It has been a busy year for the online gaming industry! We had some good things happen and some not so good things right beside them. The good news was great and the bad news was amazingly bad. So as we come to the end of the year, it’s time to reflect on the year that has been. It’s time to take a look at the biggest MMO news stories of 2017.
Ashes of Creation has Largest Kickstarter for an MMORPG Ever
It may feel like forever ago but in June, Ashes of Creation saw massive Kickstarter success, becoming the largest Kickstarter for an MMORPG ever. They raised $3.2 million from more than 19,000 backers. But it wasn’t without controversy. Ashes of Creation offered a referral program to backers, something which violated Kickstarter’s rules. After a bit of back and forth between Intrepid Studios and Kickstarter, it was declared just a misunderstanding and Ashes of Creation has gone on to have an incredibly vocal and successful year.
Mobile Game Boom
We’ve been seeing mobile gaming becoming more and more popular every year, but 2017 saw an absolute boom for the industry. In a report from Superdata in August, revenue from mobile gaming was expected to increase by $6.7 billion this year. In comparison, PC and console combined were expected to increase by only $1 billion. If you look back at the news over the last year, you can see the growth in action. You’ve got titles like TERA M and BDO M, mobile ports of popular MMORPGs and not the only ones either. In September it became apparent that Blizzard is getting in on the mobile scene as well with the discovery of a job posting for a mobile MMORTS. Next year looks like it will be even bigger for mobile gaming with just about every major studio at G-Star having at least one mobile game to show off. Superdata estimates a growth in the mobile gaming industry of $8.1 billion next year.
Secret World Legends Rebrand Success
In March the online gaming community was stunned to learn that Funcom would be rebranding and relaunching The Secret World. Those who follow the financial reports for Funcom would have known it was coming as the relaunch was outlined in the Q4 report at the end of February. It wasn’t until the end of March, however, that we knew exactly how big it was going to be. Complete with changes to combat and much more, The Secret World became Secret World Legends and officially launched in June. In August, it was revealed that there will be a Secret World television show, being worked on by Johnny Depp’s publishing company. Funcom’s Q3 report showed the most profitable YTD 3Q in the company’s history. So, it’s safe to say that Secret World Legends has been a smashing success. We couldn’t be happier for them.
Final Fantasy XIV Trial Expands
There were some big changes to the Final Fantasy XIV trial period this year. Previously they had offered 14 days of game time for free, something that used to be quite common in the industry before F2P became the norm. But many games change up that model as time goes on, and that’s exactly what FFXIV did this year. Now players can trial the game until they reach level 35 without any restriction on how long it may take. Was it a success? Well, in August’s quarterly report it was clear that FFXIV saw an all-new high in player numbers with 10 million cumulative players. Did the new trial have a part to play in this growth, though? Or was it all down to the release of Stormblood? The world may never know.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ Runaway Success
It isn’t often that we see a game have massive success before it has even launched, but that is certainly what happened with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds this year. 20 million copies of the game have been sold and it has set seven Guinness World Records! The game has also spent much of the year in the top 10 grossing PC titles, passing heavyweight World of Warcraft in the charts back in August. The most recent report from SuperData puts it at the second highest grossing PC title.
Ascent: Infinite Realm Brings Hope to the Future of MMORPGs
Project W, or as it’s now known, Ascent: Infinite Realm managed to bring a dash of hope to those looking for the next AAA MMORPG experience. As so many studios move away from the genre, Bluehole and Kakao show they’re as dedicated as ever with an all-new title. Ascent: Infinite Realm was officially revealed during G-Star 2017 as a steampunk fantasy MMORPG. It is expected to begin beta testing sometime in the first half of 2018 for English players. In Korea, the testing is already underway.
EVE Online Players Destroy Ship worth $6,000
Back in May a group of EVE players successfully brought down a Vanquisher Titan worth over 400 billion ISK, that’s $6,000USD. The event is just one in a long tradition of EVE players tackling amazing feats and winning. This year CCP also celebrated their 20th anniversary as a company and EVE Online reached its 14th anniversary! It’s wonderful to see that even after all this time, EVE can still wow us.
Marvel Heroes’ Rocky Send-Off
Sadly, not all news can be good news and some of this year’s biggest stories weren’t good news at all. Perhaps one of the biggest and strangest was the oddity behind the shutdown of Marvel Heroes and their creator Gazillion Entertainment. It all started in October when Gazillion missed launching their Halloween event and did nothing for the release of Thor: Ragnarok. They were also completely silent on social media for weeks. By mid-November, Disney announced that Marvel Heroes was being shut down and that their business partnership with Gazillion was dead. While it had originally been announced that Marvel Heroes would sunset after a period of time, which is traditionally the case, it became clear that it would be much sooner than expected. A credible tip from a former Gazillion employee revealed on Wednesday, November 22nd that the game would shut down on Friday, November 24th. The game actually stayed online over the weekend and was turned off on Monday, November 27th. Gazillion employees found out that they were out of a job just before Thanksgiving and the studio quickly shut down. It may be one of the messiest and ugliest game sunsets there has ever been.
Vanilla World of Warcraft Coming at Last
For years, a certain subsection of World of Warcraft players have been itching for an official vanilla WoW server and now they’re going to get it. The Warcraft Classic server was just one of the amazing announcements made during Blizzcon this year. The announcement itself was incredibly light on details which unlocked the floodgates on questions. Since the announcement, we’ve not heard anything else about it and we don’t expect to for some time.
Everyone’s Talking Lockboxes
2017 will be known as the year that the stand against lockboxes and a lot of the blame goes to America’s least favorite company, EA. If this is the first time you’re hearing about this, hello, and congratulations on coming out of your coma. It’s a story that has had government officials chiming in and resulted in the most downvoted Reddit comment ever. Because of the fiasco around Star Wars Battlefront II, EA lost $3 Billion in stock value. The saga doesn’t seem to be over yet either, EA seems determined to go ahead with their plan, City of Titans has vowed not to use lockboxes, and there are of course the various governments who are trying to get something done. In the meantime, every time a game does something that includes a lockbox there is a little bit of controversy. No one can know for sure what will happen next year, but we do know that this topic won’t go away quietly.Related: Ascent: Infinite Realm, Ashes of Creation, EA, EVE Online, Final Fantasy XIV, Kickstarter, Listed, Loot Boxes, Marvel Heroes, MMORPG, Mobile, News, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Project W, Secret World Legends, Shut Down, Star Wars Battlefront 2, World of Warcraft, WoW Vanilla