Free MMORPG & Free MMOs

OutSpark – The MMO Publisher is being Bought

Posted on: September 3, 2010

Well, It looks like it’s official OutSpark will be bought out by another company. Well, the deal hasn’t been inked yet, but they did confirm they were in late-stage talks with their suitor. Yeah, I’m talking about the same OutSpark who’s best known for publishing Fiesta Online – an anime inspired 3D MMORPG and Secret of the Solstice – a Ragnarok Online like game. Of course they publish other games too – like the upcoming Erebus Travia Reborn and Divine Souls – but I wanted to focus on their two most popular games which are Fiesta and Secret of the Solstice. Word on the street is that Shanda Games – a large Chinese MMORPG developer and publisher will be acquiring them.

Why is this company buying OutSpark? To expand into the free to play market most likely. OutSpark is a pretty big publisher too. Aside from the games they currently have on the market – they’re releasing Luvinia Online and Divine Souls soon. Plus, they announced that they would release many more games in the near future. The fact that they’re being bought out is a big vote of confidence for free to play games in North America. These games have always been popular in Asia, but the concept of free to play with micro-transactions is still fairly new to the West. In fact, these games are so big in Asia, that there really aren’t any pay to play games in Asia, aside from a few really high quality games. One game in South Korea – Kart Rider from Nexon is so popular that nearly a third of South Korea’s entire population has played the racing game at least once. It’s much more popular than more realistic racing games like Need for Speed World or Ray City from Electronic Arts. So for those that say Graphics do matter, Why is Kart Rider – a much worse looking game than Need for Speed so successful?

Aside from OutSpark being bought, EverQuest II re-launching as a free to play game has also been a big vote of confidence for the industry. The Lord of the Rings Online from Turbine is also set to go free to play on September 10. Remember when Turbine launched Dungeons and Dragons Online as a free to play game? I remember their CEO saying something like their revenues have increased over 500% since going free to play. I really hope that they have success with The Lord of the Rings Online, as if it does well – it would pave the way for Lineage 2 and Warhammer Online to go free to play. Regardless of its success, I actually thing Lineage 2 will go free to play. Even Warhammer Online will go free to play in the not so distance future. That’s a story for another day though.

I think Electronic Arts will soon be focusing more on free to play games. Their Lord of Ultima browser MMO and Battlefield Heroes MMOFPS have done quite well so far. I Can’t say the same for FIFA Online or Battleforge, as they both have very few players. I think the blame there lies in EA though for not properly marketing these games. I bet if more people played them, they would be hooked.

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