A Note of Explanation
At the end of 2010, I wrote up a recap of the year’s MMO-related events for a particular site, as I’ve done for a few years. Given that it’s now almost May, I don’t think that site is going to use it, but I’m really loathe to throw out all the work. So: I’m recycling it here because 1) recycling will save the planet and 2) I’ve barely had time to write anything else.
For Those Who Came in Late
A recap of notable 2010 MMO events, using Massively.com as a convenient source of information. It has been split into two parts – January to June and July to December – to make it slightly easier to read.
Not covered: lots of things relating to Asian F2P titles; general puffery, hype and fluff around MMOs in general. If something important has been missed or incorrectly covered, I’ll fix the list based on comments made.
2010 kicked into life with the end of Dungeon Runners early in the morning of January 1. Also closed was Raph Koster’s Metaplace as a stand alone player-driven title.
- Near Death Studios also closes, leaving Meridian 59 operating but not as a commercial enterprise.
- BioWare says they are aiming for a spring 2011 release for Star Wars: The Old Republic.
- MAG on the PS3 launches. Not quite a MMO, but a significant push by a console title into high-number multiplayer combat.
- Phantasy Star Universe shuts its PC and PS2 servers, but leaves its Xbox 360 servers running because it is still profitable.
- Just three months after launch CitiesXL announces the closure of its multiplayer aspects due to low subscription rates.
- Both Global Agenda and Star Trek Online launch in early February.
- News that Champions Online’s first significant content update would cost money to access sees the sacrifice of a community manager. It is announced soon after that the content pack will come out for free.
- GoonSwarm’s CEO disbands the corporation in EvE Online. Not to matter though – they are Goons, they will return in another form.
- Myst Online: Uru Live relaunches after being dead for two years.
- Allods Online opens its cash shop just before launch with prices at levels that turn reactions from “a good F2P title” to “OMGWTF”.
- Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment files for bankruptcy and the it is the start of multiple legal proceedings that will last most of 2010.
- Heatwave Interactive resurrects the never-launched Gods & Heroes, originally by Perpetual Entertainment.
Alganon Online moves to a “subscription free” payment structure.
- There is no there, there – There.com closes.
- EA BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic is announced as “largest ever development project, period, in the history of the company.”
- Dave Allen ‘leaves’ Alganon and is replaced by cult icon Derek Smart.
- Derek Smart indicated he “fired” Dave Allen and friends for being insubordinate and announces Alganon as going F2P.
- FusionFall announces it is going fully F2P.
- Derek Smart continues his charm offensive.
- Cryptic formally announces that it isn’t developing Champions Online for the Xbox 360 any more, thus joining the ranks of cancelled console MMOs.
- Indie MMO Love launches.
- Free Realms celebrates its first birthday with 10 million subscribed (but probably not all paying) accounts.
- Lead designer of Fallen Earth, Lee Hammock, leaves that title to join Gazillion’s Marvel Universe Online team.
- Proving that such numbers are possibly meaningless, F2P Dungeon Fighter Online announced hitting the 197m registered player mark.
- Dave Allen fires back in response to Derek Smart’s earlier comments. Lawyers for both parties weep tears of joy.
- Turbine launches an Offer Wall for its Dungeons and Dragons Online players. Turns out the offers include potential privacy violations. Turbine quickly dumps the wall.
- F2P stalwart RuneScape announces a US$28m profit for the 2008/09 period, helping its indie owners to among the top 500 rich list in the UK.
- Major billing problems hit Mythic with some players incorrectly being charged multiple times in amounts that could add up to hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.
- Warner Bros. Home Entertainment buys Turbine Studios.
- Icarus Studios, developer behind the indie Fallen Earth MMO, announces large-scale restructuring and layoffs.
- Multiple resuscitation recipient Ryzom goes open source.
- Alganon promises to build up a “fourth pillar” – story for its players. Just like Star Wars: The Old Republic was going to do, using very similar wording. The PR agency for Quest Online / Alganon takes the bullet for this mistake.
- Square-Enix launches its F2P MMO Fantasy Earth Zero.
- Facebook gaming powerhouse Playdom buys MMO second-stringer Acclaim Games.
- Nexon buys out both NDOORS Interactive and GameHi in a sign of continued industry consolidation.
- Sony Online Entertainment announces that DC Universe Online will be launching in November.
- Turbine announces that AAA MMO Lord of the Rings Online is going to a F2P model.
- Linden Labs has another round of layoffs and closing the Singapore office. There is a change in CEOs as well.
- After two years in development, Mortal Online launches.
- Nexon’s Dungeon Fighter Online launches in Western markets. Well, US markets.
- CCP sees EvE Online reach a record of over 60 000 concurrent players.
- Brad McQuaid announces a return to the gaming industry – he’s starting a social / casual gaming company.
- Mythic takes back management of Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer Online off GOA in Europe, leading to a server transition for European players and job losses for GOA employees.
- SOE announces that EverQuest 2 will not be going towards a free-to-play model – “we will not be changing [the] subscription model”. Other SOE news sees F2P Free Realms reach the 12 million subscribed accounts mark.
- Realtime Worlds launches its MMOFPS All Points Bulletin. The market responds with a large round of indifference.
UPDATE 26 April 2011: Part 2 of the above article is up.