Posted on 2008-12-30 by sirstarNo comments
Victor Wachter, formerly the Community Relations Manager for Cryptic Studios, recently left his position at Cryptic and took a job with Outspark, the company behind Secret of Solstice, Fiesta Online and more.
Recently, MMORPG.com had the opportunity to speak with Victor not only about his decision, but about Outspark as a company.
MMORPG.com: First of all, what prompted your move from Cryptic Studios to Outspark? Victor Wachter: That was a tough decision. Cryptic has some great games in development and has a bright future. But when I met with the exec team at Outspark and heard the vision, I was intrigued. Afterward, I checked out the community and found that there's a huge group of fans out there that would be incredibly fun to work with. It's a new business from what I am used to, but it's an opportunity to be a part of a company that is defining a new space in online games.
MMORPG.com: Why, in your opinion, is the free-to-play market looked upon less favorably by the north american "hardcore" MMO audience than their pay to play cousins? Victor Wachter: To start, there's comfort in familiarity. We're bringing games to the North American market that don't have the long history of the most popular franchises we're all familiar with. So, there's some education that needs to occur, letting people know that we bring high quality and fun games to market. I think that will become more and more apparent as we roll out more games in different genres, like Project Powder and Blackshot.
MMORPG.com: Are communities different for F2P games that P2P, and if so, how? Victor Wachter: I don't think they're really all that different. At the end of the day, whether you're paying a subscription or playing for free (and whether or not you're buying cash shop items within F2P), it's a group of gamers who want to log in and have fun.
There are always differences that exist because of the specific game you're playing, but I don't think the business model changes the character of the community that much.
MMORPG.com: Can you tell us a little bit about Outspark as a company? Victor Wachter: Sure. Outspark was founded in 2006 by our CEO Susan Choe. Since then, we've released our two RPG's, Fiesta and Secret of Solstice, in North America. The vision is create a virtual playground of games and begin a social community around them. We run all of the operational functions for those games, including Community, Customer Service, Marketing and in-game events. We have several more games in the pipeline as well.
MMORPG.com: Localization is often an issue that people bring up when they talk about F2P games, How, if at all, does Outspark handle this? Victor Wachter: We maintain very close ties with the game developers and work with them to make the game accessible and appealing to our market. We have a small staff working locally with the developer to ensure that we accomplish that goal.
MMORPG.com: What does Outspark offer to players that other Free to play studios do not? Victor Wachter: The vision behind Outspark isn't to just release a bunch of games. Anyone can do that. We want to take the game community a step further and become a social space for people to meet up, show off their characters and post their game art and video. We just launched our new portal, which is the first step to making that a reality.
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