Friday, July 8, 2011

CCP Partners With Nexon and SOE's Community Address

I wrote on Monday that the story published by Eve News about Sony Online Entertainment buying a major interest in CCP Games would finally be put to rest on Thursday. I'm glad I'm able to report some good news.

First, CCP announced that the company it was going to partner with was Nexon, not SOE. Here are the details from the press release.

CCP and Nexon Announce Strategic Partnership for EVE Online in Japan

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND and TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 7, 2011– CCP and Nexon Co., Ltd. today announced an agreement to bring a fully localized game client and product services for CCP’s award winning science fiction virtual world experience, EVE Online, to Japan this fall.

Continuing with CCP’s international growth plans, the company has targeted one of the largest online games markets to expand the EVE property. “Japanese players have always been an essential part of the EVE Online community,” said CCP CEO, Hilmar Veigar P├ętursson. “Having considered Nexon’s excellent reputation as Asia’s leading game developer and publisher, they were the obvious choice in who the best possible partner would be to help us make the game more accessible to our growing fan base in Japan.” With the release of EVE Online on PC later this year, and CCP’s upcoming persistent shooter, DUST 514 on PlayStation 3 the following year, Japanese players will have localized access to the complete EVE universe ecosystem.

Localized services for Japanese players will enable them to access the game in their native language through the Tranquility server, which currently plays host to over 350,000 subscribers from around the world in three languages: English, German and Russian.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to be a part of CCP’s ongoing plans to provide premium services to their subscribers,” said Seung-Woo Choi, Nexon Co., Ltd. “Our shared commitment to quality and excellence is the ultimate cornerstone from which to build an even greater gaming experience for Japanese video game enthusiasts.”
While CCP will continue to develop and manage the game, EVE Online will be added to the ever-expanding portfolio of titles available through Nexon’s portal site, utilizing Nexon’s billing system and supported by the company’s expertise in the areas of regional marketing and promotion.

While some may not like CCP associating with a F2P company like Nexon, the fact that the Icelandic company is looking to open up new markets as a source of revenue bolsters The Mittani's analysis of the Noble Exchange.
"My impression is that CCP is primarily doing the microtransactions in EVE not as a revenue-creation metric at all. Many other MMOs are doing microtransactions in one way or another and I think that CCP is doing it not to make money but just to learn and acquire the capacity to do it such that they aren't left in the dust as the industry changes. As you all know, the industry is shifting in toward microtransaction or hybrid models, and that's just the way it is. I don't think CCP are about to start trying to take the player's money and have that be a primary source of revenue for EVE. "
Speaking of companies that are trying to take the player's money as a significant revenue source, that brings us to last night's SOE Community Address given by SOE CEO John Smedley. The highlight was the introduction of Planetside 2. Planetside 2 promises to be direct competition for CCP's upcoming MMOFPS title DUST 514. The game engine for Planetside 2 that Eve News insinuated was Carbon is instead a new engine developed by SOE called Forge Light. Not only will Forge Light power Planetside 2 but the new EverQuest Next project as well.

SOE is touting Planetside 2 as a sandbox game, which places it in direct competition with CCP. In fact, one of the features of Planetside 2 will be a time-based skill system similar to Eve Online. The one fact I found weird is that SOE is introducing classes to the Planetside universe. I think classes works against one of the strengths of a skill point system: customization. I can do whatever I want in Eve depending on how I spend my skill points. A class system limits what a player can eventually do in the sandbox without rolling another character.

And since I did watch the entire hour-long presentation, I thought I'd mention the news about EverQuest 2, a game I played for over 3 years. I think that EQ2 is one of the games that players in Eve use as an example of how a cash shop would ruin a game. The new expansion, Age of Discovery, comes out in November 2011, returning to the November release schedule abandoned with the Sentinal's Fate expansion. While having no increase in the level cap, the expansion will introduce tradeskill apprentices and mercenaries as well as the ever popular Beastlord class from EverQuest. As a final item, players will be able to design their own dungeons.

It is always nice to bury a rumor like that pushed by Eve News. The fact that competition has emerged for DUST 514 makes writing a post like this a lot more satisfying. Honestly, if this post were just to pile on Eve News for engaging in journalistic malpractice, I would have spent too much time on this. But posting about real news gives me a happy feeling. And speaking of happy feelings, I'll leave you with the first trailer from Planetside 2 along with the DUST 514 trailer from E3 to look at and compare. Enjoy.

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