Sunny, 77 degrees, azure blue skies, the coconut scent of Hawaiian Tropic, hotdogs, frothy cold drinks, the crack of a bat, peanuts, cotton candy, a roaring crowd, leather gloves and dust...
Major League Baseball has come to Arizona for Spring Training 2009. It is a nearly religious experience for the legion fans that follow favorite teams to our desert Mecca. Spring Training is an annual excuse to take a "sick" day for we desert denizens who call Phoenix home. It is a singularly spectacular event for all who love the game.
As if the headiness of the experience isn't enough, GamesCampus representatives showed up at Tempe Diablo Stadium to introduce their new game before the Angels took on the Mariners. What? How do computer gaming and the ultimate outdoor game work in harmonious tandem? You'd be surprised.
Games Campus is bringing Major League Baseball to your computer in a big way. GC marketing representatives Hanna Jung, Henri Duong, Chris Ahn and David Chang were on hand to show off Major League Baseball Dugout Heroes, the first officially licensed MLB game for PC.
While not specifically a traditional MMO, MLB Dugout Heroes will undoubtedly be massive in its scope and in the numbers of players it is bound to attract. It is decidedly and absolutely multiplayer. And Dugout Heroes is only playable online. Add quests into the mix and, well, you definitely have the makings of a terrific sports-themed MMO that is willing to go up against any console baseball game out there.
For those unaware of the recent history of MLB Dugout Heroes, the game was originally developed in Korea by Neowiz. North American publisher GamesCampus worked together with Major League Baseball and Neowiz to ink a deal bringing the MLB brand to Dugout Heroes. The game's announcement hit the airwaves last November.
As originally developed for the Korean market, the game consisted of only eight teams. Since November 2008, the herculean task of localizing Dugout Heroes has taken place alongside the closed beta test. Developers have worked hard to bring the game up to MLB's thirty-three teams, English voice acting, and modeling hundreds of players both past and present. Additionally, team stadiums of from yesterday and today have been introduced into the game.
I had a long interview opportunity with the GamesCampus marketing team led by Executive Vice President for Market and Business Development David Chang and Assistant Manager and PR contact Hanna Jung. I also met senior marketing manager Henri Duong and marketing specialist Chris Ahn. Chang felt that it was imperative that the entire marketing team make the trip. It didn't take a genius to see this team's utter commitment to and enthusiasm for MLB Dugout Heroes. The whole team, despite a tiring day at the ballpark, happily talked about Dugout Heroes.
The closed beta included approximately 10,000 players participating and the number, according to David Chang, has at least doubled since the open beta began on March 19th though he did not have the hard data available. Additionally, and directly due to the GamesCampus presence at Spring Training in Arizona, local downloads and connections from this area have spiked dramatically.