Aside Its a shame that BHG & 38 Studio shutdown

Aside

My morning rss reader (via RockPaperShotgun) indicated that 38 Studios and BigHugeGames have sent all their staff home. The idea of a company wide layoff is disturbing. Many years ago I worked for a company which was close to being shut down, but we survived and it was eventually sold and almost everyone was happy. For those six months when we knew issues were present the office was chilling, and every day functioned under a dark cloud.

The staff in these two companies had it worse, as they probably didn’t have as much time to either adjust or expect the outcome, and they belong to a segment of software development which is highly specialised and passionate. Getting a new role which is as exciting again will be difficult, and they might be jaded by the experience.

Oddly Copernicus has some new screenshots shared by Curt recently and it looks good – which makes the situation sadder. Basically I hope R.P.S. info is wrong, and/or 38s rises in a new form to continue their games. A cartoon-ish art style is better imho for an MMO, and the screenies look palatable. Perhaps some of the IP will be picked up. Wishing them good luck.

Aside about Subscribers

Aside

So Diablo 3 has 6.3 million subscribers, where two weeks ago there were just Beta testers. WoW continues to add new subscribers, but I cannot believe that the overall numbers are not dropping significantly as time passes. Wow might get a boost when Mists of Cuddle Bear is released, but overall I’d expect WoW’s stable population to reduce slowly in the next few years down to around 6 million. Certainly most of the WoW’ers I know are now playing D3, and look at other games very seriously. As well they should as WoW is great, but many other games need a look too.

We also know that KoA from 38 Studios is not doing brilliantly, but still has some dedicated fans; frankly I hope they survive and prosper as Curt Shilling seems a reasonable chap and he is following a dream. Star Wars ToR is dropping subscribers, and has an even more passionate user base within the subscribers than many other games.They might find a solid base is plenty to retain as viable as well.

Its a poor time to gamble on MMO subscribers, unless you’re the bookie. What is the future? Well imho the future of subscriber games is a very wide range of games which players switch between. The Warcraft golden days where everyone played wow are over, and I doubt they will ever return.

Who can’t love many games with many options? I certainly can.

D3 cleans-up with 6.3m players

I’m impressed, D3 has sold 6.3 million copies in approx 1 week. Fark.

RockPaperShotGun reports – Blizzard send word that Diablo III sold 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours on sale.

The upshot of that was 4.7 million people had the game on day one, and after a week that as grown to 6.3 million.

Launching for 4 million concurrent passionate players is difficult at the best of times andt here was a lot of people angry and ranting about how poor D3′s launch was. To my experience I installed and then was straight in and playing. I don’t play in huge blocks of time, and being an Australian I play at odd times – but I still think they did a darn good job. Even 200,000 people being upset out of 3-4 million is a significant but small proportion.

I’m not even close to completed as yet, and really enjoying it. It is better than the beta now, as the story can unfold without restriction.

Fire from the sky has ended

To postpone the hungry cadre of gamers trying to install Diablo 3, the system declared that the fire from the sky had not ended. We waited. None patiently.

Now the great zerg to play D3 has begun. A few updates and patches, some apologies for errors, and a lot of persistence has players now enjoying the game. My take – well I’ve created a toon and entered the world, but I’ll only be commenting on major stuff in the first ten levels which is different from the beta, or where something is darn odd. I’m pleased to say that it is exactly as expected so far. It’s entertaining.

The class intro media were very good too, which was new to be from beta. It does feel forced to have such a strange mix of heroes from all over the world converging, and that was always going to feel a bit forced. At least we didn’t meet at an inn, with a fight breaking out like a D&D game. Well, ahem, perhaps that bit is in the starter story too.

A few thoughts from around the web worth reading too, Tobold has an observation about D3′s pricing, and Keen and Graev have 5 Things We Like and Dislike about Diablo 3.

Happy killing.

Excellent D3 Prequel Cartoon

D3 is only a week away, and Blizzard has released a darn good 6 minute cartoon which tells the pre-story to Diablo. More games should be released with this style and flavour of side-material. It shows (at least to me) that Blizzard understand the audience who arekeen to play Diablo 3, and that they are really aiming to create something worthy of the lore we have grown to love.

We have also had the “End of Days” tv spot / promo for the game too, which is also very good, but not a cartoon akin to the one above. The animation in End of days is more realistic than the prequel, but it only shows a smattering of the video we know is included. It’s a good hash of the full video.

I really looking forward to D3.