And here’s what I found.
Hotcakes: Stop Using Club Penguin To Organize Racist Penguin Sex
This is how you draw out Disney’s lawyers.
Continue reading “Hotcakes: Stop Using Club Penguin To Organize Racist Penguin Sex”
Consumer Outrage Hurts Stocks, Wipes Out $3.1 Billion In EA Value
It’s not just Disney and consumers who have a reason to be angry at Electronic Arts. Following a consumer revolt over its aggressive microtransaction strategies in Star Wars Battlefront 2, and despite Electronic Arts showing major growth over the past year up 52% year over year, its shares took a tumble after news that the December quarterly sales forecast would be lower than expected due to the performance of Star Wars. Shares of Electronic Arts were down 8.5% through Tuesday, knocking out $3.1 billion in shareholder value.
Physical sales of Battlefront II in the UK dropped at least 50% in the first week, while none of the versions of the title have hit the Amazon top 100 for 2017, which happens to be populated by titles including Mass Effect Andromeda, Splatoon 2, and Horizon Zero Dawn. Analysts are not happy, both with physical sales of Battlefront II as well as
“We were underwhelmed by sell-through for Star Wars: Battlefront II (EA) over the Black Friday weekend, which follows a controversial launch for the game,” Stifel analyst Drew Crum wrote in a note to clients Sunday.
Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen stated in a speech at the Credit Suisse 21st Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference that EA avoided cosmetic microtransactions due to limitations on the franchise canon.
“The one thing we’re very focused on and they’re extremely focused on is not violating the canon of Star Wars,” Jorgensen said. “It’s an amazing brand that’s been built over many, many years. So if you did a bunch of cosmetic things, you might start to violate the canon. Darth Vader in white probably doesn’t make sense, versus in black. Not to mention you probably don’t want Darth Vader in pink. No offense to pink, but I don’t think that’s right in the canon.”
EA’s microtransaction strategy has been incredibly successful in its sports titles from Madden to NBA and Fifa, however the recent expansion of said practice to titles like Battlefront and Need for Speed resulted in a large push back from consumers that executives may not have expected.
Marvel Dooms Its Heroes: Marvel Heroes to Shut Down
A representative from Marvel has confirmed that the company has ended its licencing relationship with Gazillion Entertainment, and that Marvel Heroes will officially shut down in the near future. Marvel Heroes initially launched in 2013 on PC, and most recently on the PS4 and Xbox.
Rumors of turbulence within the company have been swirling around for months, including allegations of sexual misconduct by the current CEO. Some saw the writing on the wall when Gazillion went silent for weeks regarding future development plans.
The statement by Marvel is as follows:
“We regret to inform our Marvel Heroes fans that we have ended our relationship with Gazillion Entertainment, and that the Marvel Heroes games will be shut down. We would like to sincerely thank the players who joined the Marvel Heroes community, and will provide any further updates as they become available.”
No time table for the shutdown has been given at this time.
Disney Shutting Down Its Less Popular MMOs
Disney appears to be cleaning house with some of their less popular MMOs. The company announced today that both Toontown and Pirates of the Caribbean Online will be shutting down on September 19th, just a month away. Both games have already stopped accepting payments and have opened their doors to be played for free until the servers shut down. There wasn’t much of a reason given other than the usual shifting development focus, although the obvious answer is that few people still play Toontown or Pirates Online.
“The Walt Disney Company is committed to offering high-quality, entertaining play experiences in both online virtual worlds and mobile apps. At this time, we are shifting our development focus towards other online and mobile play experiences, such as Club Penguin and a growing selection of Disney mobile apps.”
Monday Night Cap: EA Uses The Force
After hearing that Electronic Arts has scored an exclusive license to develop and publish Star Wars games, I’m guessing at least some of you had an expression comparable to the one above.
“This agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating quality game experiences that drive the popularity of the Star Wars franchise for years to come,” said Disney co-president John Pleasants in a statement. “Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world.”
On one hand, I would love to see Battlefront 3 be made on the Frostbite engine. The thought of upgrading the Battlefront model to include environmental destruction is one that makes me very happy. We know that Bioware can make great single player RPGs, and I trust the company if they’re going to continue the work that had been started on Star Wars 1313.
And yes, there have been plenty of controversies coming out of EA in the past couple of years, so all I’m saying is look at this with about mid-level expectations. Not so much the next coming of Half Life, but more the next coming of Poker Night at the Inventory: Something not a whole lot of people asked for but will probably be enjoyable regardless.
Disney Shuts Down LucasArts
In a truly disappointing move, Disney has confirmed to Game Informer that the game publishing subsidiary LucasArts has been shut down, accompanied by an expected number of layoffs associated with such a change. Instead, LucasArts will move toward licensing rather than developing games based on the Star Wars franchise.
“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.”
Unfortunately this likely means the cancellation of the upcoming, and extremely beautiful looking, Star Wars 1313. As Game Informer points out, the shuttering wasn’t exactly unexpected, with the absence of both the Force Unleashed and Battlefront series, not to mention the total lack of any serious Indiana Jones games in the past few years outside of LEGO Indiana Jones.
MMO Fallout hopes for fast employment by those affected by the layoffs.
Players Petition To Revive Pirates Of The Caribbean Online
Pirates of the Caribbean Online is one of those titles that has so far eluded the MMO Fallout radar. Surprising, considering the game predates this website by quite a bit. POTCO, as it is called, was released in 2007 by Disney Interactive Media Group, and while the game hasn’t exactly skyrocketed to a massive audience, one look at the website will show a small but very engaged and loyal community. Amazingly, the game is still updated on a pretty regular basis to introduce new outfits, new emblems for ship masts, and new ships. That being said, the skies are not exactly smooth sailing either.
A petition filed by the POTCO community raises concerns over all aspects of the game. The petition requests that Disney work on reviving the game, including making improvements to server latency, improving customer service, and dealing with existing bugs and the problem of people using cheats. The petition also requests that content be added into the game at a more efficient pace.
We invite Disney Interactive Media Group to reevaluate the uniqueness and potentials of the Pirates of the Caribbean Online game. Improvements on the technical aspect of the game (i.e., higher performance setting, problem solving, variety of contents, etc.) along with proactive customer service will improve the game performance and gaming experience tremendously.
The petition currently holds almost two thousand signatures.
(Source: Revive POTCO)
Save City of Heroes Reaches Out To Disney
City of Heroes shuts down in two days from the time of this writing. Despite the astounding campaign from the City of Heroes community, which gained the support of celebrities including Neil Gaiman, Mercedes Lackey, and John C. Wright among others, NCSoft stands by their earlier statement that all attempts at selling the IP were unsuccessful. In their continuing efforts, the Save City of Heroes campaign delivered a package to Disney HQ, filled with information about City of Heroes, the campaign, and explaining why Disney should add the title to their ever growing portfolio. The information was written by NY Times Best Selling Author Mercedes Lackey along with several others, who wrote:
“We believe that acquiring City of Heroes will provide Disney Interactive with the logical extension of their games for kids and teens, offering a game that literally the whole family can play.”
Will Disney step up and rescue City of Heroes? That will need to be seen.
(Source: Press Release)
Chronicles of Spellborn Shutting Down This Month
It feels like ages ago that Chronicles of Spellborn went quiet. Not only did the new developers (Acclaim) stop talking to us, but eventually the downloader and client for the game didn’t even work! Absolutely nothing came into or out of the company, and we were left with nothing more than a long-aged reminder that “we’re still working on stuff guys!” Ask anyone who does MMO news (like myself) and they’ll likely tell you the same thing: Chronicles of Spellborn was an absolutely baffling experience. It was quite a decent game, one that sat through its developers going bankrupt and the new publishers attempting (and obviously failing) to pull a free to play conversion.
So when I say Chronicles of Spellborn is shutting down, I think of it in the sense of putting a very badly hurting title out of its misery. Chronicles of Spellborn was taken over shortly after launch by its publisher, Acclaim, who was in turn acquired by Playdom, who was in turn acquired by Disney, who in turn decided to shutter the title this month.
TCoS will be online until the end of August, when the servers will come down for their final time. It is unknown, and unlikely, as to whether or not the developers are planning some kind of end-of-game event. Playing by the UK release date (November 2008), the game will still have not hit two years old by the time it shuts down.
I’ll be here with a “what happened?” when The Chronicles of Spellborn shuts down this September.