MMO Money: $7,000 Bundle for Shroud of the Avatar

It’s time to finally start getting back into our normal routines for the new year. That means it’s time for another look at the business side of the MMO industry. This week we’ve got lawsuit news, acquisition news, and a $7,000 bundle for Shroud of the Avatar.

 

Funcom Acquires Zona Paradoxal (ZPX)

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

Funcom announced that it had acquired a 50.1% majority stake in Zona Paradoxal, a work-for-hire studio based in Lisbon. They have previously worked with the company on Conan Exiles, Mutant Year Zero, and other games.

ZPX will remain independent from Funcom and continue to work with other clients. However, Funcom is set to be their primary client going forward. Thanks to the acquisition the studio is also planning to double in size from where they are currently with 15 employees.

For Funcom, this means having more developers on hand to help them with their upcoming titles, of which they have 5 in the works. Conan Unconquered, a top secret game being released Halloween 2019 being made with RockPocket, a Heroic Signatures game, a Conan single player game, and an open world multiplayer game.

Source: Games Industry

 

Settlement Reached in 38 Studios Lawsuit

Do you remember 38 Studios? They were the studio that made Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and were working on Project Copernicus that shut down in 2012 after running out of money and has since been the subject of a long legal battle. The studio was moved to Rhode Island after being promised a $75 million loan then failed. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) argued that the studio was destined to fail after it wasn’t disclosed that they would receive only $50 million of the promised $75 million. This resulted in a lawsuit between the SEC and Wells Fargo and the Commerce Corp. That lawsuit has now been settled, however, the details have not been revealed and it seems pretty unlikely that they ever will be. We may not know how it ended, but it is nice to finally see the final chapter of 38 Studio’s story come to an end.

Though it is the end for the studio it may not be the end for the Amalur IP. In September 2018 it was bought by THQ Nordic. This means that yes, there is the possibility for Project Copernicus to be brought back to life. However, with the state of the MMORPG genre, it is far more likely that they will use the IP to create other games. Still, we have our fingers crossed for Copernicus.

Source: Gamasutra

 

Blizzard and Netease Extend Partnership

Diablo Immortal

While the Blizzard/Netease partnership has been received somewhat poorly in the West it is doing fantastically in the East, specifically in China. So much so in fact that they are extending their partnership until 2023. The partnership began in 2008 with Starcraft II and the Battle.net platform. Now they’ll be working together to bring World of Warcraft, the Starcraft series, the Diablo series, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch to Chinese audiences for 4 more years. This seems to be leaving room for new games in the Starcraft and Diablo series. Does that mean we can expect more in the future? That does seem somewhat likely, or maybe they’re just leaving themselves open to possibilities. We will have to wait and see.

Source: Press Release

 

Tencent Gets Minority Stake in Vermintide Developer Fatshark

Vermintide and Vermintide 2 are quite easily the most popular multiplayer Warhammer games to have been made in a long time and that is paying off for their developer Fatshark. Tencent has now acquired a 36% share of the company worth 500 million kronor, approximately $56 million.

Fatshark has said that the investment will strengthen its position as an indie developer and help facilitate future growth. CEO Martin Wahlund spoke to Games Industry saying, “We are excited to announce that Tencent has chosen to invest in Fatshark. Tencent is known for investing in market leading top rated companies. With the investment, Fatshark is in a strong position to continue to grow while staying independent. Our unaltered mission will be to bring high-quality games to our fans around the globe.”

We can’t wait to see what this means for Fatshark and Vermintide 2 in the future.

Source: Games Industry

 

Activision-Blizzard Securities Fraud Investigation

A law firm is currently investigating claims that Activision-Blizzard committed securities fraud or other unlawful business offenses following the news that Bungie would be parting ways with Activision. In its press release, the law firm offered very few details but did specifically mention Bungie and the sharp decline in Activision’s stock price following the announcement. They also offered a link to join a possible class action lawsuit.

This is clearly only the beginning of this story. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the story and Activision’s share price, which has been slowly recovering since all of this took place on January 11th.

Source: Press Release

 

Shroud of the Avatar Offering $7000 Bundle to Fund Episode 2

Shroud of the Avatar is getting a bit of a change in its business model, moving to what is now considered a more traditional one. However, they’re also offering 8 people who happen to have $7000 laying around the opportunity of a lifetime. The Lord of the Island: Episode 2 Bundle costs $6,999 and includes a ton of amazing in-game and real-life perks. What do those perks include? A silver ring crafted personally by Lord British himself and an in-game version of it. A tour of the Portalarium offices. Finally, dinner with Lord British, Darkstarr, and Atos either in Austin or New York City. This offer is only available to 8 people total and one of them has already been sold.

Of course, the majority of us don’t have $7,000 that they can spare but that’s okay! We can still buy items in the cash shop which is about to change. The cash shop will be available in game, while the website will only have currency and maybe one or two things available in it. This is coming after the company has had a lot of feedback about the cash shop. This will also mean that the cash shop can be localized, something that hasn’t currently been possible.

Source: Official Newsletter

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Shroud of the Avatar is Now Free to Play

If your instinct regarding Shroud of the Avatar’s free-play features were the game dipping its toes into the monetization water, then you were bang on. Shroud of the Avatar free to play is now a thing with the MMO’s latest release.

shroud of the avatar free to play

Last week’s R59 update officially kicked off the game’s switch to the free-to-play model, which has removed a number of restrictions to trading, land ownership and story progression. “We have removed almost all gameplay restrictions from our free players,” remarks creative director Richard Garriott. “We are thrilled to open up Shroud to a larger audience of gamers.”

The update has also introduced a revamped new user experience meant to teach fresh players the basics in a specific tutorial area called the Isle of Storms, which walls off each section of the zone until players learn and use the specified skills.

Since the tutorial is now its own dedicated region, this lets players choose their own story path independent of their starting deck. This also has led to starting areas that are reportedly more tightly focused in terms of both narrative and gameplay direction.

There’s a whole lot more with the new release as well, so make sure to take some time to look over the patch notes. As is often the case, however, they’re pretty much a small novel’s worth of things to read, so get comfy.

Our Thoughts

Perhaps this will bolster Shroud’s population? It will certainly be interesting to see if this F2P shift means more people take the plunge and check out what this game has to offer.

Source: press release

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Richard Garriott Talks About Shroud of the Avatar’s Population

Apparently there’s some concern about Shroud of the Avatar player numbers if the source link for this story is anything to be believed. There’s also the whole “team size adjustment” that was made in mid-June and mixed reviews on Steam and low Steam concurrency, for whatever water that holds for you. To those points, Richard Garriott had a few things to say.

shroud of the avatar player numbers

To the point of SotA’s impact on Steam, Garriott says that represents the barest fraction of people who play the game. “The majority of players don’t play on Steam,” said Garriott. “We are in the many thousands but not in the many tens of thousands of monthly active users at the moment. We’d be quite content with tens of thousands of monthly active users, and we’re within shooting range of that.”

As for the staff reduction, Garriott referred to it as an operational shift in order to meet an affordable “burn rate”, but did mention that the team at Portalarium are hoping to bulk up staff numbers again once Episode 2’s marketing kicks off. He also made mention of the fact that the studio’s staff is more like somewhere below 20, which is close to the base team size to begin with. That said, that number doesn’t include contracted staff.

Ultimately, Garriott believes that poor marketing for SotA’s initial release is to blame for the MMORPG’s current state. “We spent a chunk of money on the April marketing but literally no one in our office saw it,” recounts Garriott. “Sadly we misfired a chunk of change on mistargeted marketing.”

Our Thoughts

Marketing can only go so far and word of mouth about Shroud of the Avatar may already have done a bit of a number on this particular sandbox MMORPG. That said, we don’t wish any game ill and so hope that future updates and Episode 2’s release truly does bring in the player numbers that Garriott and company expect.

Source: Eurogamer

Articles Related to Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar Review
Shroud of the Avatar Officially Launches
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Game Page

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Release 53 of Shroud of the Avatar Goes Live

In the first post-early access update, Shroud of the Avatar Release 53 is offering up another big bundle of adjustments. Players can now look forward to story polish, new scenes, loot improvements, and a variety of other improvements that are, frankly, too long to list in an opening paragraph.

shroud of the avatar release 53

As ever, Release 53 includes more side quests, balance, and dialogue options to the game. The update will also add backer NPCs to Northwood and Brittany Wharfs, along with continued work on rebuilding scenes, with two more scenes granted a pirate theme.

Release 53 also lets group leaders open up their groups to a public Looking For Group listing, a variety of loot improvements, virtue effects for player gear, and the addition of heraldry patterns to the game’s addon store and Crown Merchants.

As usual, the patch notes for this release read much like a light novel, so devote a little while and give ’em a look if you haven’t done so already.

Our Thoughts

There’s genuinely nothing more that can be expounded on with this update other than to be impressed by the pace and overall size of each Shroud of the Avatar release, so we’ll just close out like we often do and wish fans of this MMO a good time in the new update.

Source: official site

Articles Related to Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar Review
Shroud of the Avatar Officially Launches
Shroud of the Avatar Game Page

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Shroud of the Avatar Officially Launches

It’s been a pretty significant length of time between Kickstarter and now – 52 updates to the game, to be exact – but the wait is finally over for sandbox MMORPG fans. Today marks the official Shroud of the Avatar launch, bringing the game a whole bunch of new stuff as one would expect.

shroud of the avatar launch

R52 of SotA brings the final phases of iteration to the game’s top 10 launch priorities, with specific focus on performance, player direction, enemy behavior, and polish to story and UI. Players can also look forward to some new scenes and scene rebuilds, along with further refinements and balance to combat.

Beyond today’s launch update, players should expect to see monthly updates full of new content, new features and bug squishing. The devs also plan on releasing a Q2 update schedule detailing what each of these releases will bring.

As often is the case with updates to Shroud of the Avatar, the patch notes are extremely detailed, so be sure to grab a very comfy chair and maybe an entire lunch platter and give them a look. There’s also a new launch trailer below.

Our Thoughts

Our sincerest congratulations to the team at Shroud of the Avatar for making it to full release product. We suspect that many of the developers and the players have been eager for this moment to arrive, so we hope the fans enjoy the full launch update and the devs get perhaps a moment to catch their collective breath.

Source: official site

Articles Related to Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Game Page
Shroud of the Avatar Schedules a Final Wipe
Shroud of the Avatar Early Access Trailer

The post Shroud of the Avatar Officially Launches appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Best MMO Halloween Event 2017

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

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

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

 

MMO Halloween

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

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

 

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

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MMOney – Q2 2017, Charts, and Investments

The staff at MMOGames are always looking for new ways to dissect and investigate the online gaming industry. Which is why we’ve introduced MMOney, a new monthly column that looks just at the financial news from the industry in the previous month. We will try to use language that makes it easy for everyone to understand. This column may be more frequent during quarterly report season as so much new information is released. We would also love feedback from you, our readers! Do you like the column? Is there anything we can do to improve it? Let us know in the comments.

 

Blizzard Q2 2017 Report Falls Short of Expectations

The Q2 financial report for Activision-Blizzard wasn’t as strong as investors were expecting and as a result stock took a bit of a hit. But it isn’t all bad news. Blizzard has been the driving force for the company accounting for 42% of the revenue Overwatch and Hearthstone have both seen their monthly active user numbers continue to rise, despite both being more than a year old. Blizzard also talked up their time spent metric, showing that compared to last year players are spending more time in World of Warcraft. Not surprising at all when you consider Legion’s release.

Destiny 2 was also a talking point for the company. The console beta had more players than the 2014 Destiny beta and there have now been more pre-orders made for Destiny 2 than there were for Destiny. If you look at the reasons why you have the fact that Destiny 2 will be on PC, opening up a whole new audience. You also have those who started playing after pre-orders finished. So really, this is in line with expectations.

 

Pokemon Go Returns to the Charts and Gaming Industry is Expanding in Superdata Reports

Superdata released 2 different reports this month. The first looked just at July, which most notably saw the return of Pokemon Go on the Mobile Game earning chart. League of Legends tops the PC chart, and Grand Theft Auto V tops consoles. Free to Play MMOs showed the most growth in July, increasing 29%. While pay to play MMOs declined by 2%. PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds sold another 1.6 million units last month.

The second report looked at all of 2017 so far and had a number of different interesting bits of information. Mobile is the biggest platform, female gamers make up 46% of the market in the US, and 665 million people have watched videos about games so far. The biggest game of the year so far is of course League of Legends. For the first time in history, interactive media has reached $100 billion. It is also predicted that by 2020 that number will be $168.8 billion. More people watch gaming video content than HBO, Netflix, ESPN, and Hulu combined. In fact, the audience is twice the population of the United States. Gamers are also more likely to be watching live streams than prime time TV as this is when the most content is watched.

 

Gamestop Q2 Profits Fall

Despite the Nintendo Switch releasing Gamestop’s profits continue to fall. Their sale of Kongregate kept the decline at 20%. They have seen some growth in the digital market however which increased 28%. Collectibles also saw growth of 36%. In an effort to help the struggling retailer stay afloat ALL Gamestops will be open on Thanksgiving.

 

Dual Universe Gets Massive Investment

Private investors have given Dual Universe a massive $3.7 in funding, which adds to the $630,000 that was raised on Kickstarter. The MMO will be entering pre-alpha on September 30th. Though it will be limited to crowdfunding backers who have pledged at the gold level or higher. Which on Kickstarter was at least €100.

 

Guild Wars 2 Hits An All Time Low in NCSoft’s Q2 Report

Thanks to the launch of Lineage M NCSoft’s mobile games totaled 93.7 billion Won. Meanwhile, Guild Wars 2 saw only 13.5, the lowest it has ever been. However, thanks to Path of Fire, Guild Wars 2 will have a fantastic third quarter.

 

WoW Gold More Valuable Than Real Life Currency

As a result of the ongoing troubles in Venezuela World of Warcraft gold is worth more than the Bolivar. On the black market, now the best place to get Venezuela’s currency, you can get $1 for 8493.97 bolivars while a WoW token is worth 8385 gold per dollar. This was discovered by a Twitter user and later a website that tracks currency said that actually, the gap between WoW gold and the Bolivar is even higher than originally thought.

 

Korea’s FTC Will Investigate Starcraft

Korea’s PC Bang Association has requested the Fair Trade commission look into Starcraft fees. The association argues that Blizzard are double-charging by requiring an hourly fee on top of the flat fee for the license. They go further to say that it isn’t worthy of the new fees as the upgraded version has no new content. Blizzard Korea fired back saying that Remastered is a new game with new perks and exclusive offerings.

 

Shroud of the Avatar Raises Almost $700,000

Shroud of the Avatar

The Shroud of the Avatar equity crowdfunding campaign on SeedInvest raised just under $700,000 from 518 investors. While the monthly telethon raised $67,500 which has granted several stretch goals to players.

 

Elite Dangerous Passes 2.75 Million Sales

This month Frontier Developments announced that Elite: Dangerous and the expansion Horizons have passed a grand total of 2.75 million sales. The last sales count we were given was back in January 2016 when they reported 1.4 million copies sold.

 

Pearl Abyss Merging Game Companies

Pearl Abyss has its fingers in many pies and they’ve announced that they’re combining all of their game businesses in one pie tin. It will be called Kakao Games Holdings. The company has several mobile games, Black Desert Online, and will be publishing PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds in Korea. The reason for this move is to improve efficiency and to prepare the company for an IPO.

 

Scott Hartsman Addresses Concerns Over Trion’s Financial State

Delidding Tech put out a piece in which they paint the situation at Trion in a negative light, pointing at layoffs and a shareholder report for Fidelity’s Contrafund as the source of the concerns. Trion’s CEO Scott Hartsman very quickly took to Reddit where the article had been shared in the ArcheAge subreddit to address the concerns. Quite simply one of Fidelity’s funds has had a small stake in Trion since before Scott took over. As for the layoffs, Scott pointed out that in the last 4 years they’ve become a company which doesn’t lay off people every year, something that is quite common in the industry.

 

More eSports Prize Funds Surpassing $1 Million Than Ever

12 eSports have over $1 million in prize funds, more than have ever been seen before. In 2016 10 games made the list. You only have to go as far back as 2010 to find a time when there was only one game, Counterstrike with prize funds over a million dollars. Dota 2 tops the list so far this year with $32,803,807.04 across 71 tournaments. All of this comes from esportsearnings.com which has information as far back as 1998.

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