champions-online posts

Cryptic Studios co-founder Jack Emmert becomes its new CEO

cryptic-studiosJack Emmert, perhaps the most well known of the faces behind Cryptic Studios, is now the game developer's new CEO. It's parent company Atari announced today that Emmert would take over the position of CEO following the departure of John Needham who is leaving "to pursue other opportunities within the games industry." Emmert was previously Cryptic's Chief Operating Officer

Emmert co-founded Cryptic and helped to design its first game, the MMO City of Heroes which was later purchased by its publisher NCsoft. Atari purchased Cryptic in 2008 and launched two more MMOs for the publisher; Champions Online in 2009 and Star Trek Online in 2010. Cryptic is currently working on the non-MMO fantasy RPG Neverwinter as well as at least one unannounced game for Atari.

[Via email press release]

Champions Online Free For All sees player numbers and revenue go way up

Champions Online went to the free-to-play route in late January and so far the switch for the super hero MMO from developer Cryptic Studios has proven, at least so far, to be a big success. According to a press release from publisher Atari, the game has seen increases in "online concurrent user, unique login and revenue totals by over 1,000 percent" since the switch. (Specific numbers were not revealed).

This is just the latest example of an MMO game that has seen better success after switching from a subscription only business model to a free-to-play model. Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online have both reported much more interest in the game since going the free-to-play route.

Bill Roper talks about the death of Flagship Studios and his future plans

Last August Bill Roper, formerly of Blizzard North and then infamously part of the failed Flagship Studios, announced he was leaving his last regular game development gig at Cryptic Studios. In a new interview at Gamasutra, Roper goes into detail about what happened at Flagship where he and the rest of the team launched the online action-RPG Hellgate London and then watched as the game fell victim to launch bugs and poor reviews that caused Flagship to shut down completely less than a year after the game was released.

Roper states in the interview that in his opinion, "The biggest failure with Hellgate is we just tried to do too much." That included having a game with a single player component, a free online component and a subscription-based online component in one game. He also says, "I mean, I think when Hellgate: London came out... we knew it needed another four to six months." However the game's publishers, Namco Bandai and Electronic Arts, were unwilling to give Flagship that extra time, according to Roper.

And what is Roper doing now that he has left Cryptic Studios? He states, "I've been talking with a lot of different companies. I've been doing different game designs and talking with everything from publishers to investors." However he added that's its been hard to get investors to fund his ideas, saying, " .. they were all like, 'Wow, that's a really awesome idea. I would totally play that game. You'll never get funding right now.'"

Interview: We chat with Cryptic Studios about Champions Online's free-to-play launch

Today one of the most well known MMO games becomes the latest to switch from a subscription-only business model to letting players check out the vast majority of its content for free. It's Champions Online, the super hero MMO from developer Cryptic Studios and publisher Atari.

Other MMO games have switched to the free-to-play model and found considerable success but will Champions Online do the same? Big Download decided to get more info on the new version of the game via an email interview with Cryptic's Executive Producer Shannon Posniewski.

Download the Champions Online Free-To-Play Installer Client at Big Download

Download: Champions Online Free-to-Play Client

This client installs the free-to-play version of Champions Online, a superhero themed massively-multiplayer online role playing games. Visit the official website for more information and to create an account. System requirements are shown after the jump.

Note: The client will install the game, but the free-to-play servers are not expected to come online until tomorrow - January 25, 2011, 9:00am EST.

Download Champions Online Free-to-Play Client (2.9 GB)
Check out all Champions Online downloads

Champions Online and Star Trek Online start lifetime subscription sale Tuesday

Even though Champions Online is moving to the free-to-play business model on Tuesday, the super hero MMO will still give players the option of paying for a monthly subscription that will give them access to more content. There's also the lifetime subscription option that will still be available.

Starting on Tuesday, players who pick that particular option in both Champions Online and developer Cryptic Studios' other current MMO Star Trek Online will get a 20 percent discount on their respective lifetime subscriptions prices. Both are normally $299 each but the sale will reduce that price to $239.99. The sale ends on February 5.

Champions Online trailer introduces new changes and content

It's been revealed that Champions Online is going free-to-play on January 25th, and the folk at Cryptic have put together a new trailer to commemorate the launch. Titled "System Shock," it covers the changes that have happened to Champions Online in the past year as well as new content that can be expected from the free-to-play update. Some of the new stuff includes the inclusion of pre-defined archetypes, reworking of melee powers, and the polishing of the Westside subzone to be more friendly to newer players.

Download HD Champions Online 'System Shock' Trailer
Check out all Champions Online downloads

Champions Online officially turns into free-to-play MMO on January 25

On the day that DC Universe Online officially launches, developer Cryptic Studios and publisher Atari announced that their own super hero MMO, Champions Online, will officially turn into a free-to-play title on January 25. The game launched as a subscription-based MMO in September 2009 but Atari announced its plans to turn the game into a free-to-play MMO last October.

The game also gets a slight name change to Champions Online: Free For All for the occasion. Under the new business model nearly all of the game's content will be free to access to any player and with no limits in terms of maxing out your character's level. The exceptions will be additional Adventure Packs which can be purchased via the in-game store. Players can still choose to keep their monthly subscription fee for $14.99 a month. You can check out the differences between the free (Silver) and subscription (Gold) versions on this web page.

Cryptic Studios offering in-game item price cuts for its games this weekend

Cryptic Studios may be preparing to turn Champions Online into a free-to-play MMO but at the moment the super hero game is in the middle of a holiday sales event. Cryptic has announced that everything in the game's online in-game item store is on sale for 20 percent off its normal price. That includes costumes, character heads, enhancements, collectible action figures and more.

Cryptic's other MMO, Star Trek Online, is having the exact same sale for its in-game items, although this event does exclude the newly released in-game costumes and ship based on the Star Trek: Enterprise TV show along with several new Klingon ships. The sales for both game ends at 1 pm Eastern time on Monday.

Champions Online offers lifefime subscriptions for free-to-play relaunch

Champions Online's move to a free-to-play business model beginning in 2011 is a way to actually generate more revenue via micro-transactions. But Cryptic's super hero-themed MMO has also decided to reinstate something it offered players before the game launched in 2009: lifetime subscriptions.

Yes, it might sound a bit odd to offer such a deal for a free-to-play game but Cryptic is offering quite a few benefits with this $299 price. It includes permanent access to the game's Gold Members features (which will be priced at $14.99 a month for non-lifetime members) plus exclusive in-game costume items and action figures, a special VIP room in the game world for your character and more. There's no word on if this lifetime subscription offer will expire like the previous one.


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