We’ve been talking a lot lately about our plans for how to take Crowfall® to foreign markets. This is more than just a business discussion – it also touches things like customer support and billing and even game design (how and to what degree can players in different territories interact?)
So, here’s a quick update on where we are at with our plan for releasing Crowfall outside the U.S.
Why is this important?
As it turns out, PvP is the universal language of gaming! Killing other players is a transcendent activity; players from every culture and every country like to engage in the sport of killing others.
We’ve seen this in our community, as well. We have 27,000+ backers now – and over 100k registered players – hailing from 167 different countries around the world. Over 40% of our registered players are outside of the USA.
Coordinating such a diverse group, and offering them the best game experience possible, is an incredibly daunting challenge.
Plan of Attack
Our original plan was to manage as many of these territories as possible ourselves and then find partners for the ones that we felt were beyond our capabilities (either due to language, legalities or logistics).
Over time, as we looked into this further, it’s become pretty apparent that to service a territory adequately, especially one where English isn’t the native language, we’re going to need help.
Let’s talk about what that might look like.
But first, a few disclaimers:
You guys are our backers, so our first priority is to you.
If you backed us (either on Kickstarter, or in the time since) you will always have a home here, on crowfall.com and within the U.S. Crowfall Universe. Your account (and all of your bundled goodies) will be here for you whenever you want to redeem them.
If we do sign a territory partner that is more convenient for you – either you prefer to play in a language other than English, or you find the network latency is better for you when connecting to a Crowfall Universe in your region of the world, we’re going to make sure that you get your rewards in that local universe, as well.
So, no matter what happens, you guys will be covered. That’s priority #1.
What do you mean by a Crowfall Universe?
Basically, it’s a separate instance of the MMO. At a minimum, it will have a different set of servers, which equates to separate eternal kingdoms and campaign worlds. We always expected to separate off some territories (like China, where it is a legal and cultural necessity). Other territories, like EU, were question marks. That’s still the case, but we are actively engaged with multiple companies to service these territories. Separating them into different universes is one of the things we’ll have to discuss.
To be clear, we don’t take the idea of segmenting the player base lightly. All things equal, our strong preference is to allow everyone to play together, worldwide. But given differences in language, culture, cost of living and legalities, this may not be possible with every partner. We’ll see.
Selecting the Right Partners
There are a lot of elements that come into play when selecting the right partner, and the needs for one territory do not always match the needs for another.
Looking into a crystal ball, here is our best guess for how this is going to play out:
We will come to an agreement with a partner to help bring Crowfall to Europe, launching at the same time as North America.
This partner will be the most closely aligned with our U.S. launch, so we’ll do the best we can to enable cross-play to the degree it is logistically possible. At this point, though, we can’t make any promises. When you take into account various languages, currencies and legalities, it becomes very complicated.
Later this year, we’ll be dialoging with potential partners for additional territories: Russia/CIS, China, Korea, Japan, the rest of Asia, South America, MENA, etc. The sooner we have an agreement in place with other partners, the sooner they will launch Crowfall in their territory. In the meantime, all backers will be able to play in the U.S. Crowfall universe.
We’ve also had some interest (rather unexpectedly, to be honest) from potential partners interested in bringing a version of Crowfall to consoles. (We’ve seen questions on our forums about supporting consoles, too, so we know there is some interest within our community.)
Historically, MMOs have not worked very well on console – but this has definitely changed in the last year. Games like DCUO, Planetside, Neverwinter Nights and Elder Scrolls are not just surviving but actually thriving on these platforms.
Would we like to see Crowfall running on PS4 or Xbox ONE? Maybe! Any opportunity like that would have to take a back seat to our PC launch, obviously, but we are happy to have the conversation. If anything comes of it, we will definitely let you know. As always, we want to keep you looped in about the both the project and our situation at ArtCraft. So, no announcements yet, but we’ll see…
We’re sure this update raises more questions than it answers (because, to some degree, we don’t have all those answers yet) but we welcome your thoughts and feedback!
If you want to ask us something directly, we will be hosting an “Ask Me Anything” tomorrow morning (Thursday 5/5, 10 am Central) on /r/games. We hope you’ll take at least a few minutes to stop by and let us answer a few questions for you. We’ve done a few of these before, and they are well worth the price of admission (free!)
That’s it for “What’s happening at ACE” this week! As always, thanks for your support. We couldn’t make Crowfall without you!
Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton
Co-Founders, ArtCraft Entertainment