Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This Blog Going Dark For the Day

I'm going to keep on working and getting future posts ready (yeah, right), but you can play with this for now:

"After two months, ‘Infinite Crisis’ announces shutdown" by Hiawatha Bray, Globe staff, June 5 2015

Could Superman beat Batman in a fight?  

Who cares?

Maybe.  But neither one of them could conquer the fiercely competitive online videogame market.

On Tuesday, Needham videogame developer Turbine Inc. announced it’s shutting down its superhero combat game “Infinite Crisis,” just two months after its official launch.

RelatedWith ‘Infinite Crisis’ and two mobile titles in the works, Turbine is gearing up

Maybe you would rather hit the beach instead.

Whadda ya' mean game over?

Launched in late March, “Infinite Crisis” is a “multiplayer online battle arena” game (MOBA), in which players form teams and and fight to conquer a digital battlefield. It usually costs nothing to play a MOBA, but players can pay to obtain special powers and tools.

It's boring if not.

MOBAs have become one of the most popular online game formats. The best-known MOBA, “League of Legends,” attracts about 67 million players worldwide every month.

“Infinite Crisis” was late to the party, but it came equipped with superpowers.  Turbine’s parent company, media titan Time Warner Inc., also owns DC Comics.  So this MOBA was built around famous heroes and villains from DC comic books, such as Batman, Superman, Catwoman and the Joker.  A game starring such popular characters might have seemed like a sure thing, only it wasn’t. 

That reminds me. I'm sick of seeing endless comic book reruns, sequels, prequels, new versions, whatever.

“This was an extremely difficult decision to make,” said a statement posted on the “Infinite Crisis” website on Tuesday. “On behalf of the entire Infinite Crisis team we want to thank all of you for your feedback, support and for joining together to create one of the best communities in gaming.”

The game will go dark Aug. 14.

Jeremy Miller, director of quantitative analysis at DFC Intelligence, a videogame industry research firm, said that Infinite Crisis never came close to achieving a critical mass of players.  “I think they attracted a fair amount of users early on,” Miller said, with about half a million downloads of the game in its first month.  But interest fell off quickly after that.

I'm sure my readers understand that. Do I look interested?

Miller estimated that in May, no more than a thousand people were playing Infinite Crisis at any given time.  By contrast, League of Legends has had as many as 7.5 million simultaneous players.

Miller said that Time Warner faced the prospect of spending millions in marketing dollars to play catch up.  “Somebody made the decision that the cost of doing that would be too much,” he said.  “If you think you can’t turn it around, you pull the plug.”

Miller’s pragmatic view offered no comfort to fans of the game who enjoyed the fantasy combat, and the chance to socialize online with other players.  “I’m really heartbroken over it,” said Chelsie Scott, a 22-year-old college student from Pulaski, NY.  “It is the best community in gaming that I have ever been a part of.” Scott blamed the game’s failure on Time Warner, saying it had failed to advertise the game aggressively.

Timothy Loew, executive director of the state-sponsored Massachusetts Digital Games Institute, said that the failure of Infinite Crisis reflects the turmoil in the game industry, in Massachusetts and nationwide.  “It’s growing; it’s never been bigger,” said Loew.  “But at the same time, it’s changing.” Fewer companies are creating costly large-scale games, he said.  Instead, most new investment is focusing on smaller, simpler games designed for mobile devices.

Turbine itself  is currently developing two new games for mobile devices such as smartphones — “Batman: Arkham Underworld” and an as-yet-untitled game based on “Game of Thrones,” the popular fantasy series produced by Time Warner’s HBO cable television unit.

That's the favorite right there (not with me, never watched it, don't care, sorry).

Meanwhile, the company continues to operate a trio of multiplayer online adventure games —”Asheron’s Call,” “Dungeons & Dragons Online” and “The Lord of the Rings Online.”

Not a big LOTR fan, either.


I don't know what is yurong with me, readers. Everyone knows video games bring the world together.


Light still has not gone back on because while I did purcha$e a Globe, I only flipped through it and what little I scanned, well, to be completely honest, I'm sick of it. Even what I saw that interested me had no appeal. Looks like a total linker or a catcher-upper (ha!).

So as I update this post with this brief commentary and prepare for the day I really do not know what garbage I will be spewing forth before shutting this down before noon. I'm resigned to the fact that four months of items cannot be consolidated in four hours, and who really gives a f*** anyway? Monitoring the propaganda pre$$ has reached the point of laughable and absurd lunacy.


"Heroes fall: Superhero DNA couldn’t save “Infinite Crisis” by Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff, June 11 2015

I arrived too late to save Batman. As a matter of fact, Gotham City was pretty much depopulated by the time I showed up. There was scarcely a human in sight, just computer-animated friends and foes waging a battle that both sides had already lost.

Their defeat was proclaimed last week, when Turbine Inc. of Needham said it was shutting down “Infinite Crisis,” its online combat video game that had only been opened to the public two months earlier. People can still sign up to play, but the game goes offline forever in mid-August.

“Infinite Crisis” is a MOBA — a multiplayer online battle arena. Players download MOBA software from the web, log in, select a superhero, and team up with four other players to fight half-hour battles against their best friends, or total strangers on the other side of the planet.

And it had a gimmick that should have attracted a horde of fans. Turbine’s parent company, Time Warner Inc., just happens to own DC Comics. So the game let people play as Superman, Batman, the Joker, and other famous DC characters.

But hardly anybody cared. When I logged on, I had to fight “bots,” computer-generated enemies, because there weren’t enough humans online to get up a good game.

The death of “Infinite Crisis” is the worst fiasco to afflict New England’s video game industry since the 2012 shutdown of 38 Studios, founded by former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling. That cost Schilling $50 million of his own money and devoured $75 million in subsidies extracted from Rhode Island taxpayers. 

Poor Schill.

Turbine won’t comment on its losses, but building a game of this scale and complexity certainly cost millions.

Turbine ought to survive the blow. The company operates three other online games....


UPDATELawsuit over Schilling’s firm to be partly settled

He looks better, too.