Thursday, December 31, 2015

MMOs In the Spotlight at E3 2010

E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is an annual event that is widely considered to be the most important expo in the video game industry. In 2010 it was held from June 15-17 in Los Angeles and featured exhibits from over 120 companies. Every segment of the gaming industry is represented at E3, including the growing share of MMOs.


Interestingly enough the behemoth of the MMO market, Blizzard and their game World of Warcraft, did not have an exhibit at E3 in 2010. Blizzard is expected to release their latest WoW expansion, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, in the Fall of 2010 and some speculate that they are waiting until after that time to engage in a massive media campaign. The absence of Blizzard, however, meant that other, smaller MMO development companies had an easier time getting their product in the spotlight.

E3 2010 MMOs Coming Soon

Lord of the Rings Online and its publisher Turbine released information about the first expansion they will release under the controversial new "free-to-play" business model. Expected in late 2010, the content will include a new zone, updates to the current UI, superior graphic options, and, of course, the highly anticipated new LotRO store.

Final Fantasy XIV, by Square Enix, is the spiritual successor to Final Fantasy XI and was another big name in MMOs at E3. FFXIV is due for release in the Fall of 2010, and caters heavily to the Playstation 3 and Japanese markets. The general impression of reviewers at E3 is that FFXIV looks gorgeous, even if the gameplay is still currently a little clunky.

Another popular title that is due out soon is Bioware's Star Wars: The Old Republic. SWTOR was also a popular subject at E3 in 2009, but this year they promoted their Spring 2011 release date with both a gameplay booth on the show floor and a new cinematic trailer.

E3 2010 MMOs Coming... One Day

Of course developers with imminent releases will show up to E3 with playable demos and full cinematics, but the Expo is also the game industry's place to announce and advertise titles years in advance.

The popular tabletop war game Warhammer 40000 (and their Intellectual Property owner, Games Workshop) announced the development of Warhammer 40000: Dark Millennium Online. The announcement came with a much-watched trailer, and a somewhat disappointing release date of 2013. Dark Millennium received a lot of hype at E3 2010, but it remains to be seen if the attention can be sustained over the course of three years.

Also planning ahead is Interplay, the publishers of Fallout and Fallout 2. During E3 in 2010 they released a teaser site to announce the creation of Fallout Online, a post-apocalyptic MMO. Interplay released little more than a single image and a form to sign up for beta testing, but the response by the game press and players was very positive. The game is expected to hit the shelves in late 2013.

The 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo is the place for game publishers both large and small to display their ideas and work for each other and for the world at large. Between LotRO's new expansion this fall and the predicted arrival of Fallout Online in late 2013, it appears that the MMO industry has many new lands and surprises in store for its players over the coming years.