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Interviews

APB: All Points Bulletin

We speak to RealTime Worlds boss, Dave Jones...

Dave Jones will forever hold a key position in the history of the UK games industry.

A co-founder of Rockstar North, he played a major role in the creation of GTA - and had a hand in the development of Lemmings and Shadow Of The Beast whilst at Psygnosis.

The achievements at the top of his CVG are every bit as impressive. Having set up Dundee Studio RealTime Worlds in 2002, Jones and his team created the critically-acclaimed Crackdown for Xbox 360, released in 2007.

Jones and Realtime's latest opus, APB (All Points Bulletin) is released on PC next month - and promises to be a mix between GTA's open world action and Warcraft's intuitive MMO interface.

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The game has become as notorious for its never-before-seen payment system as its story - which pits hoodlum Criminals again no-nonsense Enforcers.

Here, Jones answers our questions about the game - and hints at where the franchise could go in years to come...

We covered the APB payment model in great detail on CVG, but some of our readers were still confused - with many unsure if they could still play the game without paying a penny. Could you clear it up for them?
It's a new model so I can understand why it takes a little time to understand. The answer is yes, some people will be able to play without spending a penny.

They would do this by selling either items they have created, or items they have earned, to other players on APB's auction house. APB runs two auction houses, one in normal in-game cash (similar to gold in MMOs) and one in RTW Points, which are the points you can buy game time with. It's up to the players whether they want to sell or buy from either auction house.

We think it's a great way for those people who spend a lot of time in the game to benefit from those who maybe have less time but are happy to pay RTW points for some creations/rewards.

You're obviously very optimistic about the payment model vs. traditional MMO systems. What sets this apart - and how does it benefit the gamer?
Two key ways; flexibility and value. For players who want to spend hundreds of hours online per month we have one of the lowest monthly charges around. For players who just want to stock up on some game hours, and play a few hours some weeks, maybe none for the next few weeks, we offer a low cost way to do that, and the beauty that there is no time limit on when their hours need to be used by.

On top of that, the auction house as mentioned even offers another way to potentially earn game time.

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You've said a console version is still possible. We heard the same from the creators of Champions Online, Conan, Warhammer, Star Trek Online etc. - but it never did... Are you telling us a similar fib?
No fib, it's just a lot more complicated than the PC market. Console markets are closed markets, unlike the PC. This means we have to work alongside the console manufacturers on areas such as dedicated servers, billing, VoIP, local storage etc.

Then we need to look carefully at how the console version will be different from the PC version. No keyboard, limited local storage etc. So all of these issues need a lot of time to address, and of course some may just not be addressable which is why many of the titles your have mentioned have never made it to console. We are still very positive on the prospect though.

Can an MMO ever truly succeed on home console? What do you think needs to happen to create an environment where this can take place?
We don't class APB as a traditional MMO but we do believe there is a market for games like APB where rather than relying on peer to peer multiplayer gaming, players want a much higher quality of service with more players on dedicated servers.

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