As a citizen of Coobico you can build your own home and your neighbourhood and
even establish completely new cities. Explore around town to uncover rare items and
the secrets of Dr. Qubus' ancient ruins, or just hang out and chat with your buddies. Coobico runs in your browser, no retail box to purchase and no cumbersome client software to download and install.
Fresh hands-on about the progress of Coobico's development will be posted here, so make sure to drop by and keep yourself informed where the project is headed.
Interested? Read more about the project and its developer's news, about our concept-art and videos. You can also have a look at some screenshots of Coobico. Or learn more about Linking People, the people behind Coobico.
Interesting recaps on WoWs history in China have been posted at two (totally games-unrelated) blogs, written by China-based international lawyer Dan Harris and Dan Maas, head of special effects company, Maas Digital:
“Blizzard had successfully brought WoW into the Chinese market in 2005 through a license agreement with local game developer The9. The relationship turned sour last summer when negotiations to renew the license bogged down in a dispute over division of profits. Blizzard ultimately decided to terminate The9’s license and shift WoW’s China operations to another local company, NetEase. (The9 responded acrimoniously, filing suit against Blizzard and announcing development of its own sword-and-sorcery game called “World of Fight”). WoW was knocked off-line for over three months during the transition, leaving a gigantic vacuum in the market which competitors rushed to fill. Kingsoft, Shanda, and other gaming companies stepped up promotional efforts to lure former WoW players to their own games…“
The punch-line here seems to be that western companies like Blizzard are struggling with an unclear regulatory atmosphere and sharing of revenues, while local developers are thriving on better cultural understanding and other practical advantages (like smoother payment systems, looser regulatory oversight, etc.)
Gamesindustry.com has issued another report on MMOs under their Today’s Gamers label. The “Spending & Payment”-report claims that the size of the U.S. MMO-market has reached 46 million players. According to the report, U.S. gamers spent an estimated US$3.8 billion on MMOs during 2009—whereas all large European countries only achieve a combined spending of US$ 800 - 900 million. The survey indicates that the ratio of subscription-based revenue compared to free-2-play-based games is roughly 50:50; that seems to be a phenomenal growth for the free-2-play revenue-model, which can still be considered to be in its infancy in western markets.
The numbers are hard to judge—46 million players seems to be a pretty high value. Nonetheless it is good to see that the international MMO-markets seemingly still grow. Today’s Gamers report notes that further growth might come from countries such as Italy, Spain, Russia, Turkey, Poland and Sweden.
Via Worlds in Motion
Another large, well-renowned virtual world is shuttered next week: There.com, a virtual platform co-developed by Forterra Systems and the U.S. army, and later acquired by Makena Technologies. There attracted large business-partners like Coca-Cola, CosmoGirl, Bebe, K-SWISS, and SPIN.
As CEO Mike Wilson announced, Make will continue with “some exciting educational projects in process, which [it] will continue to service. The entertainment-driven, branded space, though, will close.“ Wilson gives the bad general economical situation as reason for the closure of There.com:
“While our membership numbers and the number of people in the world have continued to grow, there has been a marked decrease in revenue, which, in these economic times, is no surprise… Before the recession hit, we were incredibly confident and all indicators were ‘directionally correct’ and we had every reason to believe growth would continue. But, as many of you know personally, the downturn has been prolonged and severe, and ultimately pervasive.“
According to Alexa (taken with a large grain of salt), There’s traffic spiked during early 2008 and then gradually fell back to a meager daily reach within 2009 and early 2010.
With the closure of large virtual worlds like There and Metaplace and several MMOs changing their revenue-model to free-to-play, the field of online worlds appears to be volatile at the moment.