Following up on a story from earlier this week about Gotham City Imposters going free-to-play, we can now confirm that it was more than just a rumor. This morning Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment officially announced that the online multiplayer action game is now available for free through Steam.
Is Gotham City Imposters going free-to-play? According to data on the Open Steamworks Content Description Record Database (by way of NeoGAF), signs point to "yes." The Open Steamworks Content Description Record Database is an unofficial record of games and their descriptions provided by Valve.
There's been a slow slog towards bringing gaming to Smart TVs but Samsung is trying to lead the way with a new games portal designed for its Cinema 3D Smart TVs called Game World. Game World will offer both free and premium games to set owners and many of them will be playable in both 2D and 3D, according to Joystiq. Users will have to use either the Magic Remote that comes with the set or a supported third-party controller.
While Sony has had no problems bringing free-to-play games like Free Realms and DC Universe Online to the PlayStation Network, Microsoft has been very cautious in allowing online games (let alone free ones) onto Xbox Live. That is about to change when it launches ToyLogic's Happy Wars in the fall.
Happy Wars is described as a multiplayer combat game that will be free for Gold members to download and play. Being a free-to-play title, Happy Wars will also include in-game transactions so you can by various extras to enhance the gameplay.
If you thought the makers of World of Warcraft were sitting around wringing their hands over the trend to rush towards full free-to-play models, think again. Blizzard Entertainment's John Lagrave, the producer for World of Warcraft, tells Computer & Video Games that the company has no plans to raise the level cap for free players above level 20. The company introduced the free Starter Edition of the game in June, which lets players fool around within the virtual world - without too many restrictions - up to level 20.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot says that the percentage of paying customers is about the same for free to play as it is for PC boxed product: around five to seven percent. Guillemot tells GamesIndustry International that using a free to play model in countries where piracy is a huge problem has proven to be an effective strategy.
I wonder how the citizens of Rhode Island feel about free-to-play games... Ultimately their opinion is of paramount importance now that the state owns the rights to Curt Schilling's first MMO project, Copernicus. So what does free-to-play have to do with it? Well, apparently the plan for 38 Studios' first MMO was to launch it as a free-to-play game, according to Boston Magazine. At least that is what Schilling told the publication...
Sony Online Entertainment has officially relaunched its fantasy MMORPG Vanguard Saga of Heroes as a free-to-play game worldwide. SOE claims that Vanguard Saga of Heroes' transition to a free-to-play model marks the beginning of an "exciting new direction" which will include entirely new game enhancements, regular updates and brand new content.
In episode 15 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about Harry Potter games, OUYA's Kickstarter success and pre-order, a dehydrated teen, piracy, free-to-play spending, and Nintendo and Sony's trouble getting third-party developers to love their hand-helds. Download Episode 15 here: SuperPAC Episode 15 (1 Hour, 5 Minutes).
Oddly enough, “How much money have you spent on free-to-play games?” is not a stupid question.
As more and more games switch over to the “free-to-play” model, we find ourselves wondering how much gamers are spending on these “freemium” titles. Luckily, we have our very own poll so those sleepless nights we've spent pondering this topic can kiss their butts goodbye!
In a shocking turn of events, Wargaming has purchased video game middleware company BigWorld for $45 Million, according to a GamesBeat report. Wargaming is best known for its wildly popular online game World of Tanks. That game has more than 35 million registered users who can play for free or buy virtual goods to enhance their game experience if they so choose.
You can't fight city hall, and apparently you can't fight piracy online either - at least according to Dead Trigger developer Madfinger Games. The company made news earlier this month when it turned the Andorid version of its zombie shooting game "freemium," claiming that the Android version of the game had such a high piracy rate that the game needed to be free with micro-transactions.
Dead Trigger developer Madfinger Games has made the iOS version of the game free, following reports earlier this month that it would make the Android version of its zombie shooter a free downloaded due to "unbelievably high" levels of piracy. Today the company has taken the same action for the iPad and iPhone version of the game, though its claims about piracy on this platform seem to be slightly more subdued.
Microsoft has confirmed in a statement this morning that it has discontinued Microsoft Flight and a children’s game for Kinect called Project Columbia. As a result the company has also laid off some staff at its Vancouver, Canada-based studio. How many employees have been given the axe we do not know as of this writing. Earlier rumors indicated that Microsoft had shut the studio down altogether, but those rumors turned out to be false.
Apple has found a way to fight against a Russian hacker who made it so that users could circumvent the in-game purchase system to get premium versions of freemium games for free. Apple claims that it has found a solution to the Borodin App Store hack operated by Russian hacker Alexey Borodin.
Borodin admitted on his blog that the party is over for his hacking service.
"Currently game is over," Russian hacker Alexey Borodin said.
Develop is reporting that Jagex plans to take its 200-million registered users-strong MMO RuneScape to the next level with some multi-platform versions of the game. Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard told Develop that the studio’s long-term plan for the game has always been to make it ubiquitous on any device that can connect to the Internet, and to make it available in multiple languages.
Consider this a public service announcement. Developer S2 Games announced that, starting today, all players of its multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game Heroes of Newerth will have full access to all of the game's 107 heroes. Prior to today's change players had to pay money to have access to premium heroes. This change effectively turns the game fully free-to-play.
UK-based Jagex Software announced today that its free-to-play massively multiplayer online adventure game RuneScape has hit a major milestone: 200 million registered player accounts worldwide. Jagex claims that over the last 10 years, RuneScape has garnered the support of over 200 million players from more than 150 countries around the world since its launch as a 3D web based MMO in 2001. They say that, if RuneScape were a country, it would be the 5th largest population in the world.
In an interesting interview with CNBC, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello says that the company's recent decline in its stock price isn't due to the business, but to a lack of understanding in how the business works on the part of investors. For starters industry's focus on NPD's packaged game sales numbers is "misguided," and ignores the current strong shift towards digital sales - which NPD doesn't have a handle on yet. He points to their success with games on Apple's platforms as well as on Facebook.
According to Sony Online Entertainment CEO John Smedley, 70 percent of DC Universe Online players prefer the game on the PlayStation 3. Speaking to GamesIndustry International, Smedley says that his company has proven that free-to-play gaming on Sony's console is a viable market, and one that's supported well. Smedley makes a good point considering that there are more MMO's on the PS3 than there are on any other console and the PS3 is the only console system that has successfully supported the free-to-play model in games like DC Universe Online and Free Realms.
BioWare has announced Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar, a free-to-play action RPG coming to the PC and iPad later this year. According to BioWare, Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar will feature action RPG gameplay, BioWare-style storytelling, cross-platform play, and a whole lot of other features to be revealed at a later date.
While Star Wars: The Old Republic isn't free-to-play yet, BioWare and EA have made a move similar to what Blizzard did with its World of Warcraft trial version. BioWare announced today that the trial version of the game will let players try out the game free of charge up to level 15. Players will have access to all eight character classes, as well as access to player versus player and player versus environment gameplay.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick admitted in a recent interview with CNBC Asia’s Squawk Box that bringing Call of Duty Online to market in China is a risky proposition. While Kotick expresses confidence in Tencent Holdings in making the game based on its popular first-person shooter series successful in Mainland China, Kotick also knows that there is a risk when bringing a Western game into a new market with different business models and player tastes.
Sony Online Entertainment announced today that one of its last remaining subscription-based MMO's is going free-to-play. Via a Producer Letter, SOE announced that Vanguard: Saga of Heroes will be free later this summer. The company has actually been working on the transition to free-to-play for quite some time, but today's announcement makes it official and lays out some of the changes players can expect.
Activision Blizzard has inked a deal with Chinese online games giant Tencent Holdings Limited to bring Call of Duty Online to Chinese players. In its announcement this morning Activision said that Call of Duty Online has been in development by Activision Publishing for approximately two years. Under the multi-year agreement with Activision Publishing, Tencent gains the exclusive licensing rights to operate Call of Duty Online in mainland China. The game is described as free-to-play and uses a monetized in-game store to sell virtual items.
Cevat Yerli, CEO and president of Crytek, recently said that after his company finishes up its current projects all future titles from the studio will be free-to-play. In a lengthy interview with Computer & Videogames, Yerli said that free-to-play gaming is the future of the industry and the reason we do not see free-to-play games on consoles is because platform holders have done a good job of not allowing them at the behest of retail partners.