Black Prophecy: business model in detail and after launch questions

When gamigo and the developer Reakktor Media announced in March of 2010 that they would be collaborating on the space action MMOG Black Prophecy, it piqued the curiosity of the community but also raised a few concerns. There was mostly excitement that Black Prophecy had found a successful publisher, but some fans also expressed concern about whether or not free-to-play was the proper business model for this game.

Christian Schütt (also known as "SnowCrash"), formerly Black Prophecy's Community Manager and now its Assistant Product Manager, discussed the hopes and fears of Black Prophecy's fans with Patrick Streppel, member of the executive board of gamigo, and Kirk Lenke, CEO of Reakktor Media.

In the fourth edition of "Behind the Scenes", questions that had been asked in the community's official forum were answered. Most of all, the game's business model was explained in detail and the collaboration between the two companies was praised. Questions about a possible Collector's Edition and about content to be added after the official launch of the game were also addressed.


After the announcement was made that BLACK PROPHECY would be published as a free-to-play game, a lot of players were concerned that it would follow the item-shop principle known from other comparable games in which the player with the biggest wallet can buy the best items and therefore dominate. In press interviews it has implied that this will not be the case. Can you please explain to the community, what principle is planned for BLACK PROPHECY and why it was chosen?
It's true that we will earn money from the sale of virtual items in BLACK PROPHECY (as opposed to through subscription fees, selling the game in stores, or through advertisement). Besides the obvious advantages (you get to play an online game and can see its quality with your own eyes without making any sort of financial commitment), the motto here is "time is money". We're taking a lot of care to make sure that you play as long as you want to WITHOUT spending any money. That means that you have access all game content, can complete every mission and conquer every player if you invest enough time to level your character up and collect or upgrade all the items needed.

As a free-to-play game, BLACK PROPHECY will be open to more target audiences than it would have been as a subscription game. Which target audiences do you consider the most important for BLACK PROPHECY?

I would say a) fans of space sims, b) SciFi fans who are looking for a fantastic storyline and ambient game universe, and c) fans of action MMOGs, including shooting games fans looking for a bit more depth.

Some players are worried that, as a free-to-play game, there may be fewer updates and patches. Can you tell us what you have planned for that?

Fewer updates because of free-to-play? Not at all! Sales volume of a free-to-play is not less than in a subscription game, actually we are hoping for an even greater success because more players will have access to the game - which means a bigger budget for content! It's already laid out for the first 12 months and includes a lot of smaller and a few bigger updates!

We've already laid out a roadmap for content patches and add-ons and are starting on its development so players won't have to wait too long for new material. In the development of assets, we've put a lot of effort into making sure that we don't limit ourselves as far as add-ons such as stationwalking, housing, and things like that are concerned. These are a few examples of things that are on our agenda.

With the announcement that gamigo also holds the global publishing rights, including for North America, the community has started to hope for regional servers that will provide smoother gameplay because of the direct internet connection. What can you tell the community about that?

Yeah, there certainly will be regional servers. In the initial Beta test, we will be looking closely at the latency and will then decide where, exactly, these servers will go, but in the EU as well as on the East and West Coasts of the USA are for certain.

Along those lines, the question was also raised in which language BLACK PROPHECY will be offered. Will we be able to zoom across the universe in French, Italian or Spanish too?

We'll be starting with German and English, but there are a lot more to come. Next will be Spanish, Italian, French, Polish, Turkish and Portuguese, but we're also looking into Russian, Korean and Chinese.

A very important question raised by the community is whether or not there will be a box version or even a Special Collector's Edition of BLACK PROPHECY.

Yes, it's in planning. Details are still being discussed, but there are plans for a Collector's Edition. We definitely would like to see it happen. We're all gamers and as such we like to have the box on our shelf. We're also planning a few goodies for the Special Edition.


You can read the transcript of the entire discussion here.

Check here all you need to know about Black Prophecy. And visit its official website.

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