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Head to head releases are becoming the rule, rather than the exception, for MMORPGs. After a five year truce following the same-month release of WoW and EverQuest 2, in 2009 Champions Online and Aion were both released in September, and this week: Star Trek Online and Global Agenda. Is this a coincidence, as developers and publishers insist, or are the gloves quietly coming off, and if so, what does this do to games and their communities post-release? Read our take in Loading... Head-to-Head.
are today's top 5 Pulse results:
2 (UP 3)
Dragons Online (UP 1)
- Lord of the Rings Online (down 1)
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve">EVE Online (UP 1)
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/154">Ultima Online (UP 7 to #16)
- href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/swtor">Star Wars: The Old Republic (UP 6 to #18)
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes (UP 5 to #9)
(release date) size="-1">
XL (release date)
Origins (release date)
Collection (release date)
Siege of Mirkwood (expansion)
Online: Dominion (expansion)
2: Sentinel's Fate (expansion)
style="font-weight: bold;">Spring 2011
- href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/swtor">Star Wars:
When Amazon.com briefly listed Star Wars: The Old Republic for a September 2010 launch and Internet outlets picked it up, it meshed with rumors (rumors, mind you) of a September re-release of a game that rhymes with aneurysm. BioWare hastily announced that SWTOR wouldn't make its grand appearance before the first quarter of 2011, and crisis averted. Or maybe not. The ball is in Blizzard's court, and we'll be watching and waiting to see who sets a date first and what the other does. To add to the release date posturing fun, Final Fantasy XIV is in the mix now as well, and should Blizzard follow BioWare, Square Enix (pending more info on titles like Jumpgate Evolution, City of Heroes: Going Rogue, APB, and a few I'm probably forgetting) could have late 2010 much to itself.
That sort of posturing is a lot of fun for anyone who likes to speculate about the games industry, and MMORPGs (apart from sports franchises like Madden and NFL 2K in the olden days) might be the only game category whose publishers seem to consistently engineer same-month, nearly head-to-head releases. You probably won't catch Call of Duty and Halo releasing one after the other, for publishers' fear of cannibalizing their audience. But among MMOGs, there's a lot to be said for a head-to-head release. Two titles could conceivably draw twice the audience, then the game with better appeal, word-of-mouth, etc., could siphon off the other audience whose appetite is already sharpened for an online title. In other words, if you believe in your game, let another game's marketing effort create some hype, then capitalize off the post-launch disappointment..
Nor is this sort of thing new to MMORPGs. From 1999-2008, November was typically the month to launch your MMOG or retail expansion, or at least come out with a major update to keep folks interested. (In 2009, for whatever reason, December was the hotter month.) It's hardly a phenomena; the big name console titles typically release early in the holiday season and MMOGs used to slide in after the early purchasers had had their relatively short-lived single-player game jollies. But devs and publishers will insist that when games are launched a week apart, it's coincidence and they wish each other the best. Classy, but dubious. Beneath their calm, erudite, and earnest facade, devs know that their credits on a hit release can make their career and publishers want that magical, sequel-worthy, subscription-based gold mine.You know it, they know it, we know it, but no one will admit to it.
This week, for better or worse, the name reserves and head starts begin for Global Agenda and Star Trek Online. These are two games I've played extensively in beta and genuinely enjoy for very different reasons, and I hope they both do well. But the one question that may bear repeating in the coming weeks and months is whether these titles may have done even better had there been some breathing space between release dates. Up until now, Star Trek Online has dominated the hype battle, but Global Agenda has a lot of post-launch potential, in my opinion.
What do you think? Am I just stirring the pot, or are MMOG simu-releases intentional? Does this help or hurt these games? Their players? Share your thoughts in the Loading... forum!
Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
From our Articles, News & Events Discussion forum
Bethesda Working on WoW-Type MMOG
To quote our staff writer, Medawky, in his news post, "It seems you
can't swing a stick without hitting a claim of a new 'WoW-like' game,
but sometimes the claim bares closer inspection, like
when the claim is made by a company like Bethesda."
enough, isn't it? After all, Bethesda is the company behind the wildly
popular Elder Scrolls series, not to mention Fallout 3. You'd think
people would be excited by the prospect of a Bethesda-made MMOG
(WoW-like or otherwise), but we've got a growing thread that
says...well, I'll let you take a look at today's Awesome Quote and see
if you can get a feel for the sentiments subtly expressed therein.
Then head over to the thread to add your own thoughts.
Awesome Quotes from the
"Wonderful. As if the market was not in enough turmoil we need yet
another WOW clone. HERE'S A CLUE YOU DUMB ASS DEVELOPERS. NO ONE IS GOING TO DO WOW OR A WOW CLONE THAT PEOPLE WILL
PLAY EXCEPT FOR BLIZZARD. UNDERSTAND THAT BY NOW, GET OVER IT AND MOVE
ON. INNOVATION, DESIGN, VISION, PASSION, THAT WILL SET YOU APART AND
THAT'S WHAT WE NEED YOU STUPID ASS CEMENT HEADS!"
Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell
New and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer
5 new Ten Ton Hammer
features today! 92 in January! 92
Gamer Rehab - An Interview with the Founder of a Video Game Addicition Clinic
stories and urban legends abound regarding the extreme consequences
that can stem from an addiction to video games. And while some of these
claims may be trumped up to sell advertising or persuade your way of
thinking, there exists a legitimate need to help those players who find
themselves in over their heads. Polish gaming website MMOZin has
uncovered a clinic based here in the United States that is seeking to
do just that and Ten Ton Hammer is proud to have partnered with them to
bring an English language version of that interview, with Dr. Hilarie
Cash of the reSTART clinic, to the North American audience.
WoW: UI Mod Review - WoW Instant Messenger
(WoW Instant Messenger) is an addon for World of Warcraft that was
created to help you better manage your whispers by turning them into
something that looks like it came straight from a classic instant
messenger, while providing a large array of options for customization.
Mem has taken up the challenge and spent some in game time with the mod
to provide you the player with a review of the mod. Answering the
question of if it’s worth downloading and if it actually does what it
is intended to do. Read our review to find out the answers to these
questions and more!
FEATURES & GUIDES
Star Trek Online Space UI Guide
character may have spent the last few years studying at Starfleet
Academy, learning the ins and outs of the future ships they could serve
on, but that doesn't mean you have. While you were dozing through
lectures on warp propulsion, Ten Ton Hammer was gathering all the
information we could. Enjoy this new guide to the space-side user
Aion Weekly Newsletter - Finding the Glee
that feeling of accomplishment, is what a lot of us play MMOGs for. But
when things get a little stale, then what? Come and read what Savanja
intends to do to stoke the burning fires of love in Aion and, while
you're there, catch up on the latest Aion news.
WoW Tailoring Powerleveling Guide
a profession can be a less than fun task in World of Warcraft, but with
the Cataclysm expansion looming it’s probably a good idea to get your
profession up to date as soon as possible. This week Mem is proud
to reintroduce the updated Tailoring Leveling Guide, which will provide
the quickest and easiest way to finally get your Tailoring to max level.
Hottest Articles and Guides
- Gamer Rehab - An Interview with the Founder of a Video Game Addicition Clinic
- WoW: UI Mod Review - WoW Instant Messenger
An STO Endgame Q&A with
Progress Trap - An MMOG Retrospective
- Star Trek Online Space UI Guide
- Champions Online : Mission Lag Blues
Trek Online Beta Journal #5 -
Open Season on Open Beta
Issue #1: Shifting Paradigms
Trek Online Career Guide
Characters In style="font-weight: bold;">EVE Online
for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer
- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the
Ten Ton Hammer team
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Star Trek Online Game Page.