Away from the rocking band in West Hall, NCSoft had a special presentation of some of their upcoming titles. First on the list is Dungeon Runners, a live action 3D MMORPG that aimed at casual gamers and hardcore gamers a like. In Dungeon Runners players do not lose experience points when they die and they get a free teleport back to town. Also healing is sped up so players are always in the middle of action. The game’s setting is based in a medieval fantasy world, which should pull in the Guild Wars audience. Exteel is a fast paced mech combat game. Sort of like a massively online Gundam game, Exteel lets players customize their robots for combat. Add on gun turrets or missiles to make the ultimate battle machine then try it out against other players online. Soccer Fury is a 3 on 3 extreme soccer title, that is sort of like Fifa Sport. The game lets players focus on controlling the soccer ball, shooting goals and beating up the opposing team. Soccer Fury allows slide tackles and some hand to hand combat on urban courts. Finally there’s Smash Star an online tennis game with cute characters instead of battle hardened warriors. Smash Star lets players lob tennis balls with magical powers. Players can also alter their equipment to optimize their performance or show off their style. All four of these games are strong entries into the online PC market, but NCSoft has one more trick up their sleeve.
All of these games are free to download and play. No monthly subscription fee to pay or even a one shot Research at the store. Instead NCSoft plans to fund these titles by using micro payments. The micro payment system has made games like Gunbound and Maple Story profitable. Take Maple Story as an example. After initially downloading the game and getting hooked into the universe players want to customize their characters. Many players buy extra equipment or outfits to individualize their avatar. NCSoft may have similar plans to fund their next line up, but the profitability for all four games is a bit hazy. The real question is if their unique titles like Soccer Fury, Smash Star and Exteel can capture a niche audience large enough to build a community.