Seattle-based game publisher Meteor Entertainment is ready for Wednesday’s global launch of much-anticipated Hawken and they will use micro-transaction firm Live Gamer for its back-end virtual economy payment platform.
Live Gamer helps online game companies pull in revenue from their content and provides a targeted ad platform. The New York-based company will power Hawken’s virtual economy of goods, where gamers can purchase virtual items with a 27 payment options in 49 currencies.
Hawken is an online multiplayer shooter game similar to Halo that’s free to play, with game players forking over cash for add-ons such as one-time explosives and character customizations.
As CEO of Meteor Entertainment, Mark Long has big things in store for the Seattle game publisher, including a worldwide release slated for tomorrow — 12/12/12.
“You see 10 seconds of video on YouTube, and you’ll get why Hawken is going to be a hit,” Long told us in October. “You just look at it, and say: ‘I’ve never seen anything like this.’ It is visually disruptive.”
Since Meteor is bypassing the traditional game publishing model, tomorrow’s worldwide launch will be released in 20 languages.
“It is a really rare opportunity to reach completely upstream to the consumer — to go direct to consumer,” said Long, adding that they plan to release the title in China in the second quarter of next year.
To make sure the Hawken launch takes off as planned, Long and his 75-person team pulled in $18 million in funding from the likes of Rustic Canyon Partners, Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital. The latter two investors are noteworthy because they were backers of League of Legends publisher Riot, which sold to China’s Tencent for more than $400 million last year.
Long, who previously founded Seattle-based Zombie Studios, thinks Hawken has what it takes to fill the shoes of League of Legends, perhaps even overtaking the online gaming franchise. He anticipates more than $100 million in revenue, and between five and 10 million game players next year.
“That’s the plan,” says Long when asked whether he thinks Hakwen can be bigger than League of Legends. He called the free-to-play business model “extremely disruptive,” and one that is now “just crashing onto our shores.”
“I think it is going to completely change everything” in the game industry,” said Long. “The rise of the model on smartphones and tablets shows that the market is getting even bigger.”
Meteor has another game title under development, with a third expected to go into production some time next year. The 75-person team is split between Seattle and Pasadena, where president and lead developer Khang Le is based.