Part 1 is here, including a note about why April is the best time to review what happened about 16 months ago.
- Star Trek Online Executive Producer Craig Zinkievich leaves both the title and Cryptic Studios.
- Capcom’s Xbox Japan- and Xbox 360-only MMO Monster Hunter Frontier Online tops the sales charts in Japan.
- Activision Blizzard announces the Real ID system, which would tie up all Battle.net and World of Warcraft accounts under a player’s account (and usually real) name. Players react badly to the idea. Activision Blizzard blinks and works out a less revealing solution.
- SOE merges servers on the US side of Vanguard; the European servers were merged at a later date. In related news, SOE also lays off 35 people.
- Rhode Island attracts 38 Studios to relocate out of Massachusetts with a $75 million business development package. This deal is finalised in November despite some controversy.
- NCsoft announces that online mech shooter Exteel will close in September.
- SOE reveals EverQuest 2 is going with a F2P model starting in August. So, they changed the subscription model.
- NCsoft’s Aion sees server merges that seem to keep running into technical problems. Players object to finding their character names changed without warning after the merge.
- Richard Garriott wins US$28m in compensation from NCsoft due to company actions around his termination.
- Disney buys Playdom in a US$763m deal.
- F2P title developer Gameforge buys a majority stake in F2P publisher Frogster.
- F2P furry anthropomorphic animal MMO Earth Eternal comes pretty close to shutting down but finds a buyer at auction.
- Under its new Disney master, Playdom sees Acclaim basically shut down all of its titles and close its doors.
- Alganon goes F2P.
- Realtime Worlds undergoes extensive restructuring in order to “totally focus” on All Points Bulletin. This obviously isn’t enough – RTW enters administration shortly after.
- Bill Roper leaves Cryptic Studios to pursue his own path.
- Activision Blizzard wins US$88m in damages from an unauthorised World of Warcraft private server operator.
- Lord of The Rings Online goes F2P… except in Europe. Codemasters showed the same F2P conversion lag for Dungeons and Dragons Online as well.
- EvE Online sees an investment scheme turn into a scam and assets to the value of US$45 000 taken. EvE’s motto should be, “nothing is forbidden, everything is permitted”.
- SOE launches F2P browser title Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures. It has over 1 million registered accounts a week after launch.
- APB is officially closed – at 79 days from launch to closure it is the shortest lived AAA MMO on record.
- Square-Enix sees Final Fantasy XIV launch. How bad was this title at launch? It received abysmal reviews, it may have impacted on S-E’s stock price, a substantial number of the development staff are named, shamed and fired while FFXIV keeps offering players free play time extensions.
- Pirates of the Burning Sea goes F2P.
- Dave Allen and Quest Online settle with QOL buying out all of Allen’s company shares. Both Allen and Smart felt the need to go back and forth at least one last time before settlement.
- DC Universe Online is no longer launching in November; launch rescheduled to January 11, 2011.
- Going F2P apparently doubled Lord of the Rings Online revenues (at least for the launch period).
- Paragon Studios, developers behind City of Heroes / Villains, sees some layoffs (including long established staff).
- World of Warcraft reaches the 12 million players worldwide mark.
- EA Louse appears briefly to rant about what it ?might be? like to work on EA MMOs after being included in a round of layoffs. Most people focus on the brief dismissive comments of Star Wars: The Old Republic.
- Social game manufacturer Zynga is sued for sharing private information about players without their consent. Zynga says these claims are “without merit”.
- A Jumpgate: Evolution video appears on YouTube, with JG:E forum moderators indicating they are going to be vigourously chasing down the leaker since “the team is really small right now, the devs are going to know who shot that footage”. It turns out that the ‘leak’ was intentional and this ‘small team’ doesn’t communicate well internally.
- Gazillion launches its first MMO in Lego Universe – a title that appears to sink nearly without trace.
- Cryptic announces that Champions Online is going F2P in January 2011.
- EvE Online records its largest battle to date, with over 3000 players going at it simultaneously.
- Fallen Earth sees more layoffs – this time it is some of the more publicly recognised developers / staff.
- It’s the end of Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment – MGM Studios pulls the Stargate license from them and they are left a bankrupt studio with a single released game, Stargate: Resistance, that will close on January 15 2011.
- GamersFirst buy the rights for All Points Bulletin for around US$2.2m and plan to release the title as a F2P. Considering that Realtime Worlds spent the better part of US$100m on developing APB, that’s quite a discount.
- F2P title Warrior Epic is shut down by publisher ijji, just to show that even being F2P doesn’t guarantee success. F2P MMORTS Soul Master also closes, but promises to come back with revisions.
- Mecha MMO Perpetuum launches.
- Emergent announces it is putting its company assets up for sale due to bankruptcy; these assets include the Gamebryo engine which powers MMOs such as Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer Online. Gamebyro is picked up by Korean company Gamebase in December.
- Codemasters files suit against NetDevil and Gazillion that basically asks for the money they invested in the unreleased and currently mostly vapourware Jumpgate: Evolution back.
- SOE’s The Agency shifts from launching sometime in December 2010 to sometime late in 2011.
- Leaking of some Activision Blizzard documents indicates more World of Warcraft expansions and a new MMO, codenamed Titan. Titan is scheduled to launch in late 2013; all other MMO developers immediately book their holidays for this time.
- MapleStory manages to reach 136 000 concurrent players in North America.
- Activision Blizzard has a Merry Christmas with 3.3 million copies of the Cataclysm expansion selling in the first 24 hours of release. Forum trolls everywhere continue to predict that WoW is on its way out soon.
And next: a recap on my predictions for 2010 and what I expect to see in 2011. What’s left of it, anyway.