2016 was the year Nintendo finally started to take mobile gaming seriously. They started the year strong with the launch of Pokemon GO and ended the year with Fire Emblem Heroes, the first mobile installment to the long running franchise. Despite being the first mobile Fire Emblem game, I suspect it will out-earn practically every other game in the genre, which is a testament to the power of the platform more so than Nintendo’s game development prowess. Nintendo has been unusually generous with Fire Emblem Heroes as well. As unlike many hero collectors, Nintendo has made it pretty easy to earn orbs (the game’s premium currency) without spending a dime. MMOs.com wrote a nice Guide on how to get free Orbs in Fire Emblem Heroes for those interested. This is noteworthy because some of the most profitable mobile hero collector games give free to play users very little. Just look at Fate Grand Order. It makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year, but getting new heroes without paying is extremely difficult. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius also makes it hard to get new summons in-game without paying. They do have the occasional event to help free to play users out, but my point is that Nintendo has been unusually generous with giving away premium currency to players regularly, and I’m curious to see if it ends up working for them. Continue reading
Having spent most of my gaming career playing games available in the U.S. I always felt like I was missing out on the games that never made it here. Not just that though, even if I knew a game was going to release in the West, I never got a chance to try it before it’s Western release. I mainly play MMOs, so I’ll use some MMO examples. A lot of people got a chance to play Blade and Soul well before NCSoft released it in the U.S. / EU in 2016. Same thing goes for Black Desert Online (but with Kakao Games obviously, not NCSoft). Given that a lot of people don’t know how to play these games from the U.S. I decided to compile a short little guide here: Continue reading
Twin Saga is the latest in X-Legend Entertainment’s portfolio to make it to Western shores. In it, you discover that you have a goddess inhabiting you and you must help her save the world from her evil sister, who is trying to throw the world into chaos. Gameplay is largely familiar, featuring tab-targeting combat and a quest-driven story. It offers a few unique features over its predecessors, but are those features enough to set it apart from them?
What on Earth compels game developers to release obviously awful games? At a certain point in the development cycle, you’d think someone would step in and be like, “Wait a minute. THIS is our game? This blows – let’s cut our losses”. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should, as the free to play section of Steam was recently blessed with a turd of an MMORPG this last week called Destiny of Ancient Kingdoms. I’m normally pretty easy on free to play games, after all – they’re free and it didn’t cost me a dime to play, but Destiny of Ancient Kingdoms is a unique game in that I find it offensive. First of all, it launched in 2016, but looks like it came out in 2006 or 2007. Hell. It looks a lot like Last Chaos, Shaiya, or any other old Korean MMORPG. The odd thing though is that it isn’t even Korean. It’s developed by an indie South African company and boasts that it’s the first South African MMO and even includes the South African flag on its trailer. If I lived in South Africa, I’d be embarrassed to see my symbol of national pride displayed on such an awful looking game. Continue reading
Despite not playing many mobile games myself, I’ve seen the writing on the wall. Mobile is the future of gaming. This became abundantly clear to me after seeing a list of the most profitable online games on the PC and comparing the data to the top grossing mobile games. League of Legends made about $1.6 billion in revenue in 2015 and is still the top grossing game, but if you exclude League of Legends from the list, Clash of Clans on mobile takes the #1 spot at $1.3 billion. The growth of mobile gaming is simply staggering. Games like Monster Strike are vastly out earning well known titles like World of Tanks and Counter-Strike: GO. It’s not just about today’s numbers either. Continue reading
So apparently Mu: Origin is launching in Western markets real soon. The English language closed beta is already available and some videos are already up on the net. I had a chance to play the game a bit myself and after spending 20 or so minutes with it, I can safely conclude it will be a complete bust in the West. It plays like any other nonsense Chinese browser game. If you haven’t played a Chinese browser game, they’re all the same. The core elements of these games are 1) the game plays itself. These games almost all have built in bots that do absolutely everything for you. So even though these games bill themselves as MMORPGs, they’re basically no different than clicker heroes. 2) The PvP in these games are incredibly pay to win. Chinese developed games are notorious for their pay 2 win elements. It’s almost like they have no shame. Continue reading
Many Western gamers may not know much about ChangYou, but they’re one of the top 5 or 6 biggest game developers/publishers in China. They experimented with Western expansion with the launch of Dragon Oath(called TLBB in Asia. Also their flagship MMORPG) in the U.S. and Europe, but unfortunately, the game didn’t do so well and they quickly abandoned it. Currently Dragon Oath’s website and game servers are still up, but the official website hasn’t seen an update in years. ChangYou also bought a company called RaidCall to try breaking into the Gamer VOIP market, but this also failed. ChangYou isn’t the first Chinese company that made a push into the West. Perfect World Entertainment made a much more successful push into the West and ended up launching a large library of games here. They even bought Cryptic Studios, which makes Neverwinter and Champions Online. Perfect World was definitely more successful in the West than ChangYou, but it looks like ChangYou is giving it another try.
On November 12, 2015 ChangYou launched a World War 2 naval combat game called Steel Ocean on Steam. I’m not particularly fond of these World War 2 games, as I tried playing Navy Field 2 and didn’t like it much, but Steel Ocean looks visually impressive. It doesn’t look nearly as good as Wargaming‘s World of Warshipsthough, at least visually. Even though I have no interest in Steel Ocean, I’m intrigued to see that ChangYou hasn’t given up. They just took a multi-year long hiatus after shutting down their completely failed games in the West (think Zentia, Sword Girls, and Renaissance Heroes).
It’s odd to see a company make a big push into something, do nothing for 6-7 years, and then all of a sudden try again. So many Asian companies try launching their MMORPGs in the West, but few succeed. Take a company like CyberStep for example. They’re one of the few Japanese MMO developers and they localized several of their games into English. None of their games are particularly successful, but they have a small portfolio of niche games including Onigiri and GetAmped 2. Despite their limited success, CyberStep hasn’t given up on the Western market. Instead, they keep updating their games and slowly introduce new ones. They even launched Onigiri, an anime inspired MMORPG, on consoles earlier this year. Onigiri isn’t anything special, but it is one of the only free to play MMORPGs currently available on console (along with Neverwinter). They’re also working on a new game called Cosmic League, which they announced recently. I think Cyberstep has taken a much better approach to Western expansion than ChangYou. It’s worth mentioning too that ChangYou is a billion dollar company with much more resources than most of the small Korean and Japanese MMO developers, so they had every advantage possible, but still failed. Hopefully this new effort by ChangYou yields better results. I’m hoping Steel Ocean does well.