookings in history. That’s money made from merchandising, products sold, licensing fees, and so on. This quarter King also had 2 of the top 10 highest-grossing titles in US mobile app stores for the 18th quarter in a row.

Generally speaking, things are great for Activision-Blizzard, so much so that they’re raising their outlook for the full year.

 

German Mobile Game Revenue Seeing Explosive Growth

Thanks to the many articles we’ve done covering the 2017 games business scene we know that mobile is still growing in a massive way and is already really dominating the gaming industry. But there’s one market in particular that is seeing massive, unexpected growth: Germany.

The German Games Industry Association reported on data from market research company GfK that in 2017, mobile gaming revenue grew faster than all of the German gaming market. Mobile gaming sales rose 21% versus the overall market which saw only 15%. Most of the revenue came from in-app purchases which totaled €481 million ($569 million). Just to put all of this in perspective, in-app purchases have more than doubled since 2014. It also doesn’t look like things are going to slow down any time soon. What this does show is that Germans are a fantastic audience for mobile games, unlike most of Europe who seem to prefer to keep a tight hold on their wallets.

 

Want to learn more about the games industry in 2017 check out these articles:

2017 Online Games Financial Review
2017 Games Industry by the Numbers
2017 Games Industry Revenue

EA Celebrating Record Year

It’s good news for EA, despite all the very public lockbox drama they had throughout the last year. Game sales are actually down, but live services are picking up the slack and now make up 40% of the publisher’s income. For the full year, EA’s net revenue was up 6.2% to $5.15 billion. But the news that most people were really hoping to hear was about Anthem and EA did not disappoint, saying that Anthem is set to ship in the last month of the last quarter of the year, that gives it a launch date in March 2019. During the call, they also talked a bit about lockboxes, but we’ll go into more detail on that in the section dedicated to all things lootbox.

 

Dow Jones Reporting Problem

Dow Jones News Service broke embargo and false information was released ahead of Activision-Blizzard’s quarterly report call. This information caused Activision-Blizzard’s stock to tumble, as well as stock for EA and Take-Two. Activision-Blizzard suffered a 6.3% drop, but within a couple of hours the correct information was published and in the end, Activision-Blizzard closed down 2.3%. Afterward, Dow Jones issued a statement saying, “We regret our error as well as inadvertently breaking the embargo. We have issued a correction and are reviewing our processes.”

 

Tencent Q1

Have you had enough with all the good news yet? Well here’s some more for you. Tencent is reporting a 48% increase in revenue year on year. Most of this has been driven by mobile games and social platforms. Total revenue for the quarter was $11.69 billion with operating profit at $4.88 billion. Smartphone game revenue increased 68%. This includes both mobile games and social games on their social media platforms like QQ, which has 805.5 million active users. Facebook is at 2.2 billion, just in case you’re wondering.

On the PC gaming front, revenue remained fairly flat year on year. But with new titles expected in the coming months, Tencent has said this will change. The company also attributes the lack of significant revenue increase on more and more people making the transition to mobile gaming. Tencent is going to be responsible for releasing PUBG and Fortnite to China, assuming they get government approval. They’re also going to publish Ubisoft mobile and PC games in China. So, the future is looking bright for this monster of a company.

 

Boss Key Saga

By now you’ve almost certainly heard about the saga of Boss Key. The company shut down this week just a month after putting a new game up on Steam Early Access. If you haven’t heard all of the drama, or you haven’t seen the concept art from the games they never got to make there’s an entire article on the Boss Key saga.

 

Pearl Abyss Q1

Pearl Abyss had a record first quarter thanks to mobile games. Are you starting to see the same pattern we are? Net profits are up a massive 82.9% compared with the same period last year. Much of their success is thanks to releasing Black Desert Mobile in Korea. North America and Europe account for 56% of Black Desert Online’s game sales. Coming up, the company is working on MMOFPS Project K, casual mobile MMO Project V, and Black Desert Mobile is going to expand to more regions of the world. You can expect it to reach the West sometime next year.

 

Kakao IPO

Black Desert Online

Speaking of Black Desert Online’s performance, we need to talk about Kakao Games, the publisher of BDO in the west. They’re preparing an IPO on the KOSDAQ in Korea. If it passes the screening required, it will most likely go public by the end of this year. According to Samsung Securities, Kakao is worth an estimated $1.4 billion. In addition to BDO, they’re also responsible for publishing PUBG in Korea and developing mobile games.

 

NCSoft Q1

All of NCSoft’s games are down this quarter with the exception of Aion. Guild Wars 2, the company’s most popular game in the west saw a massive, though entirely expected drop. Q4 2017 is where all the revenue for the game’s last expansion Path of Fire was at, so while there was a 32% drop quarter on quarter, year on year there was actually a 66% increase.

During the investor call, NCSoft admitted that Blade & Soul II for mobile has been delayed until 2019 because it didn’t meet expectations. It has a new team and a redesign which is the same thing they did for Lineage Eternal.

 

Nexon Q1

Finally, we’re at the last quarterly report that has been released as of this moment, Nexon. Much like many of the companies already mentioned in this article, Nexon has a strong showing this quarter with $827 million in revenue. That’s up 21% year on year. One thing that really makes them stand out from other companies is that most of its business, 84% of it in fact, was on PC. The vast majority of Nexon’s earnings came from China (67%) and Korea (22%) while North America accounted for just 4%. Later on this year in the west we can expect to see Durango, Maplestory 2, Maplestory M, and Final Fantasy XI mobile.

 

Esports

You can expect to see esports betting blossom thanks to a ruling by the US Supreme Court. They effectively overturned the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which banned sports betting in all but a few states. The Supreme Court ruled that PAPSA violated the Tenth Amendment. What does this mean for esports betting? It means we’re going to see it a whole lot more. DraftKings have already got plans to move into betting for sports and esports.

In other esports news Quarterback Inc. has raised 2.5 million dollars in its initial seed funding round. The funding will go towards continued development and growth of Quarterback’s esports gaming platform. The seed round was back by Bitkraft Esports, Crest Capital Ventures, Deep Space Ventures, and UpWest Labs.

 

Lootboxes

Finally, we end this article as we always do with a look at what has been going on around the lootbox controversy in the last two weeks. The biggest news has been that the Belgian Gaming Commission released their full report on the controversy. The report itself is 25 pages long and in English, if you want to give it a read, but the most important thing to take from it is that they recommend criminal prosecution being initiated. Another recommendation that they give is age verification and banning the sale of games featuring loot boxes to minors. Wow.

Gamasutra posted an interview with Guild Wars 2 game director Crystin Cox from GDC that touched on the lootbox controversy that is well worth a read as she had a lot to say. She had a hard time defining what an ethical, non-painful lootbox experience might be like and she also said she hopes the government doesn’t get involved in regulation. Guild Wars 2 was specifically mentioned in a recent article here on MMOGames talking about a site that explains microtransactions for games. Guild Wars 2 has frequently been called out by players for their lootbox practices.

Lastly, as promised there is EA news to talk about. EA is adamant that lootboxes aren’t gambling at all. Why? Well, according to EA CEO Andrew Wilson, it’s because players always get a specified number of items and there’s no way to cash the items out or sell them for currency, real or virtual. This argument is a bit like Santa promising you’ll get 5 things for Christmas and on Christmas morning finding out that 3 of them are lumps of coal, one is a gum wrapper, and the other is reindeer droppings. You still got something though!

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2018 MMO Recommendations

Are you looking for 2018 MMO recommendations? Maybe you want to leave a recommendation for your favorite game. Whichever the case this is the place to find exactly what you’re looking for. We have all of the hottest MMOs currently on the market and we’re leaving it up to the public to leave a vote on the one they recommend.

 

What does it take to get on the recommendation list?

  1. The game must be live or out of closed beta testing. This means it’s available for anyone from the public to buy or download.
  2. Maps must allow at least 6 players at a time AND
  3. Allow for the potential of playing with hundreds or thousands of different people through matching or other methods.

This means you’ll find MOBAs, Shooters, and MMORPGs alongside each other. And why not? The definition of MMO is constantly evolving. We will be releasing more recommendation polls like this that are specifically for different genres in the coming weeks, but right now we’re interested in taking a broader look at online gaming.

2018 MMO Recommendations, Black Desert Online, World of Warcraft, SWTOR

If you’re interested in learning more about the games on this list, click their names, just above the button to vote to go to their MMOGames game profile page. There you can see a short paragraph about it and see all the most recent content from MMOGames including news, reviews, and more.

This poll will be running until the end of the year so you can keep recommending great games as the year goes on. At the end of the year, we’ll take a look at what your 2018 MMO recommendations are and what they did throughout the year.

Don’t see your favorite game on the list? Leave a comment with your recommendation and we’ll make sure it gets added! New games will be added as they’re released.

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Best MMO Halloween Event 2017

If there is one event MMOs love to take part in more than any others it is Halloween. That is why in this list you’ll find 60 different games with Halloween events! We decided to leave out the MOBAs and Shooters from this list but if they were put back in it would easily have a hundred games in it. But which is the best MMO Halloween event?

This poll is all about finding out what your favorite MMO Halloween event is this year. The winner gets a badge on their MMOGames profile and bragging rights for the entire year.

If your favorite isn’t on the list, or you know of a game we missed let us know in the comments and we’ll be sure to add it as quickly as possible.

 

MMO Halloween

To take part just find your favorite MMO in the list below and leave a vote. You can only vote for one game at a time, but be sure to keep coming back as you can place more votes every day.

Voting will continue until the end of October 31st when the top three winners will be declared.

 

Which is the best MMO Halloween Event? Your vote will decide…

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