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1000 per cent increase in concurrent users for DCU Online

Tue 08 Nov 2011 10:18am GMT / 5:18am EST / 2:18am PST
Online

SOE's John Smedley takes to Twitter to report huge growth since f2p switch

Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley has reported huge growth for DC Universe Online since its move to free-to-play.

Smedley announced the increase in concurrent users via his Twitter feed, saying "We are over 1000% of our pre-F2P concurrent numbers."

He also acknowledged a series of technical problems - "long queues and other issues" - brought about by the surge in demand.

"We apologise for the login queues. We're working on adding more hardware and working on our servers so we don't have them."

DC Universe Online transitioned to a free-to-play business model at the end of October, adding 120,000 new players within a week.

In an exclusive column for GamesIndustry.biz, Smedley stated that DC Universe Online should have been a free-to-play game from its inception. He also predicted that BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic would be the last "large scale MMO" to use a subscription model.

13 Comments

And I remember not that long ago, that MMO's and the subscription model was hailed as the saviour of the games industry. How things change...

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
I downloaded this on my PS3 and was surprised to see it was just a 140 MB download. But then, when I went into the game and it started to download a 14,000 MB update which I couldn't run in the background, I decided not to bother. Shame really, as I'd like to at least try it out.

Posted:2 years ago

#2
Call me cynical, but the reality is increased numbers dont mean an increased success or monetization. Just look at Lego universe :)

Its just a good opportunity to spin spin spin

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
That sounds like logic, not cynicism.

No doubt they'll release a statement soon saying how revenues from DCUO have increased by 300% or suchlike, but without actual figures to give context it's all a little pointless.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Sam Maxted
Journalist / Community / Support

155 65 0.4
"Call me cynical, but the reality is increased numbers dont mean an increased success or monetization"

Particularly if what I've heard from friends is true - I keep hearing about connection issues to the point where they're dismissing the game as a waste of time.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

David Radd
Senior Editor

359 78 0.2
Lego Universe never had a good monetization plan - it was either playing for free, or paying a monthly subscription. DCUO has a much more robust F2P offering - whether that turns out to be a success remains to be seen, but I like their chances.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Spencer Franklin
Concept Artist

93 124 1.3
I wouldn't call what they are offering "robust", it's pretty much you pay or a limited "free" version with micro-transactions. Sadly, the game suffers from so many issues, issues that have persisted since launch, that I don't see this really doing much to increase anything other than the headaches from the f2p crowd. What I am most curious to see, is how well their "mega" servers hold up, as I don't believe they were put in place to deal with this kind of player load.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Daniel Roy
Studying Bachelor of Games and Interactive Entertainment

4 0 0.0
Well you have to remember, they had to change up the entire game to suit their F2P model, and that it only just went F2P about 2 days ago. There are going to be technical problems, especially with such a large amount of people jumping on board. And I know there are quite a few people, go look at 4Chan's Video Games section, they are constantly having DCUO generals now, compared to no one barely talking about the game now. And also look at Reddit's r/gaming, heap of people talking about DCUO there now. Free things attract people, it's the new age of MMO's.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,156 1,076 0.5
For me, no offline story mode means the game is dead in the water, popularity aside. Waiting to play a damn game online when you SHOULD be able to level up offline and join the queue with a nicely powered hero is crazy. Anyone with me here? For all the so-called "greatness" of many MMO's they're pretty damn inconvenient if you think about it long enough.

Hell, once interest wanes any MMO is toast in general on the trash heap of disposable game history. If PSN ever gets hit hard again by an attack or long service outage, there goes the digital neighborhood. Of course, between the numbers and happy happy talk given about most popular MMO's, you'd be hard pressed to get actual facts about some of the issues most of these games are facing at the end of the day...

Posted:2 years ago

#9
why cant some smart folk develop games that play well offline (sandbox) with online capabilities...

Posted:2 years ago

#10

James Podesta
Lead Programmer

16 1 0.1
it is nigh impossible to prevent character hacking in offline levelling.
I think people tend to buy into that MMOs will be online only.

It didn't bother me at all that WoW was online only, though I'm pretty pissed that Diablo III is.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,156 1,076 0.5
James, not everyone who wants offline in a MMO experience is a hacker. We just want to play some of these otherwise cool games and not have to deal with being "social", micro-transactions and other nonsense that doesn't make a "better" game experience.

The day is coming when gamers start trending back into more localized play experiences thanks to the overkill of too much connectivity. Granted, I'm already seeing developers and publishers fighting too hard to keep all that social money flowing endlessly, but I'm also seeing people start to get tired of keeping up with every new ting thanks to all of that costing too much in a crappy economy.

Hell, I can't buy the argument that no one has come up with a means to make sure any hacked characters simply aren't allowed to access a game's online mode. Even something as dopey as what Konami put into their action game Project Overkill on the PS1 - if you used a cheat code, the words CHEATER would flash on the screen as long as you played.

Granted, I'd just automatically ban hacked characters outright from an online game (there's no excuse for them, period), but am I being too hard on a developer by calling them lazy for not figuring out a solution yet? Given the fact that any MMO is dead meat once paying customers stop paying, it feels like a big waste of resources for nothing but more work and diminishing returns at the end of the day.

Posted:2 years ago

#12
Adding onto that, lets look at Games that were perfect without online connectivity (and had a certain level of toughness instead of the current interactive movies/casual play where the level of difficulty is as effortless as tying a pair of shoelaces)

Diablo (alone or with a buddy over lan), it was perfect acoustically (better than D2) and with the randomized dungeon, it made for great entertainment, esp with the challenges of reclaiming your corpse.

Civilization series (on your own or against human foes, it is generally perfect - until you play the watered down version on XBOX/Consoles/etc)

Perhaps, its a case that games may not have sufficient depth beyond its superficial focus grouped requirements as such, the current generation of developers ignore the joys of perseverance (vs grind) of a well thought out game

Posted:2 years ago

#13

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