Table of Contents
Part I: Outline
Welcome back to a new entry in a series of reports covering selected cases in the online games industry. The series as a whole aims to examine and analyze the various shenanigans going on in the MMO world with the use of valid research methodology and proven theories. There are a lot of resources available, so the angle of the story may range from anything business related, to sociology and even anthropology. I’m glad to finally present you with a fresh post that continues the feature!
The first market report showcased a game called Alganon, where I scrutinized the title and the company behind it. Today we are going to take a look at an MMO-Shooter called CrimeCraft, developed by Vogster Entertainment. Relevant background information is provided, along with a detailed analysis of the company’s actions. In the entries to follow, we’ll examine the current status of the project. The report discusses the current MMO market realities, and strategies that were adopted by the Vogster Entertainment in order to succeed in a given environment. The relevance of this project in modern market conditions will be discussed, and opportunities for further development will be investigated.
Vogster Entertainment was founded in September 2005. After undergoing a successful growth phase, the company restructured its activity into several key directions: developing and producing MMO projects, establishing working relationships with major publishers and scouting for development studios with titles that can be successful on the online games market.
Currently, Vogster Entertainment is headquartered in Saddle River (NJ), but it also has offices in Moscow and Kiev. The company is aiming to undergo further expansion, which will allow it to increase the size of the internal development team and provide additional support for new projects.
CrimeCraft was developed as one of the first MMOGs that made use of the action components of shooters, rather than relying on the traditional design elements present in most MMO games on the market. Developers at Vogster Entertainment conceived CrimeCraft as a game that simplified the standard features present in MMOGs, such as social interaction and character customization, by making them more accessible, and wrapping the final product in a bright and attractive package of an action game that had mass appeal.
The initial plan was to launch CrimeCraft in Europe and Russia. Based on it’s success in those markets, the game would get an overseas launch and more resources dedicated to development. However, things changed when the publisher (THQ Inc.) decided to put the emphasis on a North American launch first. In addition to that, the game was made available worldwide through online distribution.
After the release, CrimeCraft faced a fairly cold reception both by the press (MetaCritic score – 57/100), as well as the gaming community. The flaws in the game’s design and it’s overall lack of polish were cited as the main reasons for criticism. Players complained that the game was released too early and had a distinct feel of a rushed project with a fair share of issues that needed to be addressed quickly. Adding to that, was the chosen pay-to-play model that turned a lot of the potential users off.
Nevertheless, the title attracted a sufficient number of users so that work on it could continue. New content has been added to CrimeCraft, character customization was bolstered with additional items, and the business model has changed to free-to-play. The most recent expansion called «Bleedout» has reworked the game’s visual style and enhanced the often-requested story elements in Sunrise City (the city in the game where most of the action takes place) with new episodes.
To be continued in Part II…