Free Online Games This Weekend

There are several different free online games available this weekend that we would normally cover on MMOGames so we wanted to make sure you know about them. To start with Black Desert Online is going to be free to play this weekend on Xbox One. This comes right as Pearl Abyss has opened up Kamasylvia opening up on Xbox One and while they’re gearing up for the release of the game on the PS4. They’re also offering 30% to 50% off all three bundles they offer, so, if you like the game you can get it discounted.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

The other game you can get for free is Mutant Year Zero. This, along with Hyper Light Drifter is free this week on the Epic Games Store. Mutant Year Zero is a big surprise because it did come out less than a year ago. But they did just recently launch an expansion so maybe it isn’t all that much of a surprise after all. Of course to get this free game or Hyper Light Drifter you have to get the Epic Games Store which is itself a whole different can of worms. One that some people refuse to touch. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s worth getting. The Epic Store does offer free games pretty regularly though. So you might decide its worth it.

 

Source: Black Desert Online Console Site, Rock Paper Shotgun

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Microsoft Introduces Limited Edition Fortnite Xbox One S Bundle; We Hope You Like Purple

In just a few days’ time, Microsoft will have some surprises in store for its fans with its E3 showcase. But it isn’t waiting until then to hit the ground running. It’s already announced that it’ll offer some deals throughout the week of E3, and the days leading up to it. Also coming this week is a fun little bundle for those of you that are fans of the multiplayer hit Fortnite.

Fortnite Xbox

The company will launch a special Xbox One S bundle starting on June 7, going for the price of $299. The Xbox One S Fortnite Battle Royale bundle will come with an exclusive purple colored controller and console bundle, along with a downloaded copy of the game. In addition, it’ll also have some extras to go along with it, such as a Legendary Outfit, a Rare Pickaxe, an Epic Glider and 2000 V-Bucks.

Of course, you’ll also need to get online to play with your friends. Fortunately, you’ll be able to do so, as the system will also include a month of Xbox Live Gold that can be activated right off the bat. And you can also see what other games are available through the Xbox Game Pass program, as there will be a month of that service included as well. It’s a pretty cool package deal.

Fortnite Xbox

Microsoft didn’t say how long the bundle is available for, but it’s likely to be a big hit with Fortnite fans, so it should sell out quickly. Your best bet is to preorder it whenever you can and pick it up when it goes on sale starting on the 7th. Sadly, it doesn’t look like a DJ Llama is in the package, though you can draw one on your controller if you feel the need.

As for what other bundles Microsoft could introduce over the week, those announcements could likely come this Sunday when the company hosts its official E3 press conference. We’ll bring you any breaking details as they become available!

 

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Improbable, Epic Games, and Umi Co. Ltd. Team up to Make New MMO Code: Odyssey

Improbable, the makers of SpatialOS, Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, and Umi Co. Ltd., the makers of…well, actually they’re pretty much an unknown Chinese developer…the three of them are teaming up to create an MMO 2.0 game currently called Code: Odyssey.

The game will be created using Unreal Engine 4 and this won’t be Umi’s first. They already have a mobile MMORPG using Unreal Engine 4 that was released in China and another one, besides Code: Odyssey in development.

From the sound of it Code: Odyssey might actually be a title we see get a global release. It’s being called a “super large scale sandbox open-world MMO 2.0” with an aim to create a global cultural IP derived from China. It is just one of many games that have been announced recently that uses Chinese myths and legends with a steampunk theme.

So far that’s all we know about Code: Odyssey. But, it caught our eye because SpatialOS has a lot of potential but doesn’t get used nearly often enough.

Dragon Raja

Also, in China, the game previously known as Project: SU which is in the works between Epic and Loong Entertainment was finally given a name. It’s being called Dragon Raja and it will be another Unreal Engine 4 MMORPG. And yes, this one is a mobile game too, that’s the world we live in now. The game will feature, amongst other things PvP battles that support up to 100 players. It’s based on the Chinese novel Dragon Raja, not the Korean one with the same name. Tencent will be publishing the game in China.

 

Source: MMOCulture, MMOCulture

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10 Studios That Would Make Your Dream MMORPG

The MMORPG genre is far from dead, but it could surely use a boost from a top player in the industry. Can you imagine if the masterminds behind the Witcher franchise decided to make an MMORPG? Just how splendid that would be.

This thought alone led me to ponder on other studios that could potentially deliver your dream MMORPG. I chose to leave some renowned developers out of the equation as they clearly need a respite to reflect on their recent blunders. Who exactly, I hear you ask?

Bethesda, to begin with. The mess of a game that is Fallout 76 didn’t do any favors to its reputation, so they need the time to realign their focus – The Elder Scrolls fans are watching. BioWare also seems to be stuck in a rut following the lackluster releases of Mass Effect: Andromeda and the highly anticipated and equally unfulfilling Anthem. Finally, Destiny 2 is clearly showing that many players are getting tired of Bungie’s microtransaction-laden sci-fi worlds and the studio needs to move on to more rewarding and fair experiences.

Without further delay, here are ten studios that wouldn’t let you down – hopefully.

CDProjekt (The Witcher Franchise, Cyberpunk 2077)

Dream MMORPG Studios CDProjekt

The storytelling gurus at CDProjekt delivered three of the best RPGs ever made but are yet to prove themselves outside of Geralt de Rivia’s universe. Cyberpunk 2077 is its first stab at another setting, trading medieval fantasy for grim futuristic sci-fi. Here is a studio that doesn’t shy away from a challenge and is known for pouring its heart into each game. CDProjekt deserves extra honors for its crusade against DRM technology and the belief that players should feel compelled to buy a game for its sheer value, instead of pirating it.

The Witcher series has all the trappings of an MMORPG. Great lore, captivating characters, exciting combat and large regions to explore. CDProjekt could probably build on this to create a massively multiplayer world and considering that it owns the rights to video games based on The Witcher novels, there is no shortage of potential or visible blockades along the way – except when Witcher creator Andrzej Sapkowski realizes he needs more money.

Or they could go for something completely original instead, no strings attached. No matter CDProjekt’s decision, it’s a proven fact that they value their players and would go the extra mile to create something utterly memorable.

Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto Franchise, Red Dead Franchise, Bully…)

Dream MMORPG Studios Rockstar Games

No matter what Rockstar sets out to do, Rockstar achieves – even if it means putting its staff through excruciating long hours. That’s the ugly side of the video game industry, sadly not as unusual as it should be.

But back to the matter at hand. Rockstar Games is a huge publisher with several subsidiaries with proven track records. Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead are its two major franchises, where they show their skills both in single-player and multiplayer. There is no doubt that they would work wonders in an MMO environment…

… “But isn’t that a thing already with GTA Online and Red Dead Online?,” the observant crowd asks. Well, you ingeniously inquisitive fellows, the answer is both yes and no. These online modes for the popular franchises may be robust and excitingly entertaining, but I want to see Rockstar doing something bigger and bolder. Not just multiplayer revisions of the original gameplay, but something supporting way more than 32 players. An entirely new IP, featuring the same open world ideas from the above-mentioned games but with a more elaborate, story-based approach to the game world.

It would be an interesting challenge to tackle, and I’m convinced that Rockstar would be successful. Business as usual.

Ubisoft (Far Cry Franchise, Assassin’s Creed Franchise…)

Dream MMORPG Studios Ubisoft

Currently, Ubisoft is synonym with Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, but the French company has a lot more under its sleeve. The Division 2, for example, is just one of several games that happily dabble with online gameplay, but is it a true MMORPG? I wouldn’t say so. Oddly enough, there isn’t a single full-fledged story-driven MMORPG anywhere to be seen in Ubisoft’s enviable backlog.

Ubisoft’s experience with rich open world settings would be invaluable when it comes to building a vast and diverse map for an MMORPG. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey shows a developer with several great ideas and a brilliant grasp on art direction, storytelling and combat system. The Assassin’s Creed franchise is a potential candidate for a massively multiplayer release, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Ubisoft using its expertise and resources with an original IP.

Epic Games (Fortnite Battle Royale, Gears of War…)

Dream MMORPG Studios Epic Games

The overwhelming success of Fortnite Battle Royale coupled with the industry-leading Unreal Engine are the two main drivers of Epic Games’ unstoppable growth. The failure of third-person MOBA Paragon wasn’t enough to deter the studio, and it was convinced that Fortnite would come out of development hell and convince the masses. It did, but the “help” of a rival to steer it in the right direction was essential: PUBG introduced it the wondrous world of Battle Royale.

For a studio that was founded in 1991 and enjoyed several successes over the years, Epic Games is sitting at the top of its game. They could easily design a traditional third-person MMORPG as they have the resources – mainly the engine –, the know-how and the financial freedom. They are proven masters of every visual style, so they could go for a sci-fi fantasy theme enriched with realistic features (as seen in Paragon) or choose a laid-back cartoon approach (Fortnite). While it is early days for fully-fledged Unreal Engine 4 MMORPGs (Nexon’s Project BBQ, Blade & Soul’s Vision update, NCsoft’s Project TL…), Epic Games could easily stand out from the competition with its expertise with the engine.

Grinding Gear Games (Path of Exile)

Dream MMORPG Studios Grinding Gear Games

Is Path of Exile an MMORPG or is it not? That’s a discussion that could go on for days, but the general opinion is that it is an ‘online action RPG.’ Rightfully acclaimed as one of the best examples of the Diablo school of hack and slash, Grinding Gear Games’ title could work as a great prelude to an MMORPG.

Grim and gloomy just as Diablo is – or was? –, Path of Exile could serve as the stepping stone for an isometric MMORPG in the style of Lost Ark. With open world areas and world bosses for dozens of players to cooperate, along with the traditional instanced dungeons, it’s not like GGG’s first and only game strays too far from MMORPG territory. Their updates are renowned for being huge and going in the direction of player requests and aren’t afraid of drastically changing something that doesn’t feel right – as they did with the Fall of Oriath expansion, completely altering the campaign structure.

The big question here is if it would be worthwhile developing a second game that fundamentally would borrow many mechanics from Path of Exile. Perhaps going for a different, less grisly theme would be the best choice?

Digital Extremes (Warframe)

Dream MMORPG Studios Digital Extremes

Through perseverance and unshakeable belief in its original vision, Digital Extremes managed to surpass everyone’s expectations and showed a thing or two to many publishers of little faith. Warframe went from being a niche game to a behemoth of an online action RPG.

It’s this perseverance and long-term vision that would ultimately set them apart from other developers. Ironically, it was absent from hero shooter The Amazing Eternals, but realizing early on that something isn’t going to take off may be a positive as well.

Digital Extremes is absolutely at ease with sci-fi and fast-paced movement, so it would be the perfect candidate for a frantic action combat MMORPG. They are no strangers to open world MMO gameplay as well, with Warframe’s updates Plains of Eidolon and Fortuna showing that they can hold their own in this department.

The only downside would probably be that this hypothetical MMORPG would be, just as Warframe, in open beta for all eternity and beyond. But we all can live with that, right?

Riot Games (League of Legends)

Dream MMORPG Studios Riot Games

Riot Games must step up its game soon or risk seeing the fountain of riches that is League of Legends eventually dry out. How fun would it be to see Runeterra becoming the stage for an MMORPG? It’s not as crazy as it sounds either; it was Riot Games’ co-founder Marc Merrill that came up with the thought and fans reacted accordingly.

Of course, this is nothing but speculation. While Riot Games is said to be “experimenting a lot of stuff,” and considering the implications of going head-to-head with World of Warcraft, nothing is set in stone.

However, it should happen. League of Legends has some terrific characters and intricate lore that could work nicely in an MMORPG. The colorful cartoon aesthetic feels just right for a third-person perspective, and it goes without saying that the League of Legends player base would jump at the thought of seeing its favorite world expanding. This MMORPG must be made while the MOBA remains at its best, so that gives them… two to three years?

KOG Studio (Grand Chase, Elsword, KurtzPel…)

Dream MMORPG Studios KOG Studio

KOG Studio is something of a weird case. While an expert in online games, the South Korean studio still hasn’t dipped its feet in traditional MMORPG territory. Grand Chase and Elsword are acclaimed MMO games but they are action games at heart and couldn’t be further from the likes of World of Warcraft or EverQuest.

Nonetheless, Elsword is considered a 2.5D action MMORPG, which means that it includes core mechanics such as guilds, PvP and item trading. KOG’s latest game, KurtzPel, switches to a third-person perspective but is a focused PvP brawler experience with boss raid PvE gameplay tacked on.

So why do I reckon that KOG could deliver an outstanding MMORPG? Because they have years of experience in online games, a couple of successful titles under its belt, and a mastery of action gameplay. The cherry on top is the combat system developed for KurtzPel, which would work impeccably in an MMORPG. The same thing goes for the beautiful anime graphics.

I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old curmudgeon, but adding hub towns with proper quests to KurtzPel would be a great place to start. Follow it with complete dungeons, let it cook for a couple of years and we would get a stunning anime MMORPG. Sadly, KurtzPel isn’t going to be that game, but KOG may eventually get to it in the future.

DevCAT (Vindictus, Mabinogi, Dragon Hound, Ascendant One…)

Dream MMORPG Studios DevCAT

For many of you, the name DevCAT may not ring a bell, but what about Mabinogi and Vindictus? Now that tells you something, doesn’t it? The South Korean studio is behind these classic MMORPGs, with Vindictus being one of the best examples in action combat before TERA or Black Desert Online showed up to the party. This game is live and getting updates up to this day, further proof that DevCAT stands by its work.

A sequel to Vindictus is long overdue and was once in development, but it felt more like an arena brawler spin-off than a proper follow-up. It ended up being canceled, with DevCAT moving on to other games. The monster-hunting online game Dragon Hound is one of its upcoming titles and a very promising one, and DevCAT is also reimagining Mabinogi for mobile devices, and it looks terribly cute. DevCAT’s catalog shows that it is a studio capable of tackling any challenge, from MMORPGs to MOBAs and even card games.

DevCAT should consider updating Vindictus to the current generation, just as Neople is doing with Dungeon Fighter Online’s sequel (codename Project BBQ). A third-person, brutal action combat MMORPG mixing Vindictus’ varied character selection with an open world like Black Desert Online could be a pleasant recipe. Nexon just needs to give them the go-ahead and we’ll all be happy.

SEGA (Yakuza, Phantasy Star Online 2…)

Dream MMORPG Studios SEGA

I’m not even going to bother with Phantasy Star Online 2 anymore. I gave up on the promised western release a long time ago, but SEGA could at least be so kind as to officially confirm that this version is dead and buried, something that they didn’t even worry about telling their fans. We need some sort of closure on this subject, guys!

SEGA is no stranger to MMORPGs, as you can see, so it’s peculiar to realize that it has all but abandoned the genre. A new Phantasy Star Online game would result in millions of joyful players worldwide, but I wouldn’t rule out something based on the Yakuza franchise as well. This prolific series is acclaimed for its open world and story, as well as for the abundance of mini-games and entertaining side-quests. Aren’t those some of the fundamentals of a full-fledged MMORPG?

Between a new Phantasy Star Online and a Yakuza MMORPG, the choice is far from easy. Recently we were fooled into thinking that the latter one was happening, but Yakuza Online turned out to be a mobile card game. In your face, expectations!

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MMO Money: A Week of Lawsuits and Nintendo Being Awesome

Lawsuits abound this week in the online gaming world with both Activision Blizzard and Epic Games the focus of new lawsuits. Meanwhile, Nintendo gives us a much-needed breath of fresh air with how they treat gamers and their employees. Bidding for Nexon is set to begin in April with the list of bidders reduced to just 5. Find all of this and more in this week’s MMO Money.

 

Nexon Shortlists Five Bidders for the Company

There has been quite a lot of interest in Nexon recently from major companies around the world including Disney, EA, Comcast, Tencent, and many others. But, Nexon has now lowered that list to just 5 bidders. Those five include Tencent and Kakao Corp. along with three private equity firms, Bain Capital, MBK Partners, and an unidentified firm. Quite significantly Netmarble isn’t included in this list. Netmarble had been putting together a consortium of Korean firms to bid together, believing that selling to an overseas company will damage the local games industry. In fact, this may be why we don’t see any Western-based interests in the shortlist. Bidding for the 98.64% share of Nexon that is expected to be worth as much as $13.3 billion is expected to begin in early April.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

Nintendo Asks Mobile Partners to Stop Players From Spending So Much

In a time when it seems like all game companies are after is your money Nintendo comes out and gives you a little bit of faith in the industry once more. The company is concerned with its self-image and has asked some of its mobile game development partners to adjust the microtransactions in their games so players are less likely to overspend. A source at CyberAgent, who owns the developers of Dragalia Lost told the Wall Street Journal, “Nintendo is not interested in making a large amount of revenue from a single smartphone game. If we managed the game alone, we would have made a lot more.”

This also comes less than a week after a recruitment page for Nintendo shed some light on what it’s like working for the company. The average salary is ¥9.03 million, that’s $80,000, employees can potentially get bonuses in June and December plus a pay increase every April. The average workday at Nintendo is seven hours and forty-five minutes long. As if all of that doesn’t already sound amazing full-time employees stay at the company for an average of 13.5 years. Anyone familiar with the games industry in the West will know that developers tend not to stay in one company for very long. If you’re interested in knowing more about that check out this article from Polygon.

From a personal point of view both of these pieces of news make me more likely to look at Nintendo games and support what they’re doing. Their views and the way they treat their employees is a breath of fresh air in the games industry today.

 

Source: Wall Street Journal, Games Industry

 

 

Vivendi Sells Remaining Ubisoft Shares

Ubisoft Joins Forces With Horror Movie Studio

Its been almost a year since Vivendi announced it was going to stop trying to acquire Ubisoft and finally the remaining shares it had in the company have been sold. The remaining shares it had was about 5% of the company, €429 million.

At one point in time, Vivendi owned a 27.3% stake in the company and though its attempts to own the company completely failed they did bring in about €2 billion, a capital gain of €1.2 billion. Though they failed to achieve their original goal you can hardly call the entire thing a failure. I’d love to fail my way to €2 billion, that’s about $2.2 billion USD. Vivendi has stated that they will honor their agreement and not buy shares in Ubisoft for at least 5 years.

Vivendi had previously owned Activision Blizzard but it sold the company to an investment group led by Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly for $8.2 billion. That deal pushed Vivendi out of the games industry for 3 years until it bought its way back in with a hostile takeover of Gameloft.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

A New Law firm is Encouraging Shareholders to Sue Activision Blizzard Over Bungie Split

Another law firm is inviting shareholders to join in a class action lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, accusing the company of misleading shareholders over the end of its partnership with Bungie. The firm’s loss submission form makes the following claims:

Activision failed to disclose that “the termination of Activision Blizzard and Bungie’s partnership… was imminent”

That this termination “would foreseeably have a significant negative impact on Activision Blizzard’s revenues.”

And as a result “Activision Blizzard’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all times.”

Activision Blizzard previously said that the split from Bungie was because Destiny 2 failed to meet financial expectations. But in a recent SEC filing, the company recognized $164 million in revenue from Destiny for 2018 as a result of the split.

This comes at a time when shareholders for Activision Blizzard aren’t too happy with the company. They’ve had to warn investors that cutting hundreds of jobs (800 in total) may damage the company. They even went so far as to say there can be “no assurance that our business will be more efficient or effective” than it was before this new strategy.

Why can’t you be more like Nintendo?

 

Source: Games Industry

 

Man Sues Epic Games Over Predatory Loot Boxes

While we’re on the topic of lawsuits we should mention that Epic Games is being sued, yet again. This time though it isn’t because they used a dance in their game, instead it’s over allegations that Epic Games has engaged in predatory schemes with loot boxes in Fortnite. They allege that Epic intentionally designed Save the World to hinder player’s progress if they didn’t spend real money. They also say that Epic has “made a fortune on in-game purchases, preying in large part on minors who are especially susceptible to such predatory tactics.” The lawsuit accuses Epic of violating California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law, and Unfair Competition Law.

What the lawsuit doesn’t mention though is that since January Epic Games now shows the contents of loot llamas in Save the World before they’re purchased with V-Bucks. So it is possible that the lawsuit won’t go anywhere since they’ve already made changes to the areas that the lawsuit covers.

 

Source: Games Industry

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Carlton Sues Fortnite Over His Dance Along with 2 Milly and Backpack Kid

Just two weeks ago rapper 2 Milly filed a lawsuit against Epic Games for the use of his dance the Milly Rock. Now Alfonso Ribeiro aka Carlton sues Fortnite for the very same reason, the use of his dance The Carlton from Fresh Prince of Belair. Instagram star Backpack Kid who made the Floss dance has also joined in as we were writing this! In addition to Fortnite, the three are also going after NBA 2K18 which also features the dances.

“It is widely recognized that Mr. Ribeiro’s likeness and intellectual property have been misappropriated by Epic Games in the most popular video game currently in the world, ‘Fortnite,’” David L. Hecht, a partner at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, said to Variety in a statement. “Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like ‘Fresh.’ Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property. Therefore, Mr. Ribeiro is seeking his fair and reasonable share of profits Epic has earned by use of his iconic intellectual property in ‘Fortnite’ and as a result, is requesting through the courts that Epic cease all use of Mr. Ribeiro’s signature dance.”

According to a copy of the complaint which was given to Variety The Carlton dance “is inextricably linked to the actor and is a part of his celebrity persona, and both Epic and Take-Two have unfairly profited from his creative expression, likeness, and celebrity without his consent and without compensation.”

When you put it like that, it’s really hard to argue in Fortnite’s favor. But, games have been using The Carlton for quite a long time now. Guild Wars 2 uses the dance for the Norn race and they’ve been doing so for 6 years now without any issue. Are these three only jumping on board now because it’s Fortnite and Fortnite is big money? Or is it because Epic is selling these dances whereas games like GW2 don’t. We’d love to know what your opinion of this whole thing is in the comments below.

 

Source: Variety

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MMO Money: September Earnings for Games, Game Deals Reach Record Highs

In this week’s MMO Money we’ve got a look at the September earnings for games, Mergers and Acquisitions in the gaming industry, investments, and more Tencent news. There were a few surprises this week and a few heartstoppers. Find all of that and more below.

 

Destiny 2 Gets Massive September Boost

Superdata has released their list of September earnings for games on PC, Console, and mobile. The big story from September was the success of Destiny 2’s expansion Forsaken which shot it up to the number one spot on console. In fact, over 60% of all Destiny 2 monthly users bought the expansion. Also looking solely at console, Fortnite slipped down to 4th place when in the previous month it held the number one spot. There was a lot of moving around and swapping places in the chart in September thanks to expansions and in-game events. Mobile seems to be pretty stable though. Check out the full list below.

Also, part of that report was the news that digital spending on games is up this year from $912 million to $1.24 billion from the same month last year. This is fantastic news as we head into the holiday season. It also suggests that this holiday season will be stronger than last year’s as well.

Source: Superdata

 

Wild West Online Studio Collapsed, But All is OK Now?

As it turns out, one of the reasons people stopped talking about Wild West Online for a few months there is because the studio stopped making the game. In fact, the studio collapsed altogether because they couldn’t pay their employees. The game got a bit of a helping hand from Free Reign Entertainment who is now helping to develop the game. The new team only includes 3 from the original team so it sounds like they’re going through a bit of a reboot. Another sign of that reboot is the introduction of a Battle Royale mode. The Battle Royale mode will be ready for testing sometime very soon, but will it be a success? We’ve seen many times where games have transitioned to follow the current trend and suffered for it. One such example is SOS, which never recovered from becoming a Battle Royale title and will be shutting down quite soon.

Source: Official Forums

 

Epic Raises $1.25 Billion from Investors

It’s a good time to be Epic. They’ve got one of the most successful, most talked about games in the world at the moment and now they’ve got an additional 1.25 billion dollars to work with. The company is already estimated to be worth between 5 and 8 billion. Tencent and Disney are already invested in Epic and now KKR, ICONIQ Capital, Smash Ventures, aXiomatic, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Lightspeed Venture Partners are joining in. Epic hasn’t laid out any plans for all of that money yet but we’re sure they’re already working on that. CEO Tim Sweeney spoke about the fundraising saying, “We’re excited to partner with the finest minds in the financial, sports, and entertainment communities. This reinforces Epic’s position of leadership in real-time 3D technology, and accelerates our ability to improve the way people play, work, and interact with the world.”

Source: Games Industry

 

Game Deals in 2018 Worth a Record $25 Billion

Digi-Capital has revealed that games deals have already gone past the $25 billion mark in the first 9 months of 2018, making this year a record year. However, previous experience suggests that we may be in for a sharp decline very soon. 2014 was a fantastic year for mergers and acquisitions but immediately following that we saw a sharp decline to the lowest numbers in a decade. MMOs and MOBAs in mobile and PC sectors saw significant investments despite the fact that these genres are in a decline. Much of it came from Tencent who has been quite busy diversifying and throwing money at companies.

While gaming mergers and acquisitions have hit a near record high just one single deal accounted for nearly half of the total. This was when South African based media group Naspers sold 2% of Tencent for more than $10 billion. That’s a 60,000% return on its original investment.

Games IPOs seem to be following a three-year pattern since 2010. They will have a big year followed by two quiet ones and then repeat. 2017 was a record year with $17.1 billion but that number has dropped 90% to just $1.1 billion in 2018. That suggests that 2019 will also not be a very strong year for IPOs. Which raises questions about Green Man Gaming who has delayed their flotation twice now.

Source: Digi-Capital

 

Steam Reaches 90 Million Monthly Users

In just over a year the number of active monthly users of Steam has grown by 23 million according to a new report from Valve. In January they had a peak concurrent users at 18.5 million. This was at the height of PUBG’s popularity. The growth comes, in part like so much of the industries growth this year…from China. In China, the number of people using Steam doubled from 15 million last year to 30 million this year.

What does all of this mean for Valve? More money of course. But, there may also be some complications with their expansion into China as the government cracks down harder every month on games, especially foreign ones.

Source: Steam

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find a time machine and invest in Tencent.

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MMO Money: Fortnite on iOS Earns $300 Million in 200 Days

After a brief break, we’re back looking at the gaming business world. This week we have more updates to the ongoing Tencent story, Fortnite on iOS earns $300 million in 200 days, acquisitions, downsizes, and much more. Find all the stories below in this week’s MMO Money.

 

Fortnite on iOS Earns $300 Million in 200 Days

Fortnite on iOS

Fortnite continues to dominate the world of gaming having earned $300 million just on iOS in 200 days, with $20 million of that coming from the week after Season 6 launched. This news comes from a new Sensor Tower report. The last one on Fortnite iOS showed the game had brought in $100 million in 90 days. Quite a big difference between the two. While this is massively impressive, it actually isn’t the fastest game to reach $300 million on iOS, that record goes to Pokemon Go which got there in just 113 days. However, just as Fortnite iOS was able to surpass Clash of Clans, which it had failed to beat at the 90-day mark, it is entirely possible the game will also surpass Pokemon Go at the next milestone. Fortnite’s biggest rival, PUBG Mobile has reached about $47 million on iOS since it started offering in-app purchases on April 15th.

A whopping 65% of the revenue from the 200 days came from the United States. Around the world, players spend an average of $1.5 million per day on just the iOS version of the game, and that number has gone up to $2.5 million since the launch of season 6. On Android, it has been estimated that Fortnite has brought in over $60 million since it started beta in early August.

Source: Sensor Tower

 

Epic Games Acquires Game Security Firm Kamu

Epic Games has acquired a Helsinki based game security and anti-cheating firm named Kamu. They offer publishers a range of services that include multiplayer game management, game security, game telemetry, and anti-cheat technology that is used by 100 million PC players around the world. They’ve been working with Epic on Fortnite to ensure that the multiplayer is fair for all players. The amount Epic acquired Kamu for has remained undisclosed.

Source: Games Industry

 

UK Games Industry Contributes £2.87 Billion to the Economy

A new report on the effect of tax relief in the UK has revealed that the UK games industry contributes £2.87 billion to the economy. It also supports 47,620 full-time equivalent jobs. Games that were part of the tax relief system generated £156 million in tax revenue. This comes from £45 million that was paid out in tax relief, meaning that for every £1 invested by the government in the games industry, another £4 was added to the economy. In many cases, the games never would have been made if it weren’t for the tax relief that the UK offers. The number generated was higher than children’s TV which brought in £2.73 for every £1. It certainly wasn’t the highest however, with animation (£4.44), high-end TV (£6.10), and film (£7.69) bringing in more. Still, the UK has proven that tax relief for video games is incredibly profitable for the people of the United Kingdom. All of these numbers come from 2016 and are likely higher today.

Source: Games Industry

 

Tencent Update

We’ve been following Tencent quite a bit recently as they’ve been massively impacted by the new regulations in China and it is time for yet another update to the story. So far this year, the company has seen $190 billion wiped from its market value.

At the beginning of October, Tencent announced they would be restructuring for the first time in six years. The company has decided to consolidate three content business groups to form a new group for cloud and smart industries. The company said in a statement: “[Tencent will] further explore the integration of social, content and technology that is more suitable for future trends, and promote the upgrade from consumer internet to industrial internet.”

Tencent has also started using facial recognition software to check the age of people playing Honour of Kings in China. Honour of Kings has previously faced backlash for causing addiction in young players. In July last year, Tencent introduced a daily play limit of one hour for children under 12 and two hours for those aged 13 to 18. They also added real-name recognition to the game last month. The trial is limited to thousands of players in Beijing and Shenzhen.

Finally, to round out the Tencent news for this week, the company has announced that they’ve invested $316 million in Bilibili. This will give Tencent a 12.3% share of the company which owns the Overwatch League Hangzhou team. The company itself is a video sharing service but it is also the owner of a League of Legends team. So, while things may be looking somewhat grim for Tencent at the moment they are still investing in other companies, which is always a good sign.

Source: Games Industry, Games Industry, Games Industry

 

Media Company Advance Acquires Majority Stake in Newzoo

Advance, the media company behind Reddit, Conde Nast, Charter Communications, and many others now has a majority stake in game industry analysts Newzoo. Alongside the majority stake purchase, Advance is planning on making a significant investment in the company. With the investment, the company plans to increase its US presence, beginning with the existing office in San Francisco. Newzoo also plans on opening an office in New York, where Advance is located, in the future.

Source: Games Industry

 

South Korean Network OGN Bringing Esports Programming to North America

Esports Network OGN has announced that they’re investing around $100 million to broadcast live esports events in North America, with a part of this beginning with PUBG. They will be broadcasting the debut of the National PUBG League (NPL). The NPL is planned to start in January with a prize pool of $1 million. To house the league, OGN has started construction of a 35,000 square foot arena in Manhattan Beach, California.

Source: CNBC

 

Infinite Esports & Entertainment Lays off 19 Employees

Overwatch Arcade Changes We'd Like to See - Overwatch Battle Royale

Infinite Esports, a holding company with a number of esports related subsidiaries including the Overwatch League Houston Outlaws team, has laid off 19 employees and replaced their President. The new President of the company has come out and said that they grew too fast. Going forward, 70 employees will remain at the company, including the previous President who will remain involved as co-founder and owner.

Source: Games Industry

 

FIFA 19 Now Gives You the Odds on Packs

For the first time ever, FIFA 19 is disclosing pack odds…and it isn’t great news. The trouble with it lies in the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) and the Ones to Watch promotion. The promotion includes 23 of the highest profile and most promising transfers from across the world. Special versions of Cristiano Ronaldo and Riyad Mahrez are included. These highly sought after cards have a less than one percent chance of dropping. The inclusion of the odds comes after EA ran into trouble with the Belgian Gaming Authority with FIFA 18’s lootboxes.

Source: Gamasutra

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Battle Royale Weekly: Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Blackout Leak and Epic is Unhappy

This week we have a pretty big variety in the news around Battle Royale games. A new Battle Royale game has been announced, Fortnite is having security and player problems, and on top of that, we have a Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Blackout leak, and so much more.

 

Battlefield V

Battle Royale news

If you’re more interested in the Combined Arms co-op and the Battle Royale modes for Battlefield V, you may want to wait to get Battlefield V. Both of these modes have been pushed back and won’t be available at launch. Vehicle customization also won’t be there at launch. This seems like an example of the publisher setting a launch date the developers are finding difficult to meet.

Source: WCCTech

 

Battlerite Royale

The announcement of Battlerite Royale as its own game came with a lot of mixed feelings from Battlerite players. Stunlock has acknowledged that there are things they could have done better in the announcement. The studio has promised that an FAQ would be posted in September but they also answered some questions that the community had been discussing.

Anyone who bought Battlerite in Early Access or has purchased the All Champions Pack or the Ultimate Fan Pack will get a coupon for 50% off the game as well as a limited edition Legendary Ember Tiger mount. Battlerite players who don’t fit into the above category but do have an account level 20 or higher when Battlerite Royale launches will receive the limited Epic Ricky the Rocket mount if they purchase Battlerite Royale. Players who meet both requirements will get both mounts and any cosmetics that are unlocked in Battlerite Arena will be shared in Battlerite Royale.

Battlerite Royale will cost $20 and is expected to start Early Access by the end of September.

Source: Official Site

 

Call of Duty Black Ops 4

Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Blackout leak

A new leak may have revealed a whole lot of new information about Blackout, the Battle Royale mode of the game. This leak comes from The Wew Lads who correctly leaked previous content about another Call of Duty title, so there may be some credibility to this leak.

Blackout mode will, according to the leak, have doors that can be opened and closed. It will also have zombies in a selected area. The mode may feature up to 100 players. The leak also talks about a new mode called Outboarding which is a training/tutorial mode. Oh and if this is important, you do in fact parachute into the map. Raising the question, is it a Battle Royale game if you don’t parachute in?

Source: WCCTech

 

Dying Light: Bad Blood

At Gamescom, Techland announced that Dying Light: Bad Blood would be entering Early Access in September, though no exact date was given. It has been confirmed that while consoles won’t be part of the Early Access, the game will release on Playstation 4 and Xbox One when it launches. The game will be free to play unless you want to take part in Early Access. The Early Access will be part of the $19.99 Founders Pack. This pack will include:

  • Exclusive Golden Founder’s Mask
  • Three exclusive Legendary weapon skins
  • Golden Neckslicer dagger
  • Golden Bonecleaver machete
  • Golden Skullopener cricket bat
  • 1000 Blood Bucks
  • Three exclusive Legendary skins distributed over three months post-launch

Thanks to their presence at Gamescom we now have quite a lot of gameplay footage on Youtube to dig through. So if you want to know what its like before you throw cash at it, this is your chance….or you could just wait until it launches.

Source: Techadvisor.co.uk

 

Egress

Egress has introduced a new mode called Piñata that is exactly what it says in the name. You’ll be on one of two sides and your job is to destroy the other team’s piñata while protecting your own. Check out the short video introducing the new mode below.

Source: Press Release

 

Fear the Wolves

Fear The Wolves

The Early Access for Fear the Wolves is underway on Steam with mixed reviews. 55% of the 63 reviews for the game are positive. According to SteamCharts, their concurrent peak so far has been 388 players, not bad for a game that has been in Early Access for less than three days that isn’t free to play. We also have a content roadmap for September which will include things like 2 seater vehicles and weapon customization. In October players can expect more movement options, new melee mechanics, and an in-game event system.

Source: SteamCharts, Steam Announcement

 

Fortnite

Fortnite on Android is experiencing some security issues that are prompting many prominent tech sites to recommend staying away from the game for now. A Google employee discovered a vulnerability that allowed hackers to replace the app with a fake version of the game. Google immediately notified Epic, who quickly got to work on fixing the issue. They also asked Google not to disclose the vulnerability to the public for 90 days, to give players time to install the new patch. Google instead waited the industry standard 7 days before they went public. Epic then lashed out at Google for doing so, which raised a lot of red flags for those in the cyber security sphere.

Google isn’t the only group that Epic is upset with right now, they’re also looking at fans who are unlocking the exclusive Galaxy skin with demo phones in stores. For those who don’t know what that is, when Fortnite was announced for Android they also announced an exclusive partnership with Samsung that would give owners of the brand new Samsung Note 9 or Tab S4 an incredibly rare skin, the rarest skin of them all in fact. Samsung themselves aren’t very happy about this either and many stores are putting up signs telling shoppers not to install Fortnite. Which, of course, they aren’t. They hoped this would attract people to buy their very pricey new devices.

Source: CNET, Polygon

 

H1Z1

The original survival mode for H1Z1 which was named Just Survive…hasn’t survived. Daybreak has announced that the game will shut down in October despite having never even launched. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise though as the Battle Royale game took off in a way that Just Survive never did.

Source: Press Release

 

Mortal Royale

Another week, another new Battle Royale game. Star Vault, the creators of Mortal Online have announced Mortal Royale, a Battle Royale game with 1,000 players. Along with finding weapons and armor, you’ll be on the lookout for mounts who give you incredible advantages on the field. You can sign up to take part in the alpha right now on the official site. Check out the trailer for the game below, though if you don’t like blood you might want to skip this one.

Source: Official Site

 

Proxima Royale

Expect to see a new trailer for Proxima Royale in the coming weeks that shows off all the new content they’ve been working on. They also revealed that Closed Beta is on its way, currently slated for Q3 2018. The game is not currently playable, but they are making updates on Steam where they release new information.

Source: Steam

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What Gaming Looks Like One Year After Fortnite

If you can believe it we’ve only been talking about Fortnite, PUBG, and Battle Royale games for a bit over a year now. In fact, we just finished up the first year of Fortnite’s domination over the gaming scene. That means it’s a great time to look at the effects on the gaming industry one year after Fortnite’s release.

At the moment Fortnite is in the top 10 charts for both PC and Console gaming. It’s number 6 for PC, behind titles like League of Legends, PUBG, and Dungeon Fighter Online. On console though, Fortnite is king of the hill and a position it has held since March. It jumped over FIFA 18 and Call of Duty: WWII to take the number one spot. Despite the popularity on PC and Console, it hasn’t managed to chart for revenue from mobile players. The biggest reason for that being it’s only available on iOS at the moment. Despite that, Fortnite Mobile is still bringing in $2 million a day. It’s unlikely that the news that Fortnite won’t be on the Google Play platform will actually do all that much damage to the title and the fact that they don’t have to give 30% of their revenue to Google means Epic may actually win out on this deal.

One Year After Fortnite’s Launch

If this does in fact happen it could prove to be a wake up call for distribution platforms: adjust your fees for the megahits or get left behind. Fortnite doesn’t need Google Play, Steam, or anyone else to distribute the game. Steam needs Fortnite a whole lot more than Fortnite needs Steam. Yes, there are a not insignificant number of people who will only play a game if it is on Steam, but compared to the numbers they already have…that’s just a small drop in the bucket. So, it could very well be that in the future we see these platforms negotiating with games like Fortnite, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and whatever the next massive hit is. Or maybe they will take the same view as the games and decide that they’re doing just fine without them.

The effects Fortnite is having on the industry are widespread. Just last week gaming industry market research experts SuperData Research released a think piece talking about how Fortnite appears to be cannibalizing other massively successful titles. We’re seeing drops in the player numbers and Twitch viewing times for games like League of Legends, CS:GO, and Overwatch. At the same time as these drops, Fortnite is seeing a noticeable increase. This is important because they all tend to appeal to the same core audience. On Steam, PUBG has seen a constant decline in players every month since February, 2018. In March Fortnite overtook PUBG in terms of popularity. It isn’t a difficult stretch to assume that at least some of those players have moved from one battle royale title to another.

Fortnite Battle Royale One Year After Fortnite

As you would expect with trendy new game genres we’ve seen a lot of new Battle Royale games announced. At E3 this year it took only 6 minutes for the first Battle Royale title to be announced. On top of that we had battle royale modes for Battlefield V, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and there may even be one in The Division 2. Cyanide & Happiness is working on a Battle Royale game that takes place after the rapture and the makers of Survarium revealed Fear the Wolves, which is based at Chernobyl and has mutant wolves. While there were a lot of Battle Royale games announced it seems like the bigger studios may have learned their lesson from the MOBA bubble and stayed away.

Even though that was the case at E3, we have now seen EA investors asking when EA is going to get in on the Battle Royale trend. During the Q1 earnings call, there were a lot of questions about Battle Royale games, the possibility of the Battlefield V mode being a separate game, and generally the desire for a standalone Battle Royale game. Will EA’s attempt at a Battle Royale game be successful or will it end up like Dawngate (its attempt to break into the MOBA genre that never made it out of beta before it was canceled)?

We have already seen the demise of one Battle Royale game, Radical Heights, but it’s difficult to count the game’s demise against the genre. The studio behind it was struggling and released the game on Early Access prematurely in an attempt to save the studio from collapse. The game was incomplete because it was rushed out and what success it did have (which wasn’t much) just wasn’t enough to save Boss Key Productions. There was also the rushed release of The Culling 2, which has almost unanimous negative reviews on Steam.

One Year After Fortnite

With Gamescom right around the corner, we’re sure to see even more Battle Royale titles being announced. It is likely that the larger studios will attempt to get in on the action despite previously showing little interest. It’s really impossible to ignore the fact that Fortnite has brought in more than $300 million in one month. That’s a whole lot of money and just like the industry set out to make a WoW killer, soon they’re going to be working on creating a Fortnite killer. Expect to see the exact same results we did then.

To say that Fortnite had an amazing first year would be a massive understatement. They’ve blown everyone out of the water and while the massive growth does seem to be slowing down that isn’t going to last forever. Before long we’ll have Fortnite on Android and bar any disaster it will top charts just like all the other versions of the game. The games industry is still in a reactionary period where they’re changing gears to get in on a piece of that Battle Royale pie. But, that raises a question…

Is there any room left in the Battle Royale genre for more games?

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