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.
Like war's penchant for fluidity, PlanetSide 2's numerous touch-ups to its membership benefits and its eternal struggle with gameplay balances make for some interesting developer forum posts. In a new report from the front, Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley revealed a few changes in the scorch-marked pipeline, including the removal of the Auraxium currency and the announcement of a specific release date during the upcoming SOE Live keynote on Thursday.
Forgive me for briefly channeling Douglas Adams when I say PlanetSide 2 is big. Sony Online's sprawling MMOFPS is currently in beta, but the legions of Vanu Sovereignty, Terran Republic, and New Conglomerate recruits know how to throw a spectacular war theater. The beta's single playable continent, Indar, represents just the beginning of the bloodsoaked struggles for total domination of Auraxis, according to a status update post penned by Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley.
Forumite Palodin has pointed us to a tweet by SOE president John Smedley explaining that the Planetside 2 beta keys given away by PC Gamer US in April and UK in July will be activated "on Friday by 5pm" - that's today. He presumably means 5pm PST, which is 1am GMT on Saturday.
We currently do not know if all of the keys will go out at once or if there'll be another wave after today. However, if you haven't redeemed your PS2 code yet now is the time to do so. We're currently working through the remaining support e-mails - if you've requested a code, expect it within the next hour or so.
The superhero MMO has been super-punching above its weight since its shift to free to play with news of a massive bounce in player numbers and profits since the shift. Massively spotted Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley tweeting some quite interesting stats. The superhero MMO has seen a "700% increase in daily revenue" since it relaunched earlier this month.