The Coming Age of Conan

Two articles over on Massively over the weekend hint at the future of Age of Conan.

The first speculates on how, exactly, Funcom is going to try to use the new film to get the game some marketing exposure. Certainly, it’s a golden opportunity to raise the game’s profile. The film release would be the perfect time to either launch a new expansion or to move to some kind of free-to-play deal; either would give the game a big injection of new interest. Funcom’s annual report stated that there will be “significant content and story tie-ins with the [new Conan] movie.”.

The other rumor deals with the aforementioned possible expansion, sparked by the sudden and magical appearance of two new region names in the game’s player finder tool. Although I have to wonder where “Ardashir” might be found in Hyboria. But Turan… well, I’d happily ditch my current Ranger for a Turanian archer a la Subotai.

One of the posts over on the forum thread speculating on new developments states that 2011 will be a make-or-break year for AoC. With this I have to agree. Even if the film is not a huge hit, it’ll get some mass-market publicity that’s tough for a video game to get unless it’s a high-profile console title.

AoC is on a cusp right now. Numbers are still fairly strong but the population is very topheavy and there’s a need to get a new influx of people into the lower levels beyond Tortage (which is fairly well-populated thanks to the Unlimited Trial.)

Personally, I’m rooting for both an expansion and a move to free-to-play. With the movie starting to spin up its marketing and the rumors flying, I would hope we’d see some kind of announcement out of Funcom in the next couple of weeks.

4 responses to “The Coming Age of Conan

  1. Good Post. The coming of the movie has already renewed my interest in jumping back in.
    I will definately re-sub, especially if it means higher populations for a while.

  2. Something worth noting is that I’m playing at way off peak times, and when I’ve been on there’s been people there in the mid levels. Not a ton of people, but some, and I’ve found people to group with, people to gank, and people to get ganked by.

  3. Mmmm…I worry you are using “positive” language when it comes to populations (at least your words seem to say this)…

    “AoC is on a cusp right now. Numbers are still fairly strong but the population is very topheavy”

    This makes it sound like there is a large population, or at least a suitable pop in the higher levels. This is not the case, and actual facts state…

    “Despite the decline in revenues in 3Q and 4Q for Age of Conan, and an associated impairment charge for
    the game at year-end of 2010, the game is cash flow positive”

    Can read more here…
    http://l3cdn.funcom.com/funcomportal/pdf/investor/2010/Funcom_annual_report%202010_whitepaper.pdf

    That does not scream “numbers fairly strong”, especially with a decline in revenue, which equals lower subs. But, thanks to some moves on Funcoms part, they HAVE cute costs considerably…so, your numbers could mean “money”, which they seem to be positive in…whatever that means (lol).

    As to the impairment, that was due to development work on the engine to get it ready for whats coming (and help with changes from Secret World development)…more on that can be found in previous reports.

    Since Funcom is public, we can get more info than we normally do on most MMO’s. As of this point, AoC may not be hurting Funcom…but, it sure does not have a positive sign of increasing “subs” either.

    Hope all of this development pays off, and Funcom sets AoC “FREE” …………..to play.

  4. @Elementalistly: That’s why I said fairly strong. Ironicallly, I base that conclusion partially on your data. 🙂

    There’s no question, though, that AoC could use more players at all level ranges. There’s no such thing as too many, especially with AoC instanced zones. I’m hoping for a big-splash announcement soon.