Will ArcheAge live up to its expectations?

ArcheAge, the MMORPG that drew much attention as a prospective blockbuster, is now officially targeting Chinese-speaking regions. On November 10th, XL Games (CEO: Jake Song), the studio that is developing ArcheAge, announced that it signed a publishing contract to provide GigaMedia with exclusive publishing rights to service ArcheAge in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. GigaMedia, enlisted on NASDAQ, is a major provider of online entertainment services that also operates FunTown, one of the biggest game portals in Taiwan. GigaMedia also owns T2CN, a leading online game operator in China, and IAHGames, a prospective online game publisher in Southeast Asia. GigaMedia and XL Games are strategic partners as GigaMedia announced an investment in XL Games in 2007 through which GigaMedia secured some strategic rights.

ArcheAge accumulated much public attention even before the completion as Jake Song, known as the “father” of Lineage, is being directly involved in the development of ArcheAge. After he quit NCSoft, he established XL Games and ArcheAge is the first work to be released under XL Games’ name. ArcheAge has already been exported to China (Tencent) and Japan (GameOn). ArcheAge’s publishing contract with Tencent in this September was especially an attention-grabbing deal and for some time, raised some excitement in the gaming industry. The deal was estimated to have involved approximately USD 50 million to 60 million in total, recording the largest numbers in Korean game export history after NCSoft’s Aion deal with Shanda.

In Korea, ArcheAge has recently gone through its second CBT, and reactions towards the second test were quite favorable contrary to the first CBT carried out in July. Users generally liked the degree of freedom that ArcheAge allowed for its users; From customizing the look of their characters and their capabilities (there is no class system in ArcheAge; users have a variety of skills to choose from and they can create their very own one-of-a-kind characters from the mix) to shaping their own worlds by planting trees and creating naval ships, users are provided with a great amount of freedom in ArcheAge.

ArcheAge, now having undergone two CBTs, will be released to the public again in this year’s Gstar conference, held this very month. The official launch of ArcheAge is scheduled for late 2011, but may be bumped up to early 2011. As one of Gstar’s Big Fours along with NCSoft’s Blade and Soul, Blizzard’s Diablo 3, and NHN’s TERA, ArcheAge continues to build up anticipation from users worldwide expecting another blockbuster from Jake Song.

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