Australian Ratings Board Refuses to Rate DayZ

The Australian Ratings Board refuses to rate DayZ saying that the game has been refused classification because it depicts a variety of adult themes that might offend some players.

The official explanation reads, “[The game has been refused classification because it] deals with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.”

Why Steam Can Be a Terrible Thing For MMO Players - DayZ

These sorts of issues aren’t uncommon with the Australian Ratings Board. In recent years we’ve seen this happen with We Happy Few and Saints Row IV.. What makes this one different however is that DayZ has previously been approved multiple times.

It would seem that the issue stems from the planned physical edition of the game. Though really, how those differ is really anyone’s guess. However, State of Decay was also refused classification because of the game’s use of drugs to restore health. In DayZ you use morphine to restore health. To make matters even more confusing DayZ is still available for purchase in Australia, digital only though. Does this mean that DayZ will be removed from digital platforms in Australia? At the moment no, but that could change.

So far Bohemia Interactive and Five Star Games, the company that filed the classification request, have not made any statements about the refusal or what they will do next. But we will be keeping an eye out for those statements and update this post as soon as they’re released.

 

Source: Games Industry

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MMO Money: Star Citizen Reaches $200 Million Milestone

This week we have a few last third quarter reports to take a look at. This time for NetEase, who is currently in the public’s eye for their work on Diablo Immortal and Tencent who have been having a terrible year as far as their gaming division goes. Star Citizen also reached an all new fundraising milestone, which was received about as well as you might expect. Finally, just a week after DayZ went into beta they reached a milestone of their own.

 

Star Citizen Reaches $200 Million Milestone

This was the week that Star Citizen reached $200 million fundraised for their game. As you might expect though it wasn’t all celebrations. In a letter to the fans, Chris Roberts said that there are supporters from 171 different countries stretching from one end of the globe to the other. He also talks about how far the company has come in the last 6 years, in particular growing from just a handful of staff to more than 500 employees in 3 countries. The letter also goes into some detail about the future, talking about a new alpha build that is coming up and plans for a Squadron 42 roadmap.

However, on Reddit, and indeed across the internet this proved to be the perfect time for those who have issues with Star Citizen to speak out. For all the money that Star Citizen has continued to bring in, there have been a lot of issues and concerns that the studio isn’t going to deliver on the promised game. As time goes on the voice of discontent grows louder causing even more of a rift between those who still have high hopes for the game and those who have given up all hope.

 

Source: Roberts Space Industries, Reddit

 

Tencent Gaming Revenue Continues to Decline

Tencent mobile financials - MMOGames.com - Your source for MMOs & MMORPGs

If you don’t already know, there is much more to Tencent than just making games. In fact, in China, they are a massive multi-armed internet company that has music services, social media companies, e-commerce, and even movies. Warcraft, Wonder Woman, and Venom are just a few titles they’ve done that you might have heard of. Unfortunately, while the company as a whole is doing amazingly, revenue is up 24% year on year, the gaming division is still taking a massive hit. Online gaming revenue is down 4% in Q3, much of that decline is from the PC sector. Mobile gaming, however, has seen a bit of a boost which did offset some of the damages. This seems to suggest that gamers are moving away from PC gaming into mobile.

During the quarterly report to investors, Tencent didn’t mention the freeze on game licenses in China. Instead, they focused on the fact that they released 10 games last quarter and they have 15 approved for monetization in the works. This should give them a bit of a boost as they do still have a bit to work with. The company may actually be able to weather this storm after all. But, so long as the news from the Chinese government continues to be grim Tencent’s gaming division will keep feeling the pain.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

DayZ Sells 4 Million Units

DayZ3

Just a week after transitioning into beta testing Bohemia Interactive have announced that DayZ has sold 4 million units. The game has been playable in Early Access since December 2013. By January 2015 it had reached the 3 million user mark. Meaning that it took nearly 4 years to get another million on top of that. In that time, of course, the industry has gone through quite a lot of changes. Most notably is the rise of the Battle Royale genre which has spawned some of the most popular games in the world. Meanwhile, the zombie survival genre, which DayZ helped usher in is barely a faint memory at this point. A number of games inspired by DayZ were released which then spawned other survival games like Ark: Survival Evolved and Conan Exiles. These days DayZ has acknowledged that they are a niche game for a niche audience and they aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. They’ve also announced that they fully intend to stick to their 2018 launch date, which means they have just over a month left to go. When the game does finally launch it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see a small boost in purchases. But at this point, it seems likely that anyone who was going to buy the game has already done so and launching is merely a formality. Development will continue on the game well past launch as the studio continues to tweak the game to meet their goals.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

NetEase Quarterly Sees Growth

Diablo Immortal

Things are looking good for NetEase in the third quarter report with net revenue up, mobile gaming up, and success in their endeavors to bring Western games to China. Net Revenue is up for the company 35.1% year on year, bringing it up to 16.9 billion yuan, $2.5 billion USD. Of that online gaming accounted for $1.5 billion which is up 27.6% year on year. In Q3 the company released a number of quite successful mobile games. They also launched World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth in China which saw the number of subscribers and the revenue go up. They aren’t likely to feel any backlash from Diablo Immortals until Q4. Though the expected backlash financially isn’t expected to be nearly as bad as the outcry about the game would suggest. Minecraft in China got another 50 million players between the Q2 and Q3 reports. During the report, they talked about the global audience and how it has benefited them.

“Additionally, we have taken a more global view of our online games business. As a result, our international expansion, took another leap forward this quarter, contributing more than 10 percent of total online game net revenues for the first time in our company’s history. We are also very excited about our collaboration with Blizzard to bring one of their biggest games to mobile players, increasing our visibility and expanding our foothold in the global online games market.”

 

Source: Quarterly Report

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When Did Early Access Start Meaning Launch?

Testing of games prior to their release used to look very different than it does today. Even now we seem to be in the midst of another change. It can be seen in the language and attitudes of developers and PR representatives. We are getting to a stage where Early Access means Launch.

It used to be game testing was done strictly behind the scenes. Studios would have in-house beta testers or hire professionals under a strict NDA to test the game for them. This is still done for single player titles today. Over time this changed and the general public was suddenly finding themselves invited to take part in beta testing, often for MMOs that studios couldn’t reasonably test on their own. During these early days of beta testing you would have to fill out a questionnaire about yourself and if you got in you would get a disc to install the game. This was back when you would actually be excited for the mail delivery to be made, much like waiting for an Amazon shipment these days. Of course, good things rarely come in the mail anymore.

Dauntless Beta Video

Open beta testing was introduced and suddenly anyone with sufficient hardware and the time could take part. This opened up the opportunity to test the strain on servers, catch more bugs, and get feedback from people who would actually be playing the game. From a marketing standpoint, it was fantastic as well. It got the news out about the game without the need for advertisement, and word of mouth from people who took part in the open beta was invaluable.

This is when we started seeing a shift. Games in open beta had to be more polished, they had to be nearly perfect and ready for launch if not completely. They became less of a testing tool and more of a marketing one. During the height of Facebook gaming, many games were in a perpetual state of beta with many never even formally launching. However, they were still playable by anyone and you could spend money in the games. They were well polished but insisting that they were in beta. This was a marketing choice.

MMOs started to catch on to the idea as well and the concept of a soft launch came into being. It was called open beta but there would be no progression wipes, the servers were always on, and the game ran as though it had launched. This idea didn’t last terribly long though because idea of Early Access soon came into being.

To this day developers haven’t really settled on what Early Access means. For some, Early Access means “I announced my game 5 minutes ago, it has half a map and only male characters.” For others it is the final stage of testing and a time when paying players can give input before the game launches. While others live in a state of perpetual Early Access and never show any signs that they’re progressing towards launch. These are often games that are still in development but people pay to play the game and in return development of the game continues. DayZ is perhaps the most famous example of this. The game has been in development for 6 years now and five of those years in Early Access.

DayZ

This year we’ve started seeing the words launch and Early Access together. Using DayZ as the example once again, at Gamescom 2018 Bohemia announced that the release date for DayZ for Early Access on Xbox Game Preview would be August 29th. Last week, Battle Royale game Battlerite Royale put out a press release that was titled “Battlerite Royale Release Date Revealed.” Further reading to the very first sentence of the press release showed that what they actually meant was the start of Early Access.

The line between Early Access, beta testing, and launch is becoming harder and harder to see, not only because of the language used but the way these stages are being used by developers themselves. Games that are in Early Access are making money and don’t require all the fine-tuned polish that is expected of a fully launched game. Come across a bug? Sorry, we’re in Early Access…bugs are expected. By the way, buy this sparkle pony for $5.99!

Battlerite Royale

From a consumer’s point of view, it looks like a great deal. It pushes those instant gratification buttons. If you could pay $10 to see Marvel’s Infinity War Part 2 right now, but maybe all the CG isn’t done yet…would you do it? I know I would at the very least give it some heavy consideration. Instead of having to wait, you would get to see a slightly less polished version right now. What if that became the norm? The next Guardians of the Galaxy movie (if there is one) doesn’t have Rocket or Groot as CG anymore. Instead, you’ve got Sean Gunn running around on his knees and a random dude in a blue suit wearing Groot’s head as a helmet.

This is what Early Access has become for the gaming industry. We think we’re paying for the privilege of getting our hands on the game early. At least that’s how it feels in our minds, but from a development point of view, it is seen much differently. Early Access grants them funding for games much sooner than they would have previously. This means more games are able to be made. This isn’t always a good thing though. How many bad Early Access games are there currently on Steam? How many games never reach the point where they’re polished enough to launch? Many games spend so long in Early Access that they have their peak during Early Access and then use launching as a marketing tool to bring people back after the game has started to decline.

The quality of our games is going down because of the way Early Access is used. Consumers are the ones paying the price for these industry practices. Sadly, there are only two options, continue to buy into games in the Early Access stage keep the trend going or stop paying from Early Access. Unless everyone does it together, the industry will always have someone willing to pay for an incomplete game.

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DayZ Relaunch Coming Soon

We would forgive you if you’d forgotten about DayZ. There hasn’t been much to say about the game in a long time. So long in fact that people assume it’s vaporware. But, it would seem that isn’t the case at all. In fact, at a recent event Lead Producer, Eugen Harton announced that a DayZ relaunch is in the works and coming in just a few weeks.

This relaunch will see DayZ moving to a new engine. It also means that the game will be appearing on Game Preview on Xbox this year. However, Harton wouldn’t confirm if this meant the game was going to be moving out of Early Access where it has been since 2013. At the end of November 2017, we reported that the DayZ beta would be pushed to 2018. So maybe this is the first signs of that transition. Or maybe it’s just more of the same.

DayZ

It’s easy to point to DayZ as the source of the zombie survival fad that swept through the industry a few years ago. That then opened the door for other survival games, another fad that seems to be on the decline. All of that paving the way for Battle Royale, the industry’s current golden child. That DayZ, the game that started it all still hasn’t come out after several fads have come and gone is quite sad. But it’s also an opportunity. There’s still time for them to adapt to the current craze and add a Battle Royale mode.

When asked about the heavy hitters on the market though Harton didn’t seem to be phased. “The hardcore simulation we’re working on is not gonna compete with PUBG. It’s not gonna compete with Fortnite. I think we have a different customer. I’m pretty sure of that.” He also added, “it might not become a mainstream thing, but that’s not our customer. I’m okay with that. I know what game I’m making – I don’t want to appeal to everybody.” Which seems to suggest that following the fads isn’t for them, so a Battle Royale game is unlikely.

 

Source: PCGamesN

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DayZ Beta Won’t Happen in 2017

The developers at Bohemia Interactive have given an update on the status of a DayZ beta test and what the rest of 2017 will look like. Unfortunately, it isn’t very good news for anyone who has been waiting for DayZ to go into beta. With only one month left in 2017, this may not come as much of a surprise but it is still a little disappointing to hear. They decided to push the beta to 2018 in order to give themselves some more time to work on polishing the game.

DayZ Beta

The beta isn’t the only thing that is being pushed to 2018, the release they had planned called 0.63 Experimental has also been delayed. In the status report, they gave a list of things they’d like to have finished before they launch 0.63 Experimental ranging from Inventory UI to Crafting.

While releasing some bits of the patch would usually be possible it isn’t this time around as they consider 0.63 Experimental and 0.63 Stable (beta) to be vital steps to get right as they leave Early Access. They want to make sure each step is right before they move on to the next.

After the launch of 0.63 Experimental, they do plan on introducing a few more features like vehicles, helicopters, and base-building.

They don’t give any exact dates on when the next release will be, instead simply saying that it will be as soon as possible in 2018. The beta release (0.63 Stable) is set to release some time after that.

2018 is gearing up to be one of the most important years DayZ has ever had as they’re planning on taking the game from beta to full release. MMOGames has been following DayZ since 2011 and we cannot wait to see them take the next steps as they leave Early Access behind. Will you be taking part in the DayZ beta when it releases?

 

Source: Official Status Report

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