Black Desert Online Spinoff Shadow Arena Beta Announced

The Shadow Arena beta has been announced by Pearl Abyss today. Shadow Arena was originally a game within Black Desert Online that has evolved into a game of its own as time has gone on. According to Pearl Abyss, while Shadow Arena does draw from Black Desert Online it has created its own style drawing from Battle Royales, MOBAs, and MMOs to create a unique arena fighter. Shadow Arena has two modes, solo and team which each challenge players in different ways.

A closed beta test for Shadow Arena will be running from February 27th to March 8th. Registration to take part in the beta test can be done on Shadow Arena’s official site. The beta will take place on Steam and will not be available for consoles though the game is expected to be available on consoles after it launches on PC. Right now Pearl Abyss says that they expect Shadow Arena to be released on PC within the first half of this year.

You can also check out the trailer for Shadow Arena which was released back in November as part of Pearl Abyss Connect 2019. The game looks exactly as amazing as you would expect considering it has been spun off from Black Desert Online which is without a doubt the most beautiful MMO that has ever been made.

 

Source: Press Release

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Exosuit MMO Plan 8 Details Have Been Revealed

We first heard about Plan 8 just before GStar earlier this year and now we are finally getting some details about the game as well as some much sought after images.

It is the first shooter that Pearl Abyss has worked on and it uses Pearl Abyss’ brand-new proprietary engine. The Lead Producer for the game is Seungki Lee, the former Environment Art Director for Black Desert Online while Minh Le, the co-creator of the original Counter-Strike is serving as Technical Advisor.

While it is being called a shooter it will in fact incorporate elements from a number of genres, including MMOs. One of the key features of Plan 8 is finding and equipping different Gears to the player’s exosuit which will open up gameplay experiences they say have never been seen before in a game. Each suit has its own special abilities and grants wearers superhuman power, strength, and abilities.

Enhancement of firearms also plays an important role in Plan 8. Unlike in other shooters, there is no standard format for modifications so you will be able to truly customize your weapons.

Plan 8 is being developed for PC and console, though which consoles haven’t yet been stated. The official website for the game is now live and you can subscribe to their official newsletter to get the most up to date news on Plan 8. As of yet, there is no official word on when there will be a beta for the game but as soon as any new information is released we’ll be sure to share it.

 

 

Source: Press Release

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Black Desert Online Mobile Launches Worldwide

Today Pearl Abyss launched Black Desert Online around the world on iOS and Android devices. The game was pre-registered by 4.5 million people after the successful launch of the game in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. To celebrate the 4.5 million pre-registrations Pearl Abyss is offering players special in-game items and gifts like a Tier 1 Horse Emblem, Bunny Bunny Ornament, a Verdon Outfit Chest, Krenvatz Barding, and items that buff character skills.

Pearl Abyss has also launched a partnership with Amazon and Twitch. Amazon Prime members in eligible countries will be able to claim special rewards. Players just need to go to their Amazon Prime accounts and use the event tab to find in-game buffs, character cosmetics, and various items. This partnership is going until March 17th 2020.

Currently Black Desert Mobile is available in English, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Thai, and Indonesian. Portuguese is expected to be added in 2020.

In other Black Desert Online news, the Valkyrie update has arrived on Xbox One today. It introduced the Valkyrie class as well as Alchemy Stone items which allow players to buff character abilities.

Before you go be sure to check out the all-new launch trailer for Black Desert Online below.

Source: Press Release

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Pearl Abyss is Building a Massive New Headquarters in December

Pearl Abyss is building a massive new headquarters in December. The 20-floor building was first announced in January, awaiting the necessary permits. Now that the permits have been given Pearl Abyss has shared some of the features of the impressive building that will hold the more than 500 employees of Pearl Abyss.

It will have 15 floors above ground and 5 underground. An underground parking compound will be able to fit 604 vehicles. The first and second floors will feature the lobby, a gallery of Pearl Abyss’ work, a digital library, a daycare center for the children of employees, plus facilities for employee welfare and testing areas. The facilities for employee welfare include a basketball court and fitness center with yoga, pilates, and a professional masseuse.

The third floor will be a massive cafeteria.

The fourth floor is all meeting rooms of various sizes, including a massive one for all-hands town hall meetings. There will also be an audio studio and a streaming studio on this floor. The audio studio will be where all the sounds and music for Pearl Abyss games will be produced.

Sadly, that’s all we know, but of course, it is obvious that the other many floors will be for offices and the many development teams.

Before Pearl Abyss could begin building they had to get permission for 16 different government departments including the local police and social welfare groups. It will be located in Gwacheon Knowledge Information Town along with a number of game developers including Netmarble. The estimated completion date is currently set for February 2021.

The new Pearl Abyss Headquarters sounds like it is going to be amazing! Now, who do I talk to about getting a job there?

 

Source: MMOCulture

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MMO Business Report: US Tariff on Game Consoles, Pearl Abyss Quarterly Report, and More

Our MMO Business Report is back once again! This week we have some more quarterly reports, this time from Tencent and Pearl Abyss. We’ll also be taking a look at US tariff on game consoles, and a disappointment in the esports industry.

 

Tencent Quarterly Report is Looking Up

Honour of Kings

Tencent’s online game revenue has increased 8% year on year. This is thanks to the end of China’s freeze on game approvals and because of Honour of Kings which has been a constant, steady earner for the company. Mobile games made the most revenue, $3.2 billion USD which is up 26% from last year, but in the same time period, they saw a decline in PC game revenue of 11% to $1.7 billion USD. Looking back at where Tencent was during Q2 last year  and comparing it to this year, you have to keep in mind that last year they were only able to release one new game in China during all of Q2. In comparison, in Q2 2019 they released 10 mobile games, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the company is doing well.

 

Source: Tencent Quarterly Report

 

MMO ‘Seed’ Raises $22 Million from Series B Funding

Seed

SpatialOS MMO Seed has raised an additional $22 million in funding. The money came from investment firms Novator, Northzone, Neoteny, firstminute capital, Makers Fund, New Life Ventures, and LEGO. Yes, THE LEGO. When combined with previous funding this brings the total for Seed up to $37.42 million.

“We are thrilled Novator and LEGO Ventures are making this big bet on us and for getting Ragnarsson on as our Chairman – he truly understands the value of single-shard MMOs and brings his amazing experience from CCP to Klang,” said Klang CEO Mundi Vondi. “Partnering with LEGO Ventures, the global phenomenon of emergent gameplay, is fantastic and aligns perfectly with our vision. Finally, we are humbled that our great current investors Neoteny, firstminute Capital, Northzone, and Makers Fund are joining the round as well and couldn’t be more excited to have the fuel to deliver SEED without compromising on its very big vision.”

 

Source: Games Industry

 

Pearl Abyss Quarterly Report Wows

Black Desert Online

Q2 2019 was Pearl Abyss’ best performing quarter in terms of sales with an amazing 266% rise in net profits quarter on quarter. The overseas market (in this case meaning outside of South Korea) makes up 74% of their sales. During the quarterly report, they also talked about upcoming games. EVE: Aether Wars has been given the green light despite originally only being a technical demo. Black Desert Mobile is set to launch in Q4 2019 globally. Project CD is a new AAA RPG that isn’t based on the Black Desert IP and is going to be targeted to a global audience. Project K and Project V are casual shooting games developed using Pearl Abyss’ new engine. No dates yet for the unnamed projects thus far.

 

Source: MMOCulture

 

Gfinity Esports Australia Closing

Gfinity Esports Australia which has been holding esports events across Australia for the last two years, will be closing in November. The company put out a press release that made it clear the company had not seen the return that was forecast when it was launched.
Dominic Remond, CEO of Gfinity Esports Australia said, “We would like to thank all our stakeholders and the Australian esports community for their support over the last few years. This is a very difficult announcement for all our staff. We will continue to meet our obligations to our existing partners, including Supercars with the upcoming Gfinity Supercars Eseries, and deliver outstanding events until we close later this year.”

Ciaran Davis, Chief Executive of HT&E added, “Esports remains an exciting industry with significant global interest and activity and HT&E believes it will become a mainstream and significant content-audience-commercial medium in the long term. But our absolute focus is on our core radio business and the economics of esports in the Australian market are yet to deliver sustainable, positive earnings. It is critical our investments deliver value for shareholders and with esports there is no certainty on when a positive contribution might be achieved.”

 

Source: Esports Insider

 

US Tariff on Game Consoles

New Tariffs on electronic devices made in China were set to go into place on September 1st, however, the United States Trade Representative said they will delay the tariffs until December 15th. The tariffs cover cellphones, laptops, some toys, computer monitors, video game consoles, and some clothes. The tariff was originally announced in May. Since then Apple, Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft have all sent letters to the USTR stating the tariffs would have an impact on the US economy and force them to raise the prices of their products. What does this mean for consumers? If you’re planning on getting anyone a console for Christmas, buy it now! In fact, Donald Trump even mentioned Christmas while addressing the press.
“We’re doing this for Christmas season, just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers, which, so far, they’ve had virtually none. The only impact has been that we’ve collected almost $60 billion from China – compliments of China. But just in case they might have an impact on people, what we’ve done is we’ve delayed it so that they won’t be relevant for the Christmas shopping season.”

Of course, what Trump said isn’t accurate. The tariffs aren’t being paid by the country they’re coming from or even the countries in that country. They’re a tax on the good being brought into the country by companies that typically end up being passed on to consumers. So don’t be surprised when Christmas is more expensive than usual this year.

Source: Cnet

 

Loot Crate Files for Bankruptcy

Loot Crate has been struggling quite a bit over the last 18 months and has now filed for bankruptcy. However, they’re also claiming they will continue with business as usual. Investor Money Chest LLC has purchased the company’s term-loan and offered $10 million to help keep operations going. Loot Crate said they will continue to pay their employees as usual and overall, from the way they speak of it things seem to be quite smooth.

However, former employees have made claims stating otherwise. Two days before the bankruptcy was announced Loot Crate laid off 50 employees with no severance and no warning. With one of them saying to GamesIndustry.biz, “There’s been a lot of speculation that the reason for that was those who put this layoff together knew the company would be filing bankruptcy, and that they did this knowing former employees couldn’t pursue legal action because of bankruptcy protections. Is this how and why this went down the way it did? I don’t have the ability to say, but I can see the sense in it from those involved in making the decision who likely were apathetic to the employees that would be lost.”

Lootcrate now employs 60 people.

 

Source: Games Industry

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Agreement Reached in Black Desert Online Player Data Dust-Up

In news that will likely come as a relief to CIS fans of Black Desert Online, an agreement has been reached between Pearl Abyss and GameNet that will maintain Black Desert Online player data as Pearl Abyss takes over distribution in the region.

black desert online player data

Despite negotiations breaking down on October 12th and a round of finger-pointing from both companies, the two sides returned to the bargaining table and reached a consensus.

GameNet has agreed to transfer over existing character information along with instructions on how to make the transfer work while Pearl Abyss begins sussing out the technical prep for its own BDO Russian servers. This new version will feature the originally localized features along with other additions made by Pearl Abyss. In addition, players can look forward to in-game gifts and events once the servers go live.

Once again, a timeline for these updates is not provided yet, but will likely be announced in the near future.

Our Thoughts

No matter which side was in the right or wrong, locking away character data and especially player purchases was not a good look for anyone, so we’re glad to see sense prevailed between both companies. Here’s hoping that this transition goes as smoothly as possible.

Source: MMORPG.com

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CCP Games Sale to Fuel Future Projects

So now we’ve all had a fair length of time to fully digest the CCP Games sale to Pearl Abyss last week, perhaps we can all take stock in just what that will ultimately mean for the studio and its future projects. Handily, CEO Hilmar Petursson did just that in an interview with Variety.

ccp games sale

In the interview, Petursson parroted again that the sale of the company to Pearl Abyss would mean great things, but he also elaborated on just what direction things will be going for the studio.

CCP Games has already been eyeballing the mobile games market and will now have the means to pursue a real-time strategy game for mobile based in the EVE universe. There is also word of a PC MMO based on EVE, continued development on the FPS Project: Nova, and a multiplayer PC game based on a new IP.

With all of that said, Petursson stressed that there will be heavy investment in EVE Online. One of the most notable updates due for the game is a full overhaul of its engine, which sounds like it goes above and beyond the graphical update that arrived with the Into the Abyss update. “If we are to really live up to the aspiration of having a game that goes on forever, of making plans for the third decade, we need to look at that,” noted Petursson.

Our Thoughts

With all of this out there, this certainly makes us even more curious about what kind of timetable we’re looking at for all of these CCP Games projects. We definitely hope they’ll be able to follow through on their aspirations. After all, they also pursued the VR market with gusto and that didn’t exactly pan out.

Source: Variety

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MMOMoney: THQ Nordic Acquired Project Copernicus, Jagex Breaks Records

This week we’ve had some interesting and surprising acquisitions in the gaming world that are shaking things up. THQ Nordic acquired Project Copernicus, Pearl Abyss grabbed CCP, and Superdata was bought be Nielsen. Find out the details of all of those stories and more in this week’s MMO Money.

 

Jagex Has Another Record-Breaking Year

Runescape, a 17-year-old MMORPG continues to be the major driving force behind its parent company’s record-breaking profits. Jagex posted revenues of £84.9 million in its last financial year, which is an increase of 14.2% year on year. Profit is also up this year to £43.5 million, making it the best year in the company’s history. Jagex CEO Phil Mansell spoke with GamesIndustry.biz about the success the company has had this year. “2017’s growth came from focusing on nurturing our RuneScape communities and finding innovations that keep long-established games fresh and exciting for all types of players.” He went on further to say, “We’ve talked about our living games vision that’s driving Jagex’s future. The heart of that vision, and where we focus the most, is creating deep engagement between our millions of players and our games. The financials are the consequence of our players enjoying and valuing that engagement.”

With Old School Runescape about to launch on mobile, it looks like Jagex has a solid future and millions of fans to help keep them going.

 

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

 

Nantworks Invests in Daybreak Games, Creates New Joint Publishing Division

Nantworks, a holding company run by LA Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has invested in Daybreak and together they’re creating a new publishing division being called NantG Mobile. Projects that NantG Mobile will work on include mobile versions of H1Z1 and Everquest. It will also be taking over H1Z1’s Battle Royale mode on PC. As if this weren’t all enough Nantworks is also in the planning stages of a new LA Times Center space that will serve as a venue for esports events headed by NantG Mobile.

For some who have been following the news recently all of this may come as a bit of a surprise. It previously looked as though Everquest was winding down and may be coming to an end. But with a new mobile version of the game coming out, there may be new life for the 19-year-old game.

 

Source: Press Release

 

CCP Acquired by Pearl Abyss

The makers of Black Desert Online have purchased the makers of EVE Online, CCP. The acquisition is being made for $425 million and it is expected to close around October 12th. CCP will continue to operate independently from Iceland with offices in London and Shanghai.

It was just a few months ago that CCP announced a mobile game and the possibility of a TV series while teaming up with NetEase. Last month the deal with NetEase was expanded even more to include the expansion of EVE Online’s reach in China.

CCP appears to be doubling down on their MMO since they abandoned their virtual reality aspirations when the technology didn’t take off like so many thought it would.

 

Source: Press Release

 

Roblox Raises $150 million for Global Expansion

ROBLOX

Roblox is looking to expand internationally and thanks to a recent funding round they’ve got $150 million to do it with. The funding round was led by Greylock Partners and Tiger Global Management. Altos Ventures, Index Ventures, and Meritch Capital Partners who are already existing Roblox investors. With the money, Roblox will be able to support more languages and currencies while hiring new talent from around the world.

 

Source: Gamesindustry.biz

 

Superdata Bought By Nielsen

For the last few years, Superdata has been the gaming industry’s go to market research company for information on game sales and performances. Now they’re going to be part of Nielsen Holdings. Nielsen currently operates in more than 100 countries and employs somewhere around 44,000 people globally.

Chris Morley, Nielsen Global President of Games and Esports said this, “We recognize the growing importance of the digital gaming ecosystem, and the combined strength and expertise of our businesses will deliver best-in-class solutions and services to games and esports clients around the world.”

It’s nice to see the rest of the world catching up with what games have known for a long time, games r srs bznz.

 

Source: Press Release

 

UK Charts This Week

What will come as a surprise to absolutely no one who has spent 5 minutes online this week, the new Spider-Man game is at the top of the charts this week. In fact, in the top 10, there are 3 new entries this week, including Destiny 2: Forsaken. Check out the top 10 UK gaming charts for this week below.

This Week Game Last Week
1 Spider-Man New Entry
2 Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age New Entry
3 Grand Theft Auto V 3
4 F1 2018 1
5 Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy 4
6 Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 2
7 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe 6
8 Destiny 2: Forsaken New Entry
9 PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds 7
10 LEGO The Incredibles 12

 

Source: Press Release

 

THQ Nordic Acquires IP Rights to Kingdoms of Amalur

THQ Nordic has finalized the deal to get the right to the Kingdoms of Amalur games, which includes 38 Studio’s MMORPG Project Copernicus. The exact details of the acquisition weren’t published unfortunately so we don’t know how much was paid for the rights. Does this mean we’ll see Project Copernicus after all? That actually seems a bit unlikely. The MMORPG genre as a whole is on the decline. It seems much more likely that THQ Nordic will create other games with the IP.

 

Source: Press Release

 

EA May Take Belgium To Court Over Lootboxes

EA is currently under investigation for their failure to remove lootboxes from Fifa 18 and it looks as though they won’t be removing them for 19 either. Based on previous statements from those in charge of EA it looks as though the company is getting ready to take the Belgian Gaming Commission to court rather than caving in and removing lootboxes. The other companies that were found to be in violation of Belgium’s anti-gambling laws, Blizzard and Valve have both taken steps to remove lootboxes from their games for Belgian players. If they did go to court, there is the possibility that the court sides with EA, which would allow lootboxes to make a return.

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Pearl Abyss Acquiring CCP Games

In what’s probably one of the more surprising developments in the history of a game studio that’s just full of ’em comes word of the CCP Games acquisition by Pearl Abyss. The announcement in question is twofold, with an official press release and a deeper breakdown of what it means for the Capsuleers of EVE Online.

ccp games acquisition

The press release, as often is the case in these pieces of correspondence, is generally upbeat regarding the decision. It does make a point early in the announcement that CCP Games will still operate as an independent developer with its studios in Reykjavik, London and Shanghai still operational, only now they’ll be bringing their expertise into current and future Pearl Abyss operations.

CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson further broke this down on EVE Online’s official site, additionally reassuring fans that things for EVE Online will not only continue, but improve with the new backing.

“Partnering with Pearl Abyss in my belief puts us in an even stronger position to continue to grow and nurture our amazing virtual world. We’ll continue to be free to do what we do best, but now we’ll have the support of another tried and tested developer that’s proven their own mettle in the complex and challenging field of creating and maintaining virtual worlds.”

While specifics on just what sorts of things this means in the near-term for EVE Online aren’t clear, Pétursson does bring up word of working towards “mutual long-term goals.”

Those who would like to pick the brains of the devs about this move are invited to join in on an AMA tomorrow starting at 12:30pm EST in the EVE Online forums. There’s also the upcoming EVE Vegas event, where the discussion will most assuredly continue.

Our Thoughts

Nebulous though these long-term plans may be, it’s undeniable that Pearl Abyss is a pretty big company to work alongside and so this will hopefully mean similarly big things for EVE Online and anything else CCP Games has cooking. We’re very interested in seeing how this all shakes down, though there likely won’t be any immediate effects.

Sources: press release, official site

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Black Desert Online Creators File Trademark for New Game, Crimson Desert

Our friend Cinderboy over at MMOCulture has uncovered a new trademark has been filed by Black Desert Online creators Pearl Abyss for something called Crimson Desert. The trademark was filed in South Korea and covers categories 09, 41, and 42 which means that it is software made for online use and mobile devices. Yep, it’s going to be a mobile game. The logos which have been included with the trademark filing do nothing to give away what the game may be as they’re just simple black text on a white background. So this is where the facts end and the speculation begins.

Black Desert Online

Starting with the most obvious we need to look at the name, Crimson Desert. This is very similar to their game Black Desert Online which in South Korea is simply called Black Desert. The similarity in the names seems to suggest that they will in some way be connected or at the very least Pearl Abyss want to lean on the massive success of Black Desert for this new title.

In recent months Pearl Abyss has been putting a lot of time and effort into teasing their upcoming game currently titled Project K. For those who haven’t heard of Project K before, it is an online FPS with MOBA elements made by Counter-Strike creator Minh Le that will be on PC and Xbox One. A recent teaser video for the game does show some concept art and character models that seem to suggest the game takes place in a contemporary or slightly futuristic setting. This doesn’t really go very well with the Black Desert Online theory. Then again, who ever said that games in the same series had to make sense? I’m looking at you Final Fantasy.

The other possibility is that Crimson Desert is the casual mobile MMORPG that Pearl Abyss is working on currently titled Project V. This seems the most likely as it fits the idea of a mobile game whereas Project K does not. Project V also works well with the idea of it being in some way connected to Black Desert Online since BDO is itself an MMORPG.

There is, of course, the other possibility, that Crimson Desert isn’t Project K or Project V and is instead something entirely new that hasn’t been announced previously. There isn’t really much evidence to support this at the moment, however. Our money right now is on Project V. Hopefully there will be more news about Crimson Desert in the future, but for right now all we can do is wait and watch.

 

 

Source: MMOCulture

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