MMO, Games

OFT Warns UK Developers about High Pressure Monetization of Kids' Apps

September 26, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning app and game developers that high-pressure monetization in programs that are aimed at children needs to be avoided going forward. The OFT made its announcement today after months of investigation (which began in April) into allegations that some free online apps and games for children were using questionable tactics to get children to purchase in-game items - often without parental consent. The OFT examined 38 games related to this practice and drafted a set of guidelines for UK developers.

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Battleforge Shutting Down in October.

September 6, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

In July of this year, EA announced that it would be shutting down its German studio, EA Phenomic. The company handled the ongoing development of a number of free-to-play online games including Spellforce, Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances, and Battleforge.

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Plants vs. Zombies 2 Downloaded Nearly 25 Million Times Since Launch

August 30, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

PopCap's latest entry in the popular Plants v. Zombies series on iOS is very popular. According to the company, the free-to-play Plants vs. Zombies sequel has been downloaded nearly 25 million times since its launch on August 25. PopCap claims that this represents more than the total lifetime downloads for the original Plants vs. Zombies. Of course, being that this game is free-to-play and the original costs $20, you can kind of see why this one might be more widely enjoyed (people like free stuff).

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Splash Damage Changes Name of 'Dirty Bomb' to 'Extraction'

August 27, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Developer Splash Damage has decided to rename its free-to-play PC action game Dirty Bomb to Extraction. Given how the NSA might put you on a special list for searching for the term "Dirty Bomb," we think that is the best move for both fans and the Brink developer. Splash Damage also announced a publishing deal for Extraction with Nexon for launch in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

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EA's Peter Moore on Free-to-Play, Games as Services, and More

August 26, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

In an Engadget interview that took place last week during Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore said that the company no longer ships games that are "offline."

Speaking at length with Engadget following his company's Gamescom 2013 press event, Moore said that EA's current dedication to online functionality in its games is unmatched:

"We don't ship a game at EA that is offline."

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Big Fish Games Cuts Staff in Seattle, Closes Vancouver Office

August 21, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

In a memo sent to employees today, Big Fish Games CEO Paul Thelen announced that the company is laying off 49 employees in its Seattle office and shutting down its office in Vancouver. Projects in the Vancouver office would be moved to Seattle.

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Plants vs. Zombies 2 Downloaded Over 16 Million Times

August 20, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

EA's recently released free-to-play iOS sequel has the distinction of being the "most successful mobile game launch" in the company's history. Developed by EA studio PopCap Games, Plants vs. Zombies 2 has been downloaded 16 million times since its launch last Thursday on Apple's App Store.

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Microsoft Details Pricing on Killer Instinct DLC

August 20, 2013 - James Fudge

Microsoft confirmed today at Gamescom that its Xbox One fighting game Killer Instinct will release for free with one fighter (Jago) and that each additional character will cost $5.

Microsoft also plans to release DLC combo packs with multiple characters and extras too; the Combo Breaker Pack ($20) will offer the first eight characters from the game (six at launch, two later on down the road); and the Ultra Edition ($40) which features eight characters, accessory packs, costumes, and a digital copy of the original Killer Instinct game.

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PopCap CEO Defends F2P Plants vs. Zombies

August 16, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

PopCap has taken some criticism for jumping on the free-to-play bandwagon with Plants vs. Zombies 2 (which was released this week on iOS), but PopCap CEO Dave Roberts says that free-to-play isn't all that different from the business model it started with more than a decade ago.

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Dead Island Epidemic Announced

August 7, 2013 -

While details are pretty thin at this point, Deep Silver announced that it is working on a free-to-play MOBA-style game based on its survival horror action game series Dead Island. Calling it a "Zombie Online Multiplayer Battle Arena" game for PC, Deep Silver's Dead Island Epidemic pits three teams of players against each other in a fight for their survival. The game is in development only for PC at this point.

Deep Silver also says that the game will feature "all the trademark elements that are part of the a Dead Island experience."

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Ace Combat Goes Free-to-Play

August 2, 2013 -

It looks like another big franchise will dip its toe into the free-to-play waters on Sony's PlayStation Network. Namco Bandai Games announced today that the newest game in its ultra popular Ace Combat series is Ace Combat Infinity for PS3. Scheduled for release in late 2013 exclusively as a download on PSN, Ace Combat Infinity promises a brand new story campaign and team co-op multiplayer in a free-to-play setting.

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TV Advertising Campaign Drives Forge of Empires to Major Milestone

July 31, 2013 -

InnoGames says that its advertising campaign on television in the United Kingdom has helped the company's free-to-play strategy game Forge of Empires surpass the 10 million registered user mark. The ads have been running for several weeks in the UK, with InnoGames planning a long-term TV campaign for the title.

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'Pay to Win' Upgrades Being Dumped in Epic Quest for Mighty Loot

July 30, 2013 -

Ubisoft's free-to-play online strategy RPG Epic Quest for Mighty Loot is going to dump 'pay to win' microtransactions, according to Joystiq. The game's developers announced today that certain in-game items will be removed from the in-game store because they unbalance the game for players that aren't willing to pay.

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EA Closes Phenomic Studio

July 12, 2013 -

GamesIndustry International is reporting that EA Phenomic has been closed. The studio responsible for developing Spellforce and Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances is believed to employ around 60 people at one time, though the actual number of employees it had before closing is unknown as of this writing. While EA would not comment on the particulars of the studio's closure, it did issue a statement explaining why it had to shut Phenomic down:

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World of Warcraft Microtransactions Confirmed

July 9, 2013 -

The World of Warcraft version 5.4 update is alive and kicking on the Public Test Realm today, according to Blizzard. According to the patch notes, the update adds a new siege, flexible raid difficulty, a redesigned arena system, and a few other odds and ends. More importantly, the update adds an in-game store where players can buy a variety of buffs and other items. No doubt the selection of offerings will be limited for the purposes of the test phase.

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Blizzard Considering Additional Microtransactions in World of Warcraft

July 5, 2013 -

After an in-game store was discovered on a World of Warcraft test server, Blizzard publicly acknowledged that it is looking into adding microtransactions to its long-running MMORPG. In response to questions about this from members of the community, Blizzard community representative Jonathan Brown made the following post on the Battle.net forums:

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PlayStation Plus Requirement for Free-To-Play Up to Publishers, Says SOE

June 13, 2013 -

If you decide to play certain free-to-play MMO-style games on the PlayStation 4 you may not need to have a PlayStation Plus subscription. According to Sony Online Entertainment, publishers of those games can decide whether or not they will make Plus a requirement. SOE is developing two of its current properties for play on PS4 - PlanetSide 2 and DC Universe Online - and both of them do not need a Plus membership in order to play.

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Killer Instinct for Free - Sort Of

June 11, 2013 -

Besides serving up the most misogynistic moment of E3 so far (during the press conference when the Killer Instinct lead told an Xbox Community Manager to "Just let it happen, it'll be over soon"), Microsoft revealed that Killer Instinct for Xbox One would be free… sort of. The game will let you have the very first character - Jago - with the game when you download it. But after that, all other characters from the game are going to cost you extra.

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Wargaming Providing Financial Support to Three Open Source Software Foundations

May 23, 2013 -

Free-to-play MMO developer and publisher Wargaming (World of Tanks, World of Warplanes, and World of Warships) has announced that it will provide financial support for three open-source foundations. The company says that it is doing this because it uses a number of open-source technologies in its games and it wants to help support those technologies grow and prosper.

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ESRB Warns Wartunes 'Publisher' about Using AO Rating in Marketing Campaign

May 13, 2013 -

An online marketing campaign for the free-to-play MMO game Wartune has caught the attention of the ESRB, who claims that it has asked the game's "publisher" to stop claiming that it has an ESRB "Adults Only" (AO) rating. The game has yet to be rated by the board, according to the organization.

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Develop Finds Majority of Apps Do Not Warn About In-App Purchases

May 9, 2013 -

An investigation examining 400 apps conducted by Develop shows that there is a lack of consistency in the way in-game purchases are presented on digital stores. The investigation follows the UK government agency the Office of Fair Trading’s recent announcement that it would investigate in-app purchases in children’s games.

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Report: UK Parents Soaked for Millions a Month in 'Unauthorized' In-App Purchases

May 8, 2013 -

According to a report in the UK newspaper The Guardian - citing data from a recent Microsoft survey - as much as £30.9 million in purchases a month are made by children without their parents' consent. That is according to 28 percent of 2,000 parents surveyed in the region.

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Federal Court Approves Apple's Proposed 'Free-to-Play' App Settlement Plan

May 6, 2013 -

Courthouse News reports that Apple's plan to settle with parents over its failure to get parental consent before minors made purchases in various apps has been approved by a federal court. Apple's settlement would provide all class members with a minimum $5 iTunes store credit (or cash payment for those who no longer have an iTunes account), according to court documents.

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Valve Launches Steam Subscription Service

April 25, 2013 -

Valve Software announced that the very first game to make use of its freshly launched support for subscriptions is the MMO Darkfall Unholy Wars, with "additional subscription-based games to follow."

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Peter Molyneux Voices Concern Over Future Regulations in the UK Stemming From OFT Investigation

April 18, 2013 -

Developers must be careful of how they manage their free-to-play games. Speaking to Develop Editor Will Freeman at the F2P Summit, Peter Molyneux warned developers of the dangers that a set of regulations governing in-app purchases could have on the entire games industry in the UK.

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OFT Public Survey Questions on Free-To-Play Gaming Habits Revealed

April 16, 2013 -

Earlier in the week we learned that UK regulatory agency the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had begun investigating free-to-play models in mobile and online games that used questionable practices to highlight (to children) buying upgrades in-games. Today we have learned the contents of the public survey that the agency is using to get information from UK consumers.

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UKIE: We Will Assist OFT in Free-to-Play Investigation

April 12, 2013 -

Responding to news that the UK regulatory agency the Office of Fair Trading is investigating free-to-play game practices, the UK video games trade body UKIE issued a statement saying that it would assist the OFT in find the truth.

The OFT announced that it would investigate how companies offer in-app purchases in games and if they use strong marketing techniques against children.

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UK's Office of Fair Trading Investigating Free-to-Play Games

April 12, 2013 -

UK agency the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has begun contacting game developers and publishers as part of an investigation to determine if any free-to-play games are acting within the law. While the OFT won't name names at this point, it says that it is contacting companies who have games with micro-transactions in them currently on the market.

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Report: Supercell Valued at $800 Million

April 1, 2013 -

Finland-based free-to-play game studio Supercell is valued at around $800 million after its latest funding round. The developer behind the hit F2P mobile titles Clash of Clans and Hay Day sold off between 16 - 20 percent of its common shares for an estimated $100 - $150 million. The word on the street is that the company's latest investors include Institutional Venture Partners, Atomico and Index Ventures. The company allegedly got close to being valued at an even $1 billion, but fell just short of the mark.

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Blizzard Reveals First F2P Game: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

March 22, 2013 -

Blizzard's first foray into free-to-play isn't an MMO, or an online action or strategy game - it's a collectible card game based on the popular Warcraft universe. Today at PAX East (even as it was showing off a special build of Diablo III for PS3), Blizzard revealed a free-to-play strategy card game for Windows, Mac, and iPad called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

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Should 'Hatred' have been removed from Steam Greenlight?:

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Papa MidnightI kind of liked the movement to have Terry Crews play him instead, but this will do.12/22/2014 - 3:40pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://marvel.com/news/tv/23866/mike_colter_to_star_as_luke_cage_in_marvels_aka_jessica_jones#ixzz3MeuUl63P Mike Colter is Luke Cage.12/22/2014 - 3:23pm
IanCBecause that isn't Max Payne 3. It might have the name, but it isn't an entry in the series.12/22/2014 - 12:48pm
IanCOh theres a Max Payne 3? A proper one, or are we referring to that abomination that Rockstar crapped out a few years ago12/22/2014 - 12:48pm
IanCUpgraded PS3 hard drive to 500gb. Restored 53GB back up. Done the maths, have somehow used up 106GB already?12/22/2014 - 12:44pm
Papa Midnighthttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/12/drm-glitch-leaves-new-max-payne-3-buyers-temporarily-in-the-lurch/12/22/2014 - 11:55am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.kanzenshuu.com/2014/12/22/j-stars-victory-vs-ps3-ps4-vita-international-plus-version/ J-Stars is coming to North America.12/22/2014 - 9:36am
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.businessinsider.com/xbox-one-virtual-reality-headset-will-compete-with-oculus-rift-2014-12 can a xbo even handle doing vr?12/21/2014 - 10:48pm
PHX Corp@Adam802 We'll break out the popcorn in June12/19/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante: I'm itching to start it too but I will wait till the patch goes live. >>12/19/2014 - 7:52pm
Adam802Leland Yee and Jackson get trial date: http://sfbay.ca/2014/12/18/leland-yee-keith-jackson-get-trial-date/12/19/2014 - 5:24pm
MaskedPixelanteNevermind. Turns out when they said "the patch is now live", they meant "it's still in beta".12/19/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelanteSo I bought Dark Souls PC, and it's forcing me to log into GFWL. Did I miss something?12/19/2014 - 5:00pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/republicans-may-have-plan-to-save-internet-providers-from-utility-rules/ this is intreasting. congress may put net nutrality in to law to avoid title 2 classification12/19/2014 - 2:45pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/19/7421953/bullshit-cards-against-humanity-donated-250k-sunlight-foundation I have to admit I like the choice o organization. congrats to CAH.12/19/2014 - 1:51pm
E. Zachary KnightIf you are downloading a copy in order to bypass the DRM, then you are legally in the wrong. Ethically, if you bought the game, it doesn't matter where you download it in the future.12/19/2014 - 12:06pm
InfophileEZK: Certainly better that way, though not foolproof. Makes me think though: does it count as piracy if you download a game you already paid for, just not from the place you paid for it at? Ethically, I'd say no, but legally, probably yes.12/19/2014 - 11:20am
ZippyDSMleeAnd I still spent 200$ in the last month on steam/GOG stuff sales get me nearly every time ><12/19/2014 - 10:55am
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante:And this is why I'm a one legged bandit.12/19/2014 - 10:51am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I buy what I can as long as I can get cracks for it...then again it I could have gotton Lords of the Fallen for 30 with DLC I would have ><12/19/2014 - 10:50am
 

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