Matthew Roszak

In The Press Blog

Will Outspark be stuck in gaming’s middle with Divine Souls?

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Outspark has been trying to carve out a role in the middle of the online game market for five years. Today, it’s launching a new online action game called Divine Souls that it hopes will spur demand for online market games with faster action and better graphics.

A lot of online games are stuck in two dimensions, or they cost a lot of money, or they take a huge amount of time to play. Outspark’s games are free-to-play, but the company’s betting that the quality of Divine Souls is so good, it will lure in players at both ends of the market: those who are tired of casual games and want more and those who are tired of spending a lot of money on games that take forever to master.

Of course, Outspark could also be hammered by rivals at both ends of the online game spectrum — casual Facebook game companies such as Zynga and hardcore massively multiplayer online game makers such as Blizzard Entertainment. Outspark’s bet is that the middle of the market isn’t a No Man’s Land.

Will the game be popular? It all depends on how fast you want to see the action when you’re pummeling a monster with one sword stroke after another in a kind of endless chain of attacks. Susan Choe, chief executive of San Francisco-based Outspark, calls her target market the “mid-core gamers.” These include both downloadable and light-download browser-based games where users can start playing for free but pay real money for virtual goods in small transactions as they progress.

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