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Free-to-play games are steadily gaining traction in the market and
developers everywhere are seeing the benefits. Rumor has it that
Blizzard Entertainment is about to grab themselves a piece of that pie
with their own free-to-play game, today in href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/82233">Loading... Blizzard Goes
It's no secret that free-to-play games are taking the industry by
storm. Take a look at Medawky's href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/82167">Microcosms weekly
column for a nice overview of just some of the titles that were
promoted at GDC. Until recently it was difficult to tell just how
successful the cash shop model has been. Fenando Paiz of Turbine
revealed some impressive
numbers which illustrates how powerful the market really is.
Everyone is jumping on board of late. SOE and Turbine may have been the
front runners of the Western market in terms of companies who have gone
from subscription based games to free-to-play options, but it isn't
ending there. Blizzard Entertainment joined up fairly recently too with
their pet store.
The trend is huge, and it's here to stay. During his keynote at GDC
V-Con, John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment recently
thanked Blizzard for coming on board, which ended up taking some of the
heat off the guys who took the first step for the Westerners. Early
stages of microtransaction options had been viewed in somewhat of a
negative light by gamers and the adoption of the model by the "big
guys" has helped in the transition of what promises to become the
industry standard in the not-so-distant future.
Don't believe it? Some of the most populated sessions at GDC were
focused solely on the marketing of microtransaction stores, social
games, and market penetration of the cash shops. Professionals
everywhere were crowding into the rooms to either speak, listen or
learn from the companies who have already made the change over.
But will these companies ever make the full leap into free-to-play
games? SOE and Turbine already have, and Ten Ton Hammer was able to
catch wind that Blizzard Entertainment may be soon to follow. We were
told that Blizzard has started a 3-year project featuring a
free-to-play browser-based game supported by microtransactions. The
theme and genre is otherwise unknown. When we approached Blizzard for
official confirmation we received a simple "no comment." While that may
not be exactly the proof in the pudding, so to speak, rarely is a "no
comment" comment commented when there's nothing to comment about.
It's no surprise, really. If there's one thing Blizzard knows well,
it's how to make money. With the massive success of recent games like
DDO, Free Realms and several
others, it would be rather foolish to ignore the opportunity.
Now, I may have come off here in a business-minded tone, but from a
gamer's perspective it's not a bad thing either. Few of us actually style="font-style: italic;">want to pay multiple subscriptions
for multiple games so having free options allows us to take control of
how much we want to play of each game. With free-to-play games it's a
completely customized package where we can play what we want, when we
want, without paying barrels of cash for a bounty of subscriptions. The
days of "there's only one MMOG for me" are quickly falling behind us as
the market becomes saturated with new and exciting titles. The style="font-style: italic;">only realistic option here is for
the games to become subscription-free with revenue coming in from
alternate sources to keep the servers up and the developers employed.
Not that Blizzard will have any problems with making money from the
project anyway. They've always had an uncanny ability to virtually
print cash and now that the hard part of opening players to the concept
has been done by other developers it should be a relatively easy run
for them. It will also benefit the existing free-to-play companies by
doing exactly what they did with the launch of WoW - that is, to
introduce a whole boatload of new gamers to a new concept.
It could end up as a double edged sword for Blizzard though. Will
introducing their fans to free-to-play games inevitably send players to
try out other free-to-play titles? With WoW, risk was minimal due to
the simple fact that only rarely would gamers pay for multiple
subscriptions. Remove that block though, and who knows where the gamers
will end up? It will be an exciting and interesting road ahead of us
all. Let us know your thoughts href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=50181">in the
Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
From our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=607">Mortal
Online General Discussion
CEO: If you don't support MO, it could be the end of sandbox MMOs; etc
posted an IRC chat log which apparently shows Henrik Nystrom, CEO of
Star Vault, the publishers of Mortal Online, commenting on the game,
its sandboxness, publishers and carebears. I'm not vouching for the
authenticity of the log, but it's interesting, so href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=50173">have a
look, all you potential Mortal Online fans.
Awesome Quotes from the
Nothing yet. Go href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=50173">make one!
Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=32559">Tell
and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer
9 new Ten Ton Hammer
today! 65 in March! 295 in 2010!
Democratizing DDO - Turbine Reveals
New Facts and Figures at GDC 2010
Following a recent announcement that Dungeons & Dragons Online
(DDO) had topped 1 million active players, Executive Producer Fernando
Paiz brought facts and figures to back up Turbine's claims to Game
Developers Conference 2010 last week. But the most exciting part of
Paiz's talk wasn't so much that Turbine's making skads of money from
DDO's free-to-play switch, but that allowing players to pay for as much
or as little of the game as they want to has led to better design
decisions and a generally happier player community.
Boldly Going - A GDC 2010 Interview
with Cryptic's Bill Roper and Craig Zinkievich
While meeting with Executive Producers for a quick interview and PR
plug for their latest game is De rigueur at the various gaming
conventions we attend, it is a rare occasion when you gain access to
two of them in one spot for any extended amount of time. We here at Ten
Ton Hammer were able to pull off that miraculous feat this year at GDC
when we sat down with Cryptic's dynamic duo of Bill Roper and Craig
Zinkievich in the well appointed cafe of The InterContinental. In lieu
of scones and crepes, we instead gorged ourselves on information about Champions
and Star Trek Online,what the future holds for Cryptic's two
highest profile games, and the importance of open lines of
Microcosms Issue #9 - GDC 2010 Year of
It isn't just this column that is heralding the coming of the age of
the free-to-plays it seems, this years GDC in San Francisco was heavily
slanted toward subscriptionless gaming. With so many high production
value games on the launching pad for 2010 it won't be long before the
stigma surrounding microtransaction based gaming is gone completely.
Join us this week as we recap some of the highlights of GDC 2010.
Clash of the Titans! Mytheon Preview
at GDC 2010
Combining the elements of real-time strategy
and action-oriented RPG, Mytheon is chock full of innovative gameplay.
Developed by Petroglyph, this upcoming free-to-play game allows players
adventure in the world of the ancient Greek gods and face fearsome
as Medusa and Hades. Do you have what it takes to be a hero in the vein
Perseus or Achilles?
Star Wars: The Old Republic GDC 2010
Featured at GDC this year for Star Wars: The Old Republic was the
Trooper Class. The trooper is an advanced, versatile fighter that can
adapt to any situation. Equipped with powerful ranged weapons the class
is a tough, focused fighting machine. Check out the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/82076" target="_blank">new
screenshots directly from the the game.
FEATURES & GUIDES
The Battle For Providence
The Curatores Veritatis Alliance has played a unique role in the
political history of EVE Online. In this article, Ten Ton Hammer
Contributing Writer, Space Junkie, discusses the war in which that
alliance finds itself, as well as the roots of the conflict and what
will happen in Providence, one of the most accessible regions of
New Mortal Online Open Beta Trailer
target="_blank">Mortal Online will officially launch later this
month. To offer a look at what's to come, Star Vault has released a new
trailer from open beta to show off the impressive graphics and content
that the game has to offer. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/82134" target="_blank">Click
here to check out the new trailer.
New Champions Online - Vibora Bay
target="_blank">Champions Online will release its free
expansion mid-March and this week Cryptic and Atari have released a few
new screenshots showing some of the new characters players will
encounter in Vibora Bay. Juryrig, Baron Cimetiere, Black Mask, and Guy
Sweetland are just some of the new characters players will encounter
and you can get a look at them href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/82149" target="_blank">here.
Final Fantasy XIV: Online Gallery
With the future release of Final Fantasy XIV:
Online upcoming, Square Enix has updated their official website and
whole slew of images from the game. Your friends at Ten Ton Hammer are
to provide you this gallery of images from Final Fantasy XIV.
Hottest Articles and Guides
DDO - Turbine Reveals New
Facts and Figures at GDC 2010
Going - A GDC 2010 Interview with Cryptic's
Bill Roper and Craig Zinkievich
Preview at GDC 2010
and Diplomacy - A Look at Sid Meier's Civilization V
Fantasy XIII href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/reviews/finalfantasyXIII">Review
of the Titans! Mytheon Preview
at GDC 2010
Multiplayer Beta Preview & First Impressions
Brewday 2010 Walkthrough
Update 1.9 Interview with NCsoft
for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer
- Benjamin J. de la Durantaye and the
Ten Ton Hammer team