Gameforge AG announced that in February 2013, the much-loved fantasy MMO TERA will be switching from the former subscription model to free-to-play. Korean developer Bluehole Studio already announced this switch in December. Now Gameforge follows suit as publisher of the European game version.
“We are very pleased to be able to in future offer the game content of TERA to its fans for free and in addition, to offer all who are interested the opportunity to see the quality of the game for themselves”, said Eva Schmitt, Product Director of TERA.
TERA goes free-to-play
The free-to-play model of TERA will have two base account types: the free user and the veteran.
The free user will be able to charge into adventure for free and will receive complete access to the entirety of TERA’s game content. This includes the races, classes, instances, equipment items and player versus player content for example, but also unique features such as the political system. Limitations exist for free users merely in the form of functional option restrictions, such as the number of character slots or the number of safe deposits available. Read more
Codemasters Online Launches Award-winning Online Game Across Europe Today
Wednesday, 3rd November 2010… Codemasters Online is delighted to announce that the much anticipated release of Turbine’s The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) is now free-to-play for players across Europe.
Players can now download LOTRO at www.lotro.com and join with millions of other adventurers as they explore the most complete and authentic recreation of Middle-earth ever created and participate in LOTRO’s award-winning story up to level 50 for free. Players can also choose to visit the new LOTRO Store to purchase expansions, quest packs, items, and account services à la carte, or join the VIP program that provides unlimited access to the game for one low monthly price.
This major update will also extend the game’s epic story and expand the world of Middle-earth with the new region of Enedwaith while continuing to deliver state-of-the-art graphics and gameplay, as well as a rich set of features that until now could only be found in premium subscription-based online games.
“We are thrilled to finally be able to launch LOTRO as a free-to-play game and introduce the new store and updated content in Europe today. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our players for their patience. It is very much appreciated.” said David Solari, Vice President and General Manager of Codemasters Online. “We anticipate the LOTRO’s new free-to-play model will significantly increase our customer base and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Middle-earth.” Read more
Europe’s Premier Game Developer Conference to Offer Expanded Exposition, Press Opportunities and Academic Exchange Program
The Game Developers Conference Europe (GDC Europe) has announced that it will return to Cologne, Germany in 2010 alongside gamescom, combining to present the leading European game industry event for developers, consumers, publishers, and trade professionals.
In 2009, GDC Europe hosted over 130 international speakers, 40 exhibitors and sponsors from 35 countries, 240 media representatives and around 1,500 participants – advancing to become the leading conference for computer and video game developers in Europe. “Of course, we intend to claim this leading role again this year,” said Frank Sliwka, Vice President European Business Development and Event Director GDC Europe. “GDC Europe plans to offer attendees and participants outstanding new opportunities to learn and network. This includes three major updates that will be added to the regular program featuring keynotes, lectures, roundtables & workshops and exhibition area.”
The show producers have expanded GDC Europe’s exhibition opportunities to include both last year’s exhibit areas and a major new space within the gamescom Business Area, which will grant GDC Europe exhibitors additional meeting room and exhibition space during the overlapping gamescom event. This new area – named the GDC Europe Business Lounge at gamescom — will also host a VIP lounge area for GDC Europe Plus members to convene and conduct business.
With German and European companies moving strongly to dominate the online and browser game space, GDC Europe plans to focus the second day of the event, August 17 to covering browser-based, social network and online games, and key emerging markets. Additionally, GDC Europe plans to provide a major platform for “online games companies” to host press conferences at GDC Europe on this day. “Given the international network of the Game Developers Conferences and the UBM TechWeb Game Network, a resounding response is guaranteed for these new conference offerings,” explains Frank Sliwka.
In related news, in March 2010, the UBM TechWeb Game Network will launch a new project called the “Academic Exchange Program,” in cooperation with the North Rhine-Westphalian state chancellery. It’s intended to promote the academic exchange between universities with game degree programs from North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) and America. As part of this event, university professors from NRW and their American colleagues will participate at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and exchange information on current teaching programs and best practices. “The games industry will only thrive with qualified labor. Thus, an international program to exchange current training methods on an academic level is very desirable, since the shared knowledge on technical and design aspects of today’s video games are of crucial importance for today’s industry,” Frank Sliwka explains regarding the philosophy of the project.
For more information on GDC Europe visit: www.gdceurope.com.
Exclusive open beta launch for Mabinogi Europe plus exclusive events
NEXON Europe, the publisher behind popular online games MapleStory and Combat Arms, announces the launch of their latest release for a brand new MMORPG, Mabinogi.
Following its successful debut in North America, European players can now look forward to experiencing a brand new fantasy life for themselves. This free-to-play game based on Celtic and Welsh mythology embraces key MMO features and offers a robust, universe where people can experience all facets of fantasy life from fighting to farming. Along with content updates and exclusive events, this enchanting game lets you experience another world as you embark on your journey through a magical land.
After completion of the recent closed beta test, fans and newbies alike can now enjoy the latest storyline edition to the game. The Generation 2: Paladin update brings new episodes, quests and unique Paladin skills. By becoming a Paladin, players can boost their character attributes once a day for a certain time period. Hard-core Mabinogi fans and new players should keep an eye out for this content, as this is an update not to be missed!
To celebrate the open beta launch and content updates, Mabinogi Europe is also announcing a number of exciting in-game events, allowing players to immerse themselves in this new found land. Starting from today, users can look out for the Pet Adoption event, where exclusive virtual pets will be offered as rewards to players that complete a request from the NPC Duncan at Tirchonail. Following this an Attendance Reward event and screen shot contest will be launched and users can expect to receive prizes for their participation on both.
If that wasn’t enough to tempt you in then perhaps this is, as In February Mabinogi will also be setting the mood for love with a celebration of Valentine’s Day. Romance is definitely on the cards this month as players will be able to receive chocolates from NPCs and also share these with one another. As well as this heartfelt gesture, players will also be invited to join the Boss-mob video competition where users can get involved by uploading videos of their character in a bid to win a prize.
And finally, players can transfer their character without reset or wipeout right through the open beta and continuing through the official launch – coming soon.
Mabinogi just got busy, so come and try out the fun along with your European friends!
To find out more about the game and to take part in the events visit http://mabinogi.nexoneu.com
burda:ic and Sanrio Digital start unique, innovative online game in Europe
Following a very successful beta phase, the Munich-based games publisher burda:ic announced the European launch of Sanrio Digital’s Hello Kitty Online (www.hellokittyonline.eu), the highly anticipated, free, massively multiplayer online role playing game (free2play MMORPG). The launch of Hello Kitty Online is accompanied by a lavish marketing campaign to inform users across Europe that they can now immerse themselves in the fantastic and colourful world of Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters.
Hello Kitty Online launches in five languages: German, English, French, Italian, and Spanish, all available at www.hellokittyonline.eu. The game boasts several additions and improvements since the beta version. The new housing system allows players to build their own homes and customize them in hundreds of ways, and to visit the homes of other players. The upgraded pet system lets players raise multiple animal companions that add bonuses to owners and that develop according to the quality of care they receive. The farming system lets players manage their own private farm and grow crops to produce various items that can be sold or used as ingredients in the game’s sophisticated crafting system. In addition to Sanrio Harbour, Florapolis, and London, there are two new, immensely cute zones: Paris and Beijing will offer thrilling new quests and visually stunning Hello Kitty interpretations of these world cities.
As the official online game featuring Sanrio’s famous characters, including Hello Kitty, My Melody and Badtz-Maru, Hello Kitty Online is a one-of-a-kind, innovative, massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) where players interact with one another while adventuring in the dynamic and cute online world of Hello Kitty. As players explore Hello Kitty’s fantasy environment, they uncover a fascinating main story and meet hundreds of colourful virtual inhabitants. The game immerses players in the Hello Kitty universe with lovingly detailed graphics and a multitude of cute-themed activities, mini games, and discoveries.
Key features of Hello Kitty Online:
• The charming world of Sanrio, with Hello Kitty, Badtz-Maru, Little Twin Stars, Pochacco, and more than a hundred additional adorable Sanrio characters.
• Unique character customization with thousands of options, including hair, makeup, clothes, accessories, tools, and more.
• Exquisitely designed game zones
• A sophisticated farming system that lets players create gorgeous gardens and harvest various goods in order to generate income and raw materials
• A pet system that allows players to keep multiple pets and create new pet breeds.
• Sophisticated house construction system with countless decorating options
• Fully-featured crafting system
• Entertaining mini-games
• Focus on community and family-friendliness
• Fully integrated community tools including blogs, e-mail, and video sharing
To download and install the free game client, users simply need to register at www.hellokittyonline.eu. Existing players will keep their current characters from the Open Beta phase.
Just in time for the world-famous German Oktoberfest, MapleStory Europe, the hugely successful, free to play MMORPG from NEXON Europe invites players to its annual virtual beer festival with (alcohol-free) beer-drinking monsters in tow.
From September 16th to October 7th, MapleStory Europe will be holding its own version of Germany’s famous Oktoberfest as part of its continuing series of fun and entertaining promotions based on popular European cultural events. Following a packed summer event and massive update schedule, MapleStory Europe players can now look forward to an Oktoberfest to remember, with a giant beer tent literally bursting with over-indulged monsters.
Further updates include the addition of a brand-new map, the “Ariant” which sets scene to a sandy desert area in the Orient and is host of the “Ariant Coliseum Quest” where players can challenge each other in player vs. player mode with the mission to capture monsters “alive” for luring rewards and fun.
“Monster Drop Box Event?encourages players to open the boxes dropped by monsters with a special key purchasable from the Cash Shop to obtain rare and powerful items, and new cool items and special promotions in the Cash shop are also part of today’s update.
“Our exclusive event quests based on major European cultural events have become popular tradition of MapleStory Europe, and we know from the past that the “German Festival” in particular is very well received by our players,”says Sung Jin Kim, Director at NEXON Europe. “The addition of a brand new map just one month after our recent major update, the Knights of Cygnus, is only a part of our packed release schedule. There are still many more great contents lined up for the coming months that our players have been waiting for and can look forward to.
MapleStory originally launched in South Korea in April 2003 and quickly went on to become one of the most successful online games of all time, with over 92 million registered accounts across the world. MapleStory Europe launched in May 2007 and counts more than 1.2 million registered players, offering gamers in Europe the chance to play MapleStory in four different languages – English, German, Spanish and Dutch.
For further information on MapleStory Europe and to sign-up for the game, please visit http://maplestory.nexoneu.com.
Ndoors Begins Service for German Users
Ndoors Interactive announced that Atlantica Online, their premier free-to-play, strategic, turn-based MMORPG, will be published in Europe, in the German language, with a closed beta starting on September 3rd. Extensive efforts in localization and support have been underway for several months leading up to the German launch. Ndoors looks forward to entering the European landscape and has long-term plans to eventually provide service for additional languages.
In the past twelve months, Atlantica Online has successfully expanded from Korea into North America, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China. With the addition of Europe, Ndoors will soon be operating globally.
“Players around the world have embraced the accessibility and uniqueness of Atlantica Online,” said Peter Kang, CEO of Ndoors Interactive. “The gameplay has proven to be universally enjoyed and we look forward to tailoring additional releases and content for European players.”
Atlantica Online is a strategic turn-based MMORPG that combines innovative combat with character/party development and city/country management. Players take on the quest to destroy the Oriharukon, a powerful energy source from the lost civilization of Atlantis that survived and is now endangering humanity. This journey will take players around the globe to locations like the Great Wall of China and the pyramids of Egypt where they will come face-to-face with monsters ripped from history and lore, such as the ruthless Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu and Dracula.
For more information on Atlantica Online, please visit: www.playatlantica.com/ao.
NHN announced that its first release in Europe will be a new, graphically stunning free-to-play fantasy MMORPG called Karos Online.
Karos Online is being developed in Korea by Galaxy Gate, a studio founded by the lead developers of Last Chaos, a title released in 2004 which has since found success in Europe. Karos Online (http://www.karosgame.com) is scheduled for release this autumn.
NHN, which has launched several successful free-to-play titles in Asia through its Hangame portal, is offering this brand new game as its premier European title in order to give EU players the chance to feed in on the game’s development from the pre-launch stages. Karos Online is scheduled to release simultaneously in Europe and Korea and will be available to European players for closed beta testing, so that their feedback can be considered early to help tailor the game to European tastes and play styles. “Our goal with Karos Online is to provide a gaming experience that players across Europe will enjoy for a long time to come,” said Dongmin Lee, Head of Overseas Game Business Development at NHN. “Europe is a new market for NHN, and we are focusing our efforts there on offering this fresh title which we feel has a lot of potential. In addition to a great game, we know that European players expect a high standard of service, and we are committed to delivering that with Karos Online.”
In Karos Online, players take the role of a hero determined to defeat the curse of darkness falling over the world of Asmara, and ascend to ultimate glory by becoming the mythical Karos warrior. Through questing, guild clashes and mass PvP, they enter the fight for domination over the world’s vital energy source, Fletta. Fletta gems provide the basis for the game’s unique and complex alternate progression system; alongside traditional leveling within the game, Fletta energy can be used to increase stats, give buffs, buy resources and enchant items.
With a strong RPG component, wide range of class skills and fantastic visual combat effects, Karos Online offers a rich player experience and an exciting end-game for guilds, including castle sieges and resource control points. There are a variety of dynamic dungeons to explore, with shifting paths and surprises to challenge players as they progress in level. The economy is well-developed, with mining, fishing and crafting elements, and a consignment system for storage and an auction house.
Karos Online offers rare graphical quality for its small client size, and will be accessible to a vast range of computers with minimal requirements. Videos demonstrating graphics and gameplay are now available on the official website at www.karosgame.com, and more features will be revealed as the closed beta test, scheduled to start in mid-August, gets underway.
Karos Online is scheduled to launch in English this autumn, followed by German and Turkish versions. NHN confirms that additional languages are being considered.
A Whole New Dimension of Horror Comes to PC Fans
Capcom is pleased to announce that Resident Evil 5 for the PC will release on September 18th, 2009 across European territories. PC gamers will get the ultimate Resident Evil package in the new PC version as new features will include NVIDIA®’s new GeForce® 3D Vision technology (wireless 3D Vision glasses sold separately), new costumes and a new and improved mercenaries mode with three times as many enemies.
Fans that pick up the PC version will be the first to experience stereoscopic 3D out of screen effects as their living rooms are transformed into the world of Kijuju. Infected Majini coming at players from every angle, dust flying in and out of screen and the scariest bosses to date are taken up a notch. Resident Evil 5 PC is a whole new level of fear players will never forget. The game also supports Stereoscopic 3D in all of its cut scenes – an industry first.
These groundbreaking stereoscopic 3D effects were developed in close cooperation with NVIDIA, which resulted in the game being part of NVIDIA’s “The Way It’s Meant To Be Played” partnership program. Resident Evil fans can check out the 3D action for themselves today as a new stereo 3D tech demo with benchmark is available to download today on NVIDIA’s official site at –http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_re5_downloads.html.
To find out more info on NVIDIA’s GeForce 3D Vision technology, click on the link here, http://www.nvidia.com/3dvision/.
Be it in a guild or a clan, as a team or in a league – the majority of online gamers share their hobby with the like-minded and play with them too.
On the internet, millions of gamers link up as communities, ready to go into battle together or to build new civilisations. Large numbers of virtual friendships have already emerged from this. The GAMES CONVENTION ONLINE is the perfect opportunity to cultivate them in real life. From 31 July to 2 August, communities of all online and mobile games have the opportunity to meet up in Leipzig and to talk face to face about games, tactics and other vital matters.
“The online world lives on its gamer communities who meet on the internet and spend their leisure time together. With its positioning for online and mobile games, the GAMES CONVENTION ONLINE is ideal to find out on the one hand about the latest games and on the other, to reinforce friendships on the gamer scene”, says Silvana Kürschner, Strategy Director GC Global.
Two Pi Team Takes Over Community Management
The event has the support of the Two Pi Team, a company specialising in community management. They look after wide areas of communication with communities and other interested parties, including on the official forum (http://forums.wheel-of-games.com/forumdisplay.php?f=1071). The Two Pi Team will accompany the event with a series of radio programmes on the well-known internet radio “MMORPG Radio” from the Gothic Guild, and they are presenting the online event on the internet as well as organising the programme on the community stage, where they will also be the presenters at the event itself.
Gothic Guild Getting Ready for Leipzig
The first port of call for guilds and clans will be the community stage in Hall 3. Scheduled bands will give concerts round the clock here and the latest anime films will also be screened. In between, communities from all over Germany introduce themselves and their particular profile. Those already on the list include the Gothic Guild which, with around 2,000 members, is one of the leading German-speaking guilds in Europe.
“For online gamers, their contact with one another is very important, both online and in the classic way of real life. For the first time ever, we have a central port of call in the shape of the GAMES CONVENTION ONLINE. In Leipzig, we can organise a major guild meeting and get new members in the process”, explains Werner Matthiesen from the Gothic Guild’s board.
Meet & Play at the GAMES CONVENTION ONLINE
For relaxing chats together, gamers can use a range of community lounges. Of course, there are plenty of gaming competitions in Leipzig too. Several linked gaming zones will be set up in the public gaming area, inviting community teams to play against one another.
The right look is also easy to find. The community market will provide gamers with all the items they need for a successful appearance in the outfits of their avatars. The entire gamer wardrobe will be on offer, from medieval swords to a complete Ork costume. Fans of virtual worlds will also be able to stock up on a range of merchandising articles from their favourite games.
In Search of Online Communities
Parallel to an appearance at the fair, communities can also immortalise themselves with a brief self-description at www.gamesconvention.com and be a part of the online events set to accompany the GAMES CONVENTION ONLINE. The advantage here is that with just a few clicks, visitors to the show can find out in advance what the individual communities are all about and which ones best suit their own gaming habits. There is also an Online Forum for interchange between the communities.