“Jail” for quitting a Killer Instinct fight

Anyone who has ever been part of a multiplayer game knows that quitters can completely ruin the experience. Be it a football/soccer match, a 1-on-1 fight or a squad-based shoot-out, playing against someone who quits can turn a pacifist into a demon in a matter of seconds.

In that sense, last year’s almost free-to-play Killer Instinct has decided how it’s going to deal with players who abandon a multiplayer match early. Double Helix, its developer, calls the new system “rage quit solution”.

The first time your disconnect percentage goes above 15%, you’re sent to “Jail”. For 24 hours, you can only fight against other jail members.

However, each time  you return to jail, the amount of time increases by 24 hours (up to a maximum of 5 days). When your jail time is up, you are free again… until you quit another match and go back to the Big House (as long as your disconnect percentage is above 15%).

Just in case you forget where you are and what you did, while in jail your profile icon is automatically changed to a custom jail icon.

It isn’t the first game in its kind to implement a solution like this, but the combination of the “Jail” and the icon sounds really cool.

Source: Kotaku

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World of Warcraft = Lord of the Rings x12

On its way to its 10th anniversary, World of Warcraft, the quintessential MMO, has released some really impressive facts. For example:

  • Since its launch, more than 100 million unique accounts have been created.
  • It’s played in 244 countries and territories across the globe, including Antarctica.
  • Its in-game text is around 6 million words, the equivalent of 12 copies of The Lord of the Rings.
  • Among the 619 available pets, the squirrel is the most common and the tiny red carp the rarest.
"We are the world, we are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day So let's start giving"

“We are the world, we are the children.
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving”

You can see the complete infographic here, or an HTML version here (available in many languages).

Sony offers a single subscription for all its MMOs

Starting April 02, Sony Online Entertainment will offer a single membership plan called All Access, that will cover all its MMOs (EverQuestEverQuest IIDC Universe Online PC, PlanetSide 2 PC, VanguardSaga of Heroes, and the upcoming EverQuest Next and EQN Landmark).

For $14.99 a month (with extra savings for 3, 6 and 12 month plans), subscribers will be able to:

  • Claim 500 Station Cash monthly from within the game marketplaces.
  • Receive a 10% discount on marketplace purchases.
  • Gain access to exclusive promotions and offers throughout the year.

Besides, all players with existing memberships will be automatically upgraded into the new plan. As IGN points out, free-to-play members will still be able to play games without paying for them and the new consolidated payment options are only available on PC right now.

I’m interested to see how this single subscription model works. As I see it, lowering the barriers for those who want to play (at least) more than one MMOs is a clear vote of confidence for the free-to-play model. Why? Because now the only way to monetize those players (outside the single $14.99 subscription fee) will be through in-app purchases, as they will be spending less per game. Of course, those who only play one MMO won’t see any change.

In the end, it’s about giving people more for their money.

Source: SOE Community

World of Tanks gathers over 1 million concurrent players

World of Tanks, the insanely popular tanks MMO, has set a new record with 1.1 million concurrent users. In other words, more than 1 million players shooting each other at the same time. The game has over 75 million registered users around the world.

You can find the full story here.

Kabam doubled its revenue in 2013

Kabam, the social games colossus known for its strategy games, had had a great 2012, making more than $180 million in gross revenue (70% more than in the previous year). Based on its mobile success in China, the company forecasted earning $270 million in 2013.

However, the Warner Bros. backed developer ended 2013 reporting $360 million in revenues, doubling its previous year. According to Kabam CEO Kevin Chou, most of that money came from their mobile ventures, although around $100 million were generated by browser games on Facebook and Kabam.com.

The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age (2013)

Regarding the general gaming scene, Chou acknowlodges the initial success of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but still isn’t sold on developing games for them:

…over time, free-to-play mobile gaming revenues will dramatically overtake traditional game sales as more people worldwide download and play games on smartphones and tablets from freemium content companies like Kabam.

Source: Gamasutra

League of Legends made $624 million last year

League of Legends (Riot Games’ hit MOBA) continues its hugely successful run, having earned $624 million during 2013 (its 4th year in the market). The game is free-to-play, so the earnings came 100% from in-app purchases. However, that number wasn’t enough to make it the most lucrative online PC game, as it was surpassed by CrossFire, SmileGate’s first-person military shooter, which earned $957 million during 2013.

If we divide the top 10 free-to-play earners by publishers, the Chinese giant Tencent is the clear winner, having a combined annual gross of $1,581 million and holding the top 2 spots. The South Korean developer Nexon comes second, with 3 of the top 10 slots and an $873 million annual income.

  1. CrossFire (Tencent/SmileGate) – $957 million
  2. League of Legends (Tencent/Riot Games) – $624 million
  3. Dungeon Fighter Online (Nexon) – $426 million
  4. World of Tanks (Wargaming.net) – $372 million
  5. Maplestory (Nexon) – $326 million
  6. Lineage (NCSoft) – $257 million
  7. World of Warcraft (Activision/Blizzard) – $213 million
  8. Star Wars: The Old Republic (Electronic Arts) – $139 million
  9. Team Fortress 2 (Valve) – $139 million
  10. CounterStrike Online (Valve/Nexon) – $121 million

It’s important to note that the study doesn’t include paid subscriptions, so World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic have even bigger earnings.

Source: SuperData

Grand Theft Auto Online’s Combat Photographer

The online component of last year’s record-breaking Grand Theft Auto V lets players become part of a vibrant world, full of activities, challenges and sociopaths. Although it may sound too similar to its singleplayer experience, the difference lies, of course, in the actors: the mayhem here is brought by other human players. For sure, there are still plenty of game-controlled cops, shop owners and bystanders to run into (pun intended).

The fun fact this time is that, as happens in real world conflicts, a new unarmed character appeared among violence and death: the combat photographer.

Redditor cy_sperling decided to take full advantage of the game’s snapshot feature, roaming Los Santos (GTA’s Los Ángeles) in the search of hot spots. He plays passively, snapping images of his surroundings.

Life and death in Los Santos

He even takes his GTA Online persona one step further, wearing camo pants, a black jacket with “MEDIA” printed across the back and a helmet. When possible, he also tries to find a Weazel Newsvan (Los Santos news station) to get to the conflicts in full journalistic fashion.

“Weazel News: confirming your prejudice”

However, as in any other warzone, being a combat photographer can be a very dangerous task, especially if people don’t accept your political immunity:

It’s fun to see who “get it” and let me get up close while they fight. Most people seem to have fun with it, but there is always one guy who can’t stop trying to run me over. And they are always dressed as some ridiculous ICP Clown nonsense…

It’s great to see what can emerge when people have enough tools and a canvas to interact with.

Source: Reddit via Kotaku