MMO, Games

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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TERA: Rising Membership Soars in February After Free-to-Play Transition

March 20, 2013 -

En Masse Entertainment’s MMO TERA: Rising has seen a dramatic increase in registered users after the game went free-to-play in February. TERA: Rising now has over 1.4 million users following its February launch as a subscription-free game with new content. Player participation also jumped sharply, with a 10-fold increase of maximum concurrent users compared to before TERA’s subscription-free evolution - according to En Masse Entertainment

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Ridiculous Fishing Developer: Don't Be Afraid to Price that Game at $3

March 18, 2013 -

Ridiculous Fishing and Serious Sam: Random Encounter developer Vlambeer says that "non-evil" free-to-play game design is almost impossible and that game developers should not be afraid to price their games at $3. Vlambeer's Ridiculous Fishing, which almost saw the studio go under during development, went live last week on Apple's App Store and garnered strong sales and critical acclaim from fans and critics.

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Xbox Live's Only Free-to-Play Game Happy Wars Downloaded More Than Two Million Times

March 11, 2013 -

Microsoft, who is not all that good at adding free-to-play games to its Xbox Live service for Xbox 360 (there are only a couple at this point), is probably happy that it allowed the free-to-play and kid-friendly MOBA game Happy Wars to launch on the platform in October of last year. As of today the game has been downloaded over 2 million times, according to maker Toylogic. While the game is completely free to download and play, players can purchase "Happy tickets" with real money to upgrade equipment and buy vanity items.

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Former Square Enix Exec Keiji Fujita Joins Adways Interactive

February 26, 2013 -

Former Square Enix and Taito executive Keiji Fujita has joined Japanese mobile ad network and game publisher Adways, the company announced today. Fujita will take the reins of the company's San Francisco office, which will serve as the home of the U.S. subsidiary, Adways Interactive. Keiji Fujita will serve as the Vice President of Game Business. The company also announced that it is looking for non-Japanese free-to-play mobile games to launch in the Japanese market. It will be on the hunt for such properties at Game Connection America 2013, where it will be present as an exhibitor.

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Firemint Softens 'Freemium' Requirements in Real Racing 3

February 15, 2013 -

PocketGamer is reporting that EA-owned studio Firemint has given in to pressure by consumers and removed "freemium features" to its latest game Real Racing 3. Earlier this week developer Firemint announced that the game would be available as part of a soft launch in some territories February 28.

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Kongregate CEO: Core Gamers Spend More Than Casual Players

February 8, 2013 -

Indie games portal Kongregate says that "core gamers" tend to spend way more money than casual gamers on its popular gaming destination (which is owned by retailer GameStop). Speaking to Develop, Kongregate CEO Jim Greer said that while the free-to-play titles it offers had a similar conversion rate to other platforms (two-to-three percent) paying core gamers were spending an average of approximately $60 a month.

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SOE and MLG Team Announce PlanetSide 2 Partnership

January 25, 2013 -

Sony Online Entertainment and Major League Gaming announced that they have teamed up to bring PlanetSide to the MLG's competitive gaming audience.

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Gazillion Boss Defends Pricy Content Pack for Marvel Heroes

January 21, 2013 -

Dave Brevik of Gazillion, the developer behind the upcoming Marvel Heroes free-to-play MMO action game, is defending a pricey content pack for the game that costs well over $100. The pack, the Marvel Heroes Ultimate Pack, gives players every hero and costume the game, as well as in-game currency and early access prior to the game's launch. Being that this is a free-to-play title some have scoffed at the huge price tag for the package, but Brevik doesn't think it's that big of a deal.

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Tera Going Free-to-Play in February

January 9, 2013 -

En Masse Entertainment and Bluehole Studios announced that their massively multiplayer online role-playing game Tera soon be switching from a monthly subscription plan to free-to-play. While the exact date for this switch from paid subscription to free has not been revealed, the companies say it will happen sometime in February.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Executive Producer Same Gender Relationships Delayed Because of Switch to Free-to-Play

January 3, 2013 -

In an update this week to the official blog for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Executive Producer Jeff Hickman detailed some of the changes that the next big update to the Star Wars themed free-to-play MMO will bring. Besides delivering changes to a special PvP area, the 1.7 update also sees the return of the Gree Enclave area, and details on why the inclusion of same-sex relationships has been pushed back slightly.

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Funcom Ditches Subscription Model for The Secret World MMO

December 12, 2012 -

Funcom has decided to ditch the $15 a month subscription fee for its MMO The Secret World. The company announced today that players can now enjoy the game for free, though they'll still have to drop $30 to buy the game. After that players can opt for a special monthly membership or play for free and buy items from an in-game store as they see fit.

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Former Zynga Employees Join Rumble Entertainment

November 13, 2012 -

Brian Schneider and Steve Desilets, two former senior staff members at Zynga have assumed senior roles at free-to-play studio Rumble Entertainment. Brian Schneider will take on a role in Rumble’s executive team, where he will focus on retention and monetization strategies. Former Zynga design director Steve Desilets will serve as creative partner with Rumble co-founder and design director John Yoo. His goal will be to build new Rumble-developed games.

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Wargaming to Finance Burma Spitfires Expedition

October 29, 2012 -

World of Tanks, World of Airplanes, and World of Warships creators Wargaming announced this morning that they are "fully underwriting" aircraft enthusiast David Cundall's efforts to recover British Spitfires reportedly buried in Burma at the end of World War II. The company's investment in Mr. Cundall's will allow him and the Burmese authorities to pursue the long-standing mystery of the Pacific theater.

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Infographic: League of Legends Rules The World

October 12, 2012 -

Riot Games has released an infographic that illustrates why its MOBA title, League of Legends, is the most played game in the entire world.

According to data on that colorful infographic, League of Legends has a total of 70 million registered Summoner names, 32 million active monthly users, and 12 million daily active users. The infographic also claims that over 1 billion game hours are logged every month in League of Legends.

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F2P Online Game Happy Wars Coming to XBLA October 12

October 4, 2012 -

Free-to-play online games are non-existent on Xbox Live Arcade, but one of the very first is about to make its debut on Microsoft's platform next week. This is an important milestone because Sony - mostly through its subsidiary Sony Online Entertainment - has been offering several free-to-play games via the PlayStation Network.

That first Xbox Live Arcade free-to-play title is called Happy Wars and is being developed by Tokyo, Japan-based game developer Toylogic. The game will be available to all Xbox Live Gold member account holders for free beginning October 12.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Servers Consolidated

September 19, 2012 -

BioWare Austin has begun consolidating Star Wars: The Old Republic servers together, leaving players with fewer world server choices, but providing a large population of gamers.

"By centralizing our player populations on these higher population destination servers, we feel that we can offer our players the best possible Star Wars: The Old Republic experience," wrote the SWTOR team on the game's website.

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Star Trek Online: To Boldy Go Where Someone Else has Gone Before

September 6, 2012 -

Cryptic Studios transitioned Star Trek Online to a free-to-play game recently and Perfect World Entertainment's wholly owned development studio revealed a little more on why they shifted the game from a subscription-based model to free-to-play in an exclusive interview with [A]ListDaily. Star Trek Online executive producer Dan Stahl and Perfect World vice president of business development and corporate communications John Young said the following:

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Wargaming CEO: Publishers Don't Understand Free-to-Play

September 4, 2012 -

In a recent interview with Develop, Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi said that most game publishers just don't understand how to create a successful free-to-play game. He also points out that most of those traditional publishers dipping their toes into the market have no idea how the free-to-play business model works.

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BioWare Unsure if Free-to-Play Can Save Star Wars: The Old Republic

August 31, 2012 -

BioWare's new General Manager says that shifting Star Wars: The Old Republic to a free-to-play model may not save the Star Wars themed MMO. When asked by Computer & Videogames in a recent interview if the transition would help the MMO, Matt Bromberg said with much frankness, "I don't know."

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Gotham City Imposters Officially Free-to-Play on Steam

August 31, 2012 -

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.

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Gotham City Imposters Free-to-Play Rumored

August 29, 2012 -

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.

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Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
TheSmokeyhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/call-of-duty-swatting-hoax_n_5195659.html?utm_hp_ref=canada&ir=Canada CoD loser calls SWAT on person who beat him04/23/2014 - 7:13am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/xbox-one-reaches-japan-on-september-4/ Just give it up, Microsoft. You're NEVER going to be big in Japan, especially now that the notoriously clunky in Japan Kinect is MANDATORY.04/23/2014 - 7:10am
Cheater87Has this been posted yet? http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Lord+Spencer/ssv-saudi-arabia-bans-bravely-default-because-it-promotes-pedophilia--272016.phtml04/22/2014 - 9:31pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/133898-Fatal-Frame-V-Coming-Exclusively-to-Wii-U04/22/2014 - 8:50pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a game worth playing if you have a pc/360/ps304/20/2014 - 9:34pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/IGLevine/status/457552538343325696 The Lutece Twins show up in some of the most unlikely of places.04/20/2014 - 2:44pm
Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
 

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