Every year, Sony Online Entertainment brings its fans together in Las Vegas at SOE Live, and this year was its 15th anniversary. PC Gamer sat down with SOE President John Smedley at the event to talk about the future of EverQuest Next, the 15th birthday for the original EverQuest, and H1Z1, its upcoming survival MMO. He also talks about the fate of the MMO subscription model, what separates H1Z1 from DayZ, and the value of emergent gameplay and player-driven storytelling.
A group calling itself "Lizard Squad" launched a series of DDoS attacks against gaming services including Battle.net, Sony Online Entertainment and League of Legends over the weekend, and even used a bomb threat to divert an American Airlines flight carrying SOE President John Smedley. It appears that all is now well with Battle.net, but it sounds like the people behind the attacks aren't done just yet.
Hackers have targeted a range of gaming services including Battle.net, Sony Online Entertainment titles and League of Legends, among others. While the DDoS attacks have mostly been resolved, a Twitter account claiming to be responsible for the hacks is now targeting Xbox Live.
It's The PC Gamer Show! In episode four, Cory travels to SOE Live to interview Sony Online President John Smedley and talk Everquest Next and H1Z1. Meanwhile, back at the office, we take a cruise on the Velvet Sundown and Tim chats with UK editor Chris Thursten about their hands-on time with Alien Isolation.
What is H1Z1? We’ve spotted what seems to be a game homepage for Sony Online’s next project. We’ve heard the name H1Z1 before, actually: in January, when we learned that SOE had registered it as a trademark.
Virtual reality, SteamOS, fiber broadband, 4K displays, holodecks (you know, maybe)—the next five years of PC gaming will radically transform our immortal hobby. What new experiences will the PC games of the near future provide? How will technology surprise us? This April at PAX East 2014, we'll look into that glowing future with the innovators and PC gaming stakeholders shaping it.
After I reached the highest level in Star Wars: The Old Republic, I ran into a problem: I had seen and done everything the endgame had offered to me. I completed all the dungeons, conquered all the available raid encounters, and then I was essentially stuck in a content drought until BioWare released something new—and then the cycle would repeat again. It's a pattern most MMORPGs of today run the risk of falling into as players tear through at a faster rate than ever before. In a blog post, Sony Online Entertainment CEO John Smedley examines these content-driven tendencies of the MMO genre, calling them "unsustainable" for the industry in favor of more sandbox experiences.
A series of tweets by SOE's president John Smedley have revealed an imminent promotion for PlanetSide 1, offering players of PlanetSide 2 - and former PS1 recruits - six months free membership to the original MMOFPS, ahead of an eventual plan to make it fully free-to-play. I'm guessing age will play a large part in whether you react to the sight of the 2003 shooter with a new-found respect for its many achievements, or recoil in horror at its graphics and creaky netcode. It was the best we had, damn it. Don't judge us.
In a pair of tweets (via VG247), SOE President John Smedley triumphantly announced the banning of "a whole bunch of idiots" caught hacking in PlanetSide 2, including one player who apparently spent $230 on in-game items.
Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley isn't bashful about voicing his strong support for free-to-play business models, but he's equally passionate about seeing the MMO genre evolve. Speaking to Polygon, Smedley believes modern MMOs suffer from stagnation and content churn that prevents studios from exploring new design directions.
John Smedley is unusual among videogame executives for his outspoken Twitter presence and friendly, direct engagement with gamers. Maybe other suits should take note: the SOE president comes across as someone who understands and loves the games SOE makes and his responsiveness to players instils some considerable trust. If PlanetSide 2 wasn't perfect when it launched, gamers may feel reassured that with John Smedley at the helm SOE will continue to work towards that goal. Last night I got to speak to the big man about the future of PlanetSide 2, fighting in-game crime, free-to-play and the recent internally-revealed Everquest Next.
The long anticipated follow-up to Everquest isn’t looking to plough the same furrow as previous MMOs. In fact, SOE threw away two prototypes because they weren’t radical enough (possibly making the character shot above woefully out of date). Now recently unveiled internally to SOE staff, the redesigned game hopes to “define the next generation of MMOs” - such is the claim by SOE president John Smedley during our lengthy interview - which is to be posted in full later.
When SOE president John Smedley spoke to PC Gamer a year ago, he mentioned PlanetSide 2 would have a three year plan, to be revealed post-release. We got a chance to chat to the mighty fellow last night (the full transcript will follow later today) and ask him where this plan had got to.
“That’ll be shared in early January,” says Smedley. “What we’re going to be doing is sharing it in six-month increments and – just like we did before release – we’re going to be really listening to the players. We changed our entire subscription model based on their feedback – we put it out there, we wanted people to comment on it, and we changed it. We’ve changed so much about the game based on player feedback, so we’re definitely going to do the same thing with our six month plans."
SOE president John Smedley has been outspoken about his hatred of cheats, and in an interview with us (to be published in full later today) he promised that he will do his best to embarrass those who flout and circumvent the rules of PlanetSide 2.
“There was a conversation we were having last night about how we plan to torment the people who were doing the cheating,” SOE’s bossman said. “You can expect some rather amusing things to be happening in the next month or so as punishments within the game."
PlanetSide 2 already has enough purchasable gear to run you over $300 per faction. But those of you who just can't get enough guns, or haven't really found one that suits your trigger finger yet, you're in luck. SOE president John Smedley has revealed on his Twitter account that we'll be seeing some shiny, new military hardware go on sale tomorrow.
One-upping his own company's self-proclaimed "extremely aggressive" stance on squelching aimbot programs in PlanetSide 2, SOE President John Smedley seemingly hired a computer-savvy pro wrestler to tweet a warning (via PCGamesN) to abominable aimbotters across Auraxia, writing, "Use [them]...and we'll find you. We'll find your family. We'll hunt you down."
PlanetSide 2's vehicles keep its war churning. Sunderers shuttle troops quickly and efficiently to the frontlines. The C-130-esque Galaxy transport serves as the primary mode of aerial insertion for all three factions, but like the Watchmen, who transports the transports? Best sit down for the next part: In a tweet fired off today, SOE President John Smedley posted a conceptual mockup of an absolutely gigantic Terran Republic fleet carrier looking like a cross between a Star Destroyer and a shoebox, hinting of a possible future emergence of mobile vehicle platforms in the super-scaled MMOFPS.
PlanetSide 2's intricate microtransaction shop provides optional weapon sidegrades at a single click for players seeking a fresh perspective of delivering curtains of lead death. What's missing is a try-before-you-buy demo of potential purchases—think Team Fortress 2's week-long tryout for certain shop items. A tweet sent today by SOE President John Smedley stated the developer will jump-jet a similar system for launch: a field-use trial period for shop guns.
Unlike most of us, Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest Next--billed as "the largest sandbox MMO ever designed"--knows the feeling of getting your entire guts scooped out by a giant ladle. During the SOE Live convention held last week, President John Smedley said discarding Next's design was intentional to avoid aping "more of the same" from contemporary MMOs. Elaborating on that thought, Smedley told Massively the Next team saw "the writing on the wall" for the genre's trends in player retention when starting over.
Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley took the stage at the studio's annual SOE Live convention to talk about the scope of EverQuest Next, the working title of the next MMO in the EverQuest franchise. As part of a "blowing up" of the preliminary concept images and sketches released last year, Smedley claimed Next will be the "largest sandbox MMO" created to date, according to EQ2 Wire.