April 22, 2008

Funcom's update on Age of Conan for the investors

Funcom has released a new update today for the investors of the company. It contains lots of interesting information you wouldn't find on the official Age of Conan website. No marketing gimmicks here - just realistic stuff.

First, Age of Conan has apparently gone gold, probably back on 8th April - it seems the rumors based on that filmed calendar were right after all. Now even the biggest skeptics can rest assured the game will be released on time - so start reserving those holidays for the end of May, people!

Funcom has passed the Age of Conan Gold master milestone according to plan and the retail DVDs has been delivered for box production. At launch an online update will be available for downloading where additional content, optimizations and bugfixes will be included.
I just wonder if spellweaving, battle keep sieges and all the other planned goodies made it into the gold version (seeing how spellweaving still wasn't there in the GameSpot's PvP weekend). But hey, even if they patch it in right before launch, I'm good as long as it's in the game.

Another interesting piece of information is the official pricing. The suggested retail price is $59.99 for US and 49.99 € for European markets; seems a little steep, but since I placed my preorder with GAME few months ago when it was still only 17.99 pounds - which is more than two times less - I'm a happy man.

The monthly fee is the standard $14.99 to play on US servers and 12.99 € for playing on European ones. Like with the game box price, Europeans are getting a pretty bad deal (since right now $14.99 is only around 9.5 €), but at least they are not charging the same amount of euros as they charge dollars; besides, I'm sure the American currency will rise again... But I guess that's not the topic of this blog.

The update also tells about the marketing campaigns Funcom will undertake together with Eidos. More than 12% of the company’s anticipated gross revenues from Age of Conan will be spent on marketing, so expect to see the game on the covers of many gaming magazines.

I also found it interesting that at launch Age of Conan servers will be able to support up to 500k-600k active subscribers (note: not simultaneous players online). Apparently, increasing that capacity would take Funcom anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. Also outlined on the update are the key risks according to the company, something you won't find on the game website. Here they are:
Key risks before launch:
Unforeseen technical issues that will require more time to correct than is available under current time schedule.
Key risks at launch:
Technical issues related to network and servers and to client performance such as stability and frame rate for different hardware configurations.
Key risks after launch:
The quality of gameplay, and thereby the longevity of the average subscription, and the ability of the Company to quickly address potential technical issues during and after the launch period.
Looks like May is going to be a pretty crazy month for Funcom, let's hope they can deal with all the difficulties in launching what might become the biggest MMORPG of 2008, and more!

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