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Kids

The Daily Grind: Are kids poor MMO consumers?

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Kids, Family, Miscellaneous

LMFO
Earlier this year after announcing sunsets for the apparently popular Free Realms and three other titles, SOE's John Smedley declared that his studio was done with MMOs aimed at children. "No more kid's games," he said on Reddit. "Kids don't spend well and it's very difficult to run a kids game. Turns out kids do mean stuff to each other a lot."

The last comment is no doubt true and manifests primarily in unfettered chat, as former Massively writer Karen Bryan explored a few years ago. But is it likewise true that "kids don't spend well"? Kid-friendly games like Wizard101 and Super Hero Squad Online seem to be doing just fine. Funcom sure thought the market was ripe for another go at a LEGO MMO. And I suspect that tweens are heavily responsible for some of the crazy IAP spending going on in the mobile space. If I were a kid now instead of in the '90s, I would have blown my allowance on Guild Wars 2 microtrans instead of comic books and trading cards.

What do you think? Are kids truly as terrible an MMO audience as SOE believes?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Watch MapleStory 2's feature trailer

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MapleStory, Free-to-Play, Kids, Housing, Player-Generated Content

maplestory 2
Even if you don't understand Korean, chances are that you can grok some of what's going on in this new MapleStory 2 features trailer. The video shows various systems in the game, including player-created content, housing, customization, and (oh yes) minigames.

Check out the video after the break and let us know what you think of MapleStory 2's look and offerings!

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The Stream Team: Family MMO night with the Super Hero Squad Online devs

Super-hero, Video, Patches, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Kids, Family, Livestream, The Stream Team

The Stream Team: Live with Super Hero Squad Online devs!
Super Hero Squad Online has been a favorite for several of Massively's writers, Larry Everett being one of them. Today, Larry and his son, Zach, will show off the new SHSO Recharged. And for extra fun, they've invited the developers along. (Maybe they'll have free stuff for you!) Join us at 7:00 p.m. to find out just how awesome this family MMO is for both kids and adults.

Game: Super Hero Squad Online
Hosts: Larry Everett, Zach, and the Gazillion devs
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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First Impressions: LEGO Minifigures Online

Betas, New Titles, Previews, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, First Impressions, Kids, Family

LEGO Minifigures Online
Besides being an avid gamer myself, I am raising three children who are also avid gamers. You might have seen past livestreams that I've done with my youngest son and my daughter. In fact, my son and I are going to stream with the Super Hero Squad Online crew here in the next few days. As a gaming dad, I keep my eyes out for games that lend themselves to being kid friendly and fun for adults, too.

When Free Realms shut down, my youngest, now 9 years old, was heartbroken. Although he didn't really do much questing, he loved the other activities in the game like kart racing and exploring the housing system. I have attempted to get him to jump into games like Wizard101 and Pirate101, whose combat systems were more complex than his liking. But he's a fan of combat in SHSO. He also plays Minecraft daily and has really adhered to the whole culture that surrounds it.

So when LEGO Minifigures Online opened its beta, I thought it would be an excellent combination of both SHSO combat and the building systems of Minecraft. I was wrong on one count but right on the other. My son loved the combat system, at least.

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Wizard101 introduces Fishing

Fantasy, Video, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Wizard101, Family

It's also fishing for your money, but that's sort of how games stay in operation.
Fishing is the eternal side activity of MMOs, the reason for players to sit about and cast their line over and over in the hopes of receiving something worthwhile. Wizard101 joins the lineup of fantasy games offering a fishing option today with a new patch, although you will be fishing in an appropriately magical fashion. Rather than a mundane line and sinker, players summon magical orbs to help snare fish; the ones they catch can be sold, used for crafts, or displayed as trophies around your house.

If this is the one thing you've been waiting for before you get into the game, you can also take advantage of the new promotional bundle on sale at Target. The Spiral Cup Gauntlet Bundle includes a new housing item, a new pet, new clothes, and a new mount for players, along with either a month's subscription or 5000 crowns. You can pick it up for $39 and then jump right back into casting orbs and looking for fish. Or doing other things, presumably.

[Source: Kingsisle Entertainment press release]

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LEGO Minifigures Online open beta progress to carry over

Betas, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family

Funcom wants you to know that it has officially kicked off the open beta for LEGO Minifigures Online. The game's proper launch is still scheduled for Fall 2014, but as of now you can download the free-to-play beta client and have at it!

Current locations include Pirate World, Medieval World, and Space World, and the firm is "hard at work finishing up more great content," according to the news blurb on its web site.

Player progress and cash shop purchases will carry over from open beta to launch.

The Stream Team: Leaping into LEGO Minifigures Online's open beta

Betas, Video, New Titles, Kids, Family, Livestream, The Stream Team

Massively's MJ is beyond excited to delve into the wonderful world of LEGOs in the new LEGO Minifigures Online. That's right, she gets to live out her LEGO fantasies as an adorable little figurine who is out for adventure. The hardest part may be choosing what to play: Will she be a Librarian, a Mermaid, a Trendsetter, or a Forest Maiden? Perhaps she'll bust out of her female mold and be a Skydiver, a Cyclops, or even a Grandpa. Join us live at 7:00 p.m. for a look at all the choices and MJ's first moments in the game's newly opened beta.

Game: LEGO Minifigures Online
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, June 19th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Super Hero Squad Online brings out achievements

Super-hero, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family

SHSO
The achievements are coming! Hear ye, hear he! The achievements are coming!

Sorry, we're trying a new type of news dispersal technique at Massively that involves riding around on horses and shouting at townfolk. In any case, Super Hero Squad Online is prepping a "doozy" of an update for the game, and one of the big additions that will be in it is an achievement system. According to the team, achievements "range from simple things like destroying a Troublebot to silly things like farting in the Asgard throne room to really hard things like getting an Adamantium score 1,000 times."

There will be over 5,000 achievements added to the game including destiny achievement sets that earn special rewards.

Assemble to try the LEGO Minifigures Online open beta

Betas, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Kids, Family, Miscellaneous

Brick by brick.
If you miss being able to play with LEGO bricks in an online environment, you'll be happy to know that LEGO Minifigures Online has just entered open beta. The last time a LEGO-themed game came out, it didn't turn out so well, but the new game is a very different experience, allowing players to take control of the many LEGO minifigures currently available to adventure in a variety of LEGO-themed environs.

Currently, the beta test is available only for Windows computers in English, with other localizations and a tablet client slated for release during the test process. Open beta will also see the refinement of game mechanics and the free-to-play business model, so nothing that's in the game right now is set in stone. If you've been feeling the loss of brick-based gameplay, now might be the time to jump in and start playing for yourself.

[Source: Funcom press release]

New LEGO Minifigures Online vid features Medieval World

Fantasy, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family

LEGO MFO
Funcom's latest LEGO Minifigures Online video reveals the game's Medieval World. Players of the "brickalicious" free-to-play title will need to capture the Medieval World's "wicked Elementius the Pieromancer (wanted for pie-throwing) while facing pointy-teethed monstrosities such as trolls, ogres, and dragons."

Click past the cut to have a look!

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See MapleStory 2's bubbly 3-D in action

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MapleStory, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family

MapleStory 2
"Oh yeah," you think, looking at the headline. "They are working on a MapleStory 2. I forgot about that!"

That's right, buckaroos: Nexon is charging ahead with a sequel (well, technically a prequel) to the colorful 2-D MMO, and today the publisher has a gameplay trailer to prove it. In the trailer, you can see the transition to chunky 3-D graphics as characters boogie, battle, and be Little Bo Peep to a flock of sheep.

MapleStory 2 will be throwing a "Supporter's Day" for select fans in late June and should enter Korean closed beta later this year. We've got the new trailer for you after the break.

[Source: Nexon press release]

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Pirate101's spring 2014 update is live

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family, Pirate101

Pirate101
Pirate101's spring 2014 update is now live. The patch has added new free-to-play areas, advanced pets, and advanced companions to the game. KingsIsle has published a lengthy list of update notes, and you'll probably also want to take a(nother) look at the update trailer. We've embedded it for you after the break.

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Funcom's LEGO Minifigures Online open beta coming in June

Betas, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Kids

LEGO Minifigures Online pirates
Funcom's LEGO Minifigures Online has been in closed beta for several months, but now the company says its free-to-play PC, iOS, and Android title will go into open beta this June.

"This is an invaluable opportunity to collect feedback directly from players," says executive producer Lawrence Poe. "We'll be using that feedback over the summer to help us focus our efforts where they are most needed and deliver the best possible experience when we launch in the fall."

Funcom secures $1.6 million in additional equity

Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Casual, Kids

Funcom logo
Funcom's website has published news of a move that gives the firm $1.6 million of additional equity as it prepares to launch LEGO Minifigures Online.

In May of 2012, Funcom reached an agreement with US fund manager Yorkville Advisors and is now partially exercising the resulting option. "We are very pleased to have increased the company's financial flexibility with funds that will be used in preparing for the launch of LEGO Minifigures Online," explained CEO Ole Schreiner explained in a prepared statement. "We have several times expressed a need for additional equity and have considered different alternatives to secure this. This facility has been available to us since 2012, but the timing has not been right before."

WildStar dev donates LEGO sculpture to Child's Play charity

Fantasy, Video, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Kids, WildStar

At PAX East 2014
WildStar developer Carbine Studios made a special donation at PAX East this year that included a $10,000 check and a 50,000-piece LEGO Rocket House that will be auctioned off for the Child's Play charity.

The rocket house LEGO sculpture stands three feet tall and four feet long and was created by LEGO artist Mariann Asanuma specifically for the charity. The sculpture will be auctioned off at the annual Child's Play Dinner later this year with all proceeds going towards partner hospitals and facilities.

"We wanted to not only find a fun way to bring a small piece of WildStar to life, but also see the efforts go to a good cause," said Mona Hamilton, vice president of brands, Carbine Studios. "Child's Play is a wonderful charity doing really great things with the gaming industry and we're looking forward to seeing the result of the auction later this year. It was also important for us to say thanks by giving back to the Boston community; they've been great to us over the years at PAX East."

You can check out a video of the LEGO sculpture being assembled just after the jump below.

[Source: Carbine press release]

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