Unlike the major gaming website, I can only touch on a few things which come into my mind as I type since I am pretty busy with some other work stuff. Just to recap things a little bit, MMO Culture is still a 1-man army with me handling everything from news to editing of images, videos and interviews. I will like to apologize for my horrid/ torrid grammatical mistakes over the year, as there are really just 24 hours each day and not enough for me to really go through what I typed (poor excuse, I know). Still, let us head on to the main topic, a recap of 2013 for online gaming.
It is hard not to notice the rise of crowd-funded online games, with Star Citizen the shiniest of them all. Not all campaigns will be successful, and there must be a very strong single selling point, be it a recognized industry veteran on the team or a really innovative idea. Either way, media assets MUST be ready in the form of artwork or trailer to really showcase the product. I have received requests to posts articles for indie games with just words, which I find a total waste of time for both me and the team. I continued to monitor these games, and none ever saw the light.
Another trend which the whole industry is talking about, is of course the mobile gaming boom. Yes, mobile games are here to stay, whether you like it or not. While I have total confidence in mobile games from Japan, Korea and the western countries, the developers in China are still doing the same old thing – porting a whole MMO over to mobile, with minimal optimization done. Yes, it does work in China where the users gobble up almost everything, but certainly not so in the overseas market.
A new trend will soon strengthen in 2014, which has already started earlier this year. Developers have been trying to get pass the need to upload apps onto Google Play and iTunes, and they are now working on browser games which will operate on mobile devices. Thing of a cross-platform technology thing between browsers and mobile devices. 2013 was just the start, I can’t wait to see how Apple and Google responds once this method of gaming becomes mainstream.
As an English gamer, you would have noticed the lack of new Asian client games being brought to the English market in 2013, with Nexon claiming along the lines of “North America-developed titles work better in North America” after shutting down Dungeon Fighter Online. I definitely disagree with this crap Nexon mentioned, it is just that the management over there have no clue what else or who to blame when revenue falls. Asian client games still work in the English market by choosing the right developer, right game and the right operations team.
Over the years, I have worked in a couple of Asia-based online games publisher. I have met a non-gamer boss who sign games for Country X because it is popular in Country Y. And he thinks he is correct as he is successful doing that in his own Country Z. Could you imagine the frustration I get when presenting the board with my research presentations and urge them to adopt a “country by country” policy instead of “all fits one”? Well, eventually the office in Country X closed down after I left, and the company is still struggling to break into overseas markets with everything being worked on from Country Z.
I will also like to dedicate a portion of this long article to the folks who really helped me this year, and some even before that.
1. My ninjas located in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe, Korea and somewhere above us, thank you for all your information! I couldn’t have gotten some exclusives with you folks!
2. Thanks to the following developers who did not mind MMO Culture being a small website and readily answered my calls: Pearl Abyss (Black Desert), Blueside (Kingdom Under Fire II)
3. Thanks to the following publishers as well who really went the extra mile: Aeria Games, Asiasoft, MMOG.asia, Cubinet
4. And of course, everyone who sent in emails, personal Facebook messages and more with news and suggestions. Thanks!
MMO Culture started in 2009 as a small blog, and after 5 years it is still a small website/ blog despite the massive increment in viewer-ship. Personally, I position this news centre as a “boutique” website, rather than having all the fireworks and big events the bigwigs have. I still have a 9 to 5 day job plus another freelance writing gig, even I amaze myself sometimes. 2014 is upon us, and hopefully it will be another successful year for MMO Culture. Thank you all who have been with me and the website since the beginning, halfway through or just happen to visit for the first time. Cheers!