John Smedley Trumpets New Players, Cash Shop Sales, New European Partner

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

Yesterday, SOE President John Smedley issued a series of tweets about EverQuest II:

We are seeing some amazing growth in EQ2. 40% increase in daily logins since going f2p. 300% increase in new players.

And 200% increase in Item sales. Plus we have added a lot of new subs. All during the time that some really good competition hit the market

Some players have opined that a 200% increase in item sales might not be much of an indicator considering the Free-to-Play conversion coincided with an e-mail campaign encouraging tens of thousands of players who had quit to try EQ2 again for “free”. From discussions we’ve had with some of these returnees, many were shocked at how limited a Silver account was and pulled the plug within 30 minutes of trying out EQ2′s Free-to-Pay service.

The time period in question also included both Double StationCash and Triple StationCash events. It’s worth noting that the 200% increase in sales could be a count of items rather than a measure of revenue, or the revenue may be calculated before doubling and tripling discounts. The numbers could be juggled in any number of ways.

Europe Partnership

In other news, Smedley announced a partnership with ProSiebenSat.1 Games AG, a pan-European owner of television stations, radio networks, and print publications. Here was his tweet on the subject:

Very excited to be partnering with Prosieben in Europe!

UPDATE: Official announcement on the EQ2 Forums

Excerpts from the Bloomberg Press Release:

ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG (PSM) will publish eight games from Sony Online Entertainment in Europe exclusively, including “Star Wars: Clone Adventures” and “DC Universe Online,” as the broadcaster expands online offerings.

The agreement with the Sony Corp. (6758) division also includes online multiplayer worlds “EverQuest II,” “Free Realms” and “Pox Nora,” Unterfoehring, Germany-based ProSieben said in a statement today.

ProSieben’s games, online video and other digital ventures had 243 million euros ($311 million) in revenue in the first nine months of last year.

ProSieben shares were up 2.2 percent to 14.83 euros at 1:39 a.m. in Frankfurt, valuing the company at 3.2 billion euros. Its shares lost 38 percent of their value last year.

“We didn’t feel we had the right reach in Europe,” said Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley at the Munich meeting. “Our goal is to become the leading free to play publisher in the world and with the help of ProSieben, we feel Europe is covered now.”

The companies will share revenue and risk under the terms of the multiyear agreement, executives said today.

The announcement that ProSiebenSat.1, better known in Europe as alaplaya, would be picking up Sony Online Entertainment’s games drew words of warning from existing players of alaplaya games which, according to several customers have been poorly supported and subject to thus-far unresolved hacks.

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Comments (28)

  • kal

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    Can’t tell much from their percentages, but 300% new players shouldn’t include previous players from the purest definition of the word.

    Reply

  • Electri

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    Kal, your assessment is very true. Additionally, you can give statistics on gains all day long, but and until, you list the past years losses is a true picture painted. The figures listed look very nice on paper and may raise hopes, but it does not show ROI (return on investment). ROI is what drives companies successes and motivates investors.

    Don’t feed us crap, publish a year-end financial report for all to see.

    Reply

  • Savas

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    “From discussions we’ve had with some of these returnees, many were shocked at how limited a Silver account was and pulled the plug within 30 minutes of trying out EQ2’s Free-to-Pay service.”

    This is about as worthless as what smed said above it.

    Reply

  • Daffodil

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    More logins is a meaningless statistic in the light of so many having dusted off all their retired crafters who are now logging in daily to do apprentice quests. Even the 300% new players doesn’t mean much if you don’t know the base. I prefer to go by what I see in Level 1-9 chat and yes, I did see one genuinely new person in the last month. I started a few new characters myself (trying out different classes) but the people I saw in the low-level zones all had dire bears or white wolf mounts, so they weren’t new.

    Typical that nobody from SOE thinks the European customers are even worth the five minutes it would take to post an explanation on the forum of what this development will mean.

    Reply

  • skippydippy

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    Ohh Smed in “cajillion players come to EQ2 since F2P launch” type nonsense show us real figures,real players then we’ll see if things are moving towards a brighter future.

    I will say on Splitpaw things have been quiet(er) since xmas and SW:TOR’s release or at least it has been when i’ve been on so its far,far too early to tell if the F2P launch is a success or not in real terms.,i would say a bare minimum of 5 months will give a truer indication of how things stand.

    Reply

  • GEO/Kastulu

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    Why do you guys care why or how? More people are playing and that was their goal with the F2P model.

    You guys never seem to be happy with any news

    Reply

  • Lempo of Everfrost

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    @Skippy in 5 months the accounts that they flagged a free accounts will still be counted in this deceptive (albit possibly true) total.

    Reply

  • Necromancer

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    290% are returning players who quit playing EQ2. 10% are actual new players.

    Reply

  • milliebii

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    Of more concern is what happens if you are a European who plays on a North American Server?

    Also Australians are currently charged by a London based SOE subsidiary. Did we get sold too? Does this mean we will have to rely on a German firm (with a not so good track record) for support? Is there going to be some expectation that we play on European servers? [bad timezone for Aussies, worse ping times]

    Reply

  • Daffodil

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    Two days now and still not a word from Sony. Can you imagine them being silent for so long if it had been something affecting American players?

    Reply

  • skippydippy

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    @Lempo

    I agree with you but the proof as ever is in the playing for me on Splitpaw since xmas the server has quietened right down from being pretty busy at the “xpac” launch,so give it a few more months it should even out i would think,i cant of course speak for other servers as i’ve never played on them they could be very busy for all i know :).

    But at this stage in the game these numbers are for my money worthless,indeed i posted on the forums at the announcement of F2P i thought it’d be about a month or two before SOE before these figures arrive proclaiming millions of new players,so sadly i have been proved right on that score.

    By all means let SOE say its been a good launch etc but lets keep things in perspective

    Reply

  • badcat

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    OK so the first week they have these numbers, can they keep them up. I doubt that currently all servers show low except freeport medium and ab medium. It has been that way all week.

    40% increase in log ins. Well that would help if we new the base number. Trying to cast numbers out of nowhere with we had 300% increase, means nothing unless you know what the base is.

    It is the same trick all the other games use, even rift does that. You still have no idea of how many of what you have.

    Bold claims with no real data to back it up, and I call shenanigan’s.

    Reply

  • PaulWS

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    We only care about actual players, not the FTP whiners.

    Reply

  • skippydippy

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    Have to say its a bit odd that following such a brilliant launch of F2P SOE feels the need after more than a decade in the MMO buisness to team up (with yet another) company no one seems to have heard of?

    Very odd

    Reply

  • Aethn

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    Wow, just wow Feldon.

    SOE comes out with some good positive news, the first in YEARS about EQ2 subs and numbers and you immediately go to the negative. Didnt we have a long talk about this?? Are you going to go back to the old EQ2Wire where you lost control of the site and posted nothing but negative and bad about the game feeding the hate mongers?? Sadly if you go back there, I just will stop reading again.

    You have NO IDEA if the negative you posted is even true, its meer speculation from likely jaded or disgruntled players that simply do nothing but post negative about SOE in general. Yet you went ahead and used it like it was the gospel, Shame on you Feldon, Shame on you.

    Reply

  • Bella

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    @Aethen -

    I don’t see how this is a shame on Feldon… It appears to be a more realistic view on what has been announced. Let’s be honest here – SOE is going to spin news to make it look even better than it is no matter what that news is. You need to always take with a grain of salt what is said.

    Reply

  • Kwill

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    One way to think about this, even if it’s not really true, is it means more money and support for the team, which means a better game. So even if it’s marketing spin, it could be good long term for the players to get the game to where it should be.

    Reply

  • skippydippy

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    @Kwill,

    With respect how many times has the “LON/SC” extra revenue going to fund extra devolpment in the game?

    The realities of it seem to be there is no extra pot for the “extra” money to go into rather the bigger pot that swallows everything up.

    Reply

  • badcat

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    @kwill

    I agree if they spend this new earned money on development then were in god shape, however what have we seen in past. More and more fluff added in the store. Do we really expect them to be putting time into dev for content now that the store has a 200% increase in fluff sales?

    I am just saying once they start spending money in the store area that is where the dev teams seams to reside. They like to create fluff stuff to sale, and that’s the new cash cow for soe.

    Reply

  • Wurm

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    I notice how you are all focusing on the spin, and not discussing what SOE did with Pro7.

    Now everyone who plays EQ2 in Europe no longer has any idea how things are going to go forward.

    We don’t even know if the majority of us who play on US servers are going to be able to log into the accounts we made when the game came out or if we are going to be locked into playing only on European servers.

    SOE made a feedback thread at the forums, but so far none of the questions that are being asked have been addressed.

    Also Pro7 has a horrible reputation over here and most of us who know the company were shocked when we read the news. SOE customer support is (to be truthful about it) not bad. Pro7′s however is considered one of the worst in the business.

    It can only go downhill from here.

    Reply

  • Kwill

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    I didn’t really make myself clear. I was thinking about the bigger picture — if this division looks successful, with lots of subs and sales, then the budget from Sony corporate gets bigger for the game. In other words, the parent company gives the game more funding if it looks like it’s a profitable winner for Sony’s bottom line.

    So it’s not really the cash coming in from individual purchases, but rather the game as a whole that looks like a success for the division.

    I don’t know anything about Pro7, but I do hope for the European player case it works out ok.

    Reply

  • Daffodil

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    Sony says some numbers are now better than they were. They also say that some things will change for European players. There is absolutly no information given at all, just some vague indications with nothing more solid than a passing shower. What is there to be positive about? We need more than a few nebulous hints.

    Reply

  • GEO/Kastulu

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    in the past 2 days have had 2 long lost guildies log in.. both after an hour subscribed and are probably going to buy DoV/AoD… both havent been in the game for 3-4 years.

    Reply

  • Eschia

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    I refuse to tier down my main EQ2 account to silver for the very reason that silver membership sucks royally. I have and will always be a all access holder. SOE (for EQ2) needs to take a lesson from cryptic / Turbine / perfect world / aeria games / gpotato, and similar providers when it comes to F2P. It seems SOE loves to annoy lower tier players into upgrading, a little too much for comfort. Rather it be popups every few minutes telling them to upgrade to gold, or the severity of limits in the gameplay. Those other game providers seem to be way less intrusive about it. When I play Star Trek Online, Champions, Eden Eternal, or MegaTen, I never get the feeling I’m being harassed into upgrading. The item mall is always there but it isn’t in my face. At least SOE got F2P right for DCUO, but EQ2 seems to get the bloody edge of the sword. I also think it’s stupid how they approached legendary / fabled items for silvers, especially level 85-90 (velius) where that’s all you will ever find.

    Reply

  • DejaVu

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    Time to wise up to the fact that SOE doesn’t, and will never give a damm about it’s player base. Especially now wit F2P, everything they do is geared to empty your wallet only. No doubt selling the Euro pharm to a German Co. provided them with way more bucks than they would have realized from Euro SC purchases. And not a peep out of SJ or Smed on that feedback thread yet.. mebbe a Class Action suit would get some answers out of em! F2p or not, I’m done playing/buying anything Sony/SOE ever again.

    Reply

  • Aethn

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    Class Action lawsuit for what? You are going to sue them for making money? You are going to sue them for attempting to run a game at a profit? Do you even know what the point of a class action lawsuit is?

    Reply

  • DejaVu

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    Aethn, I do know the Eula as well as class action litigation law… the Eula is stacked against anybody suing SOE for any reason – even failure to provide a contracted service. Try to understand that actual human beings do blow off steam every now and then eh! I am also blowing SOE and SONY off permanently from this point – will never buy, lease, or rent squat from these guys again. If they don’t have the time to answer countless questions/concerns from their ‘affected’ player base I have no time for them… account cancelled, all my toons on the Euro server deleted before the region locks are put in play. I quite frankly could care less what they do with EQ2 now!

    Reply

  • Aethn

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    Yet you still took the time to post 121 words about a game and company you claim to not care one bit about, that in itself defeats your statement about “caring less”.

    Again, what is your class action lawsuit about, because you still have yet to clarify that 121 words later. Let me save you the trouble, for $14.99 a month, you still get EXACTLY the same game you had before F2P, period. Anything they add to the SC shops changes your experience exactly zero, its a voluntary system, exclusive from the services provided from your month transaction of $14.99.

    Again, what do you base your class action lawsuit on, and who are your co-complaintants?

    Reply

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