Massively multiplayer online game

Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius is ‘on the right path’ in mobile gaming

Though Square Enix is known for its console blockbusters such as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, it’s been making big push in mobile. This includes a Final Fantasy XV massively multiplayer online game for mobile or with developer MZ (Game of War, Mobile Strike) as well as Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius with A-lim and Gumi (Brave Frontier).

Since Brave Exvius’s launch in Japan, the game has been downloaded 20 million times. According to App Annie, Brave Exvius ranks No. 110 in the U.S. Apple App Store for adventure games and No. 32 in the U.S. Google Play Store for role-playing games. Brave Exvius hasn’t been a blow-out success like the recent Final Fantasy XV on console, which became the fastest-selling game in the series when it was released in November 2016 and was considered to be a return to top form.

“Brave Exvius is doing comparatively well, with just…

World of Warcraft in the streets, edtech MMO in the sheets

Above: Tyto Online allows you to customize your own apartment.

Presented by Intel

Immersed Games is an early-stage edtech (educational technology) startup unlike any other, the brainchild of a diehard MMORPG player and PhD candidate Lindsey Tropf, born in the wake of a World-of-Warcrafttriggered epiphany.

And suddenly Tropf found herself the founder and CEO of a game company.

The WoW moment

“I had been a pretty hardcore gamer myself, but not into game development at all,” Tropf says. “I was working on more an educator path, but I realized the immense power games have for learning while playing World of Warcraft one day.”

In the midst of a game session, she turned to her husband and asked where to find something, Tropf recalls. “When he rattled off the right character, in the right city, on the right continent of the game, it was then that I realized how much we had learned, simply through the act of play,” she says. “But while I knew so much, not much of it really mattered outside of the game world.”

She started studying that phenomenon as part of her PhD work, digging into learning theory specifically, increasingly realizing that an online game could provide the perfect model for an ultra-effective learning platform—and that this power had not yet been harnessed.

“I discovered some pretty major limitations, in my view, with the educational game market,” Tropf says. “I found that most educational games were pretty shallow. It was kind of ‘answer a math problem and you get to shoot a zombie,’ but it didn’t pull on the problem-solving that games are really amazing at.”

And she found that the few good educational games available on the shelves weren’t taking advantage of the full power of the medium. They didn’t have the depth, and breadth, and potential that Tropf knew could be tapped into to keep a kid fully immersed and learning.

And so Tyto Online was born.

“I got super excited about the possibilities and started a game company,” says Tropf. “Instead of solving problems around the lore and content I had been learning in MMOs, I wanted to do it around science and other topics,” says Tropf. What Tropf developed was a futuristic MMORPG that taps into the uniquely immersive narrative experience that all MMORPGs offer, which famously keep their players always coming back for more.

Tyto Online

Above: Tyto Online is designed to provide insight and education that students will take with them outside the game environment.

In Tyto Online, you play as a Tyto Academy student in the year 2084. The earth has been devastated, and humanity has been relocated to Ovo, a jungle planet four years’ space travel from home. As one of the best and the brightest young minds of your generation, you’ve been recruited to help the world’s foremost scientists colonize Ovo, as well as to discover the key to restoring the Earth to a habitable state. No pressure.

The game is currently in early access, with the first module—ecology—in place.

“We have sets of quests that students do, but instead of being wrapped around general problem-solving, they’re more specifically focused on ecology-oriented problem-solving, creating food webs [the natural interconnection of food chains], fixing invasive species problems, and things like that,” Tropf says. “And as players do that, they’re leveling up in ecology, and they’re unlocking more ecology skills, and they actually get to create their own ecosystem.”

The ecosystem sandbox functions in the same way that raids do in traditional MMOs, offering infinitely replayable content. And Tropf plans to continue expanding the…

Plarium brings Skynet upon us with Terminator Genisys mobile game

Skynet is upon us. Are you for it or against it?

The artificial intelligence network that takes over the world in The Terminator films has now arrived on our mobile phones in the form of Terminator Genisys: Future War, a new mobile game for iOS and Android.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based Plarium is launching the clan-based massively multiplayer online (MMO) strategy game, which pits man against machine in a global battle for the fate of humanity.

Plarium has expanded the narrative that follows the conclusion of the Terminator Genisys Skydance film, where the remnants of the human Resistance are locked in a civil war over the few resources and weapons remaining.

Players start the game on a war-torn battlefield littered with Resistance holdouts and hostile Skynet facilities, just as the machines arise once again to ignite a new chapter in the Future War. In a first for any Terminator game, players will…

How to Make Real Money Playing Video Games

It’s every little kid’s dream: getting someone to pay you to play the games you already enjoy. And like most dreams, the reality is somewhat underwhelming. A career as a game tester boils down to being an elaborate quality control worker. But there are other ways you can make extra money by gaming at home. Here are a few.

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Trade In-Game Items for Cash

In just about any multiplayer online game, the best gear and weaponry is also the hardest to obtain. And while you might have the kind of disposable time it takes to sink 200 hours into dungeon crawling, raiding, or randomized loot drops, not everyone does. That’s why some of the rarest items in games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive sell for real money on third-party marketplaces. (They’re sold in-game for Steam Wallet credit, too, but those funds can’t be exchanged for real-world cash.)

CS:GO weapon skins can sell for hundreds—sometimes thousands—of real dollars.

skins are probably the most lucrative item market in the world at the moment, at lest among games that explicitly allow and enable their in-game loot to be sold outside the game interface. DOTA 2, another game that relies on Steam’s item trading system, has a similar economy. Players can link their digital inventories with an online sale site like Loot Market, post a price for their item just like it was a real object, and get paid in real-world credit via PayPal, Bitcoin, Steam Wallet credit, or even real bank transfers. Everquest 2, a long-running MMO, allows buying and selling of in-game items for real money in select areas only, with a cut of each transaction going to the developer.

It’s important to note that while selling your Steam items through one of these third-party markets is permissible, it’s rather easy to get scammed, since Valve takes no responsibility at all for transactions that happen outside of its system. Most other online games explicitly ban any kind of trading for real-world money (though of course it happens on the sly more or less all the time—see below). The few mainstream games that have tried to have an easy in-and-out relationship with real money have had serious issues with their economies, like Diablo III’s now-shuttered Auction House. For this reason, it’s unwise to invest too much time and effort into a high-value item with an intent to sell, when an unscrupulous vendor or player could leave you high and dry. Do your research before trying to sell player-to-player or on a third-party market.

Trade In-Game Money for Real Money

Other games allow you to cut out the middleman and exchange the in-game currency directly for real money. Most MMOs and free-to-play games have some mechanism for exchanging real currency for digital coins or credit, but in the perennial life simulator Second Life, players can turn the “Linden Dollars” they’ve earned in-game back into real money via bank transfer or PayPal (at an exchange rate of more than 200 to one, if you’re wondering).

Entropia Universe, a space-themed MMO, allows players to buy in-game items for real money with an exchange rate of $1USD to 10PED. That currency can be transferred back out with a stable exchange rate at any time. The developer is so protective of its “Real Cash Economy” that some players use physical One Time PIN systems to log in.

Other, smaller games have attempted to create Real Cash Economy systems, with varying degrees of success—many quickly folded or never got out of development. It’s an interesting aspect of the evolving…

Improbable draws $502 million from SoftBank and others for dream of giant online game worlds

How’s this for improbable?

Online gaming world enabler Improbable has raised $502 million in a second round of investors, including SoftBank. Improbable has created an operating system, SpatialOS, that marshals the power of cloud computing and distributed platforms to enable even small studios to develop games with giant worlds.

The London-based company showed off a few of those games at the recent Game Developers Conference (GDC).

Above: Bossa Studios’ Worlds Adrift

Image Credit: Bossa Studios

CEO Herman Narula told me in an interview at the time that the company has launched its open beta for SpatialOS.

Developers working on SpatialOS-based games include Worlds Adrift, the upcoming game from Bossa Studios; Chronicles of Elyria by Soulbound Studios, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game built with the Unreal engine; Seed by Klang, a game of planetary settlement set in a shared, persistent world, created by a team including former senior CCP (Eve Online) employees; Lazarus by Spilt Milk Studios, a multiplayer top-down 2D shooter set in a huge galaxy populated by artificially intelligent alien factions locked in a war for territory; and Vanishing Stars: Colony Wars by Ninpo Game Studio, a new type of massively multiplayer real-time strategy game, played across thousands of star systems, each with their own planets to battle on.

Deep Nishar of SoftBank has joined the Improbable board following this investment, which sees SoftBank taking a non-controlling stake in the company. Earlier investors Andreessen Horowitz, Horizons Ventures and Temasek Holdings also participated. Improbable had received $20 million in a first round of funding from Andreessen Horowitz in March 2015.

Solina Chau, founder of Horizons Ventures, said in a statement,…