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The Future of “Dead Island” Soon to Come in “Epidemic”
The desperate fight for survival continues.
This week, Deep Silver announced that they are working on a free-to-play, PC only Dead Island ZOMBA (Zombie Online Multiplayer Battle Arena) entitled Dead Island Epidemic. The information is coming out in a limited fashion, but from GameSpot posted on August 7th, more details will be released upon the game’s announcement at Gamescom 2013 in Germany(1). Additionally, we know that the game will feature 3 teams of players facing off.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of this new information, the question is, “what does it mean?” Well, let’s bullet point what we know and unpack this. Three things we can look at are as follows:
- The current success of MOBA games
- The efficacy of free-to-play games
- The choice to make the title PC only
First, MOBA games are, without a doubt, very successful right now. When one thinks of this genre, one can easily refer to several games currently in the limelight: the ever-growing League of Legends is a leader in this field. Several other titles such as Heroes of Newerth and DoTA 2 are strong competitors in this market as well, and set the precedent that this style of game is accessible and successful.
Secondly, free-to-play is something of a magic word in the online game world. Consider the reevaluated method of Star Wars: the Old Republic, and the benefit that adding a free-to-play option gave to its community. Consider the “South Korea Model,” where games are default as free-to-play, but allow the players to purchase in game benefits to improve their experiences. More and more, game communities are adopting a free-to-play approach, and they keep strong communities for it.
Finally, we get the choice to make this a PC development. Dead Island was, of course, designed for console play originally. Thanks to online stores such as Green Man Gaming and Steam, Dead Island made its way to PC in a manner similar to the migration of other big titles. But what does it mean for an initially console-based franchise to instead create a PC only game? Well, I can only speculate on this, but here’s my breakdown: the console-only crowd will be left out of this, but the very large MOBA crowd will certainly latch on, so they could potentially balance out the player base or even increase it.
In conclusion, this bit of news is certainly an interesting take on Deep Silver’s Dead Island franchise. We know that the choice to be free-to-play and PC only is going to have certain impacts on fan base and number of players. Until we see the unveiled product at Gamescom, we won’t be able to really gauge how this plays out… But there’s no doubt that Dead Island fans will have their proverbial noses to the wind.
- “Free-to-play Dead Island Epidemic Revealed”; Makuch, Eddie, 2013; http://www.gamespot.com/news/free-to-play-dead-island-epidemic-revealed-6412624