Online Outlined: Paradox Connect Announced

By Quintin Smith on August 26th, 2010 at 3:59 pm.

From left to right: the inside of Jim's head, John's head, Kieron's head and Alec's head.
Paradox Interactive, publisher of Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Magicka, Mount & Blade and many other fine PC-exclusive titles has announced its very own online networking service will be entering beta later this year. Entitled Paradox Connect, it’s designed to give Paradox fans more of an online identity, with achievements, a virtual gamer card and an online collection of their games.

Paradox has stated the move is absolutely not a form of DRM since the whole service will be entirely optional, and that it ties in with a shift in the company towards online games and downloadable content. They also say that if you buy Paradox’s games on Steam, the achievements will be making an appearance as Steam achievements. Bandwagon jumping then, but a leisurely, sensible kind of bandwagon jumping where the bandwagon comes to a complete stop and lowers an access ramp first. Full press release after the jump, and an interview with Paradox CEO Fred Wester coming up next week.

And just between you and me, Fred also said that the company was interested in designing their Achievements with creativity and a sense of humour. That’s always nice to hear.

Paradox Interactive today announced Paradox Connect, the umbrella brand for all of Paradox Interactive’s online activities. Customized for Paradox users and games, Paradox Connect creates a seamless experience between in-game play and between game sessions.

Paradox Connect will be effortlessly integrated within the central hub of the Paradox community – the forum. Players that already have a forum account will automatically be a part of Paradox Connect.

Being connected to Paradox Connect means being able to take part in a host of new game experience enhancing features. Besides the forum, Paradox Connect will naturally be connected to other social media where the Paradox community can be found such as Facebook and Twitter.

The first feature of Paradox Connect to be introduced is Paradox Achievements – Players will be awarded points and rewards for great feats in Paradox games.

“We’re really excited about adding achievements to our games” Says Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive. He continues; “Our gamers are amongst the most dedicated out there and achievements are a great way to reward that dedication. Besides, our games are really well suited for achievements and the completionist gamers. I bet we’ll have an achievement for conquering the world as Tibet in Hearts of Iron 3, and those who manage to get it will want to showcase it. With Paradox Connect they’ll be able to show their friends who really is the greatest strategist.”

Achievements will be the first of many gameplay benefits Paradox gamers will enjoy via Paradox Connect.

Paradox Connect is scheduled to start its beta cycle in Q4 2010.

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50 Comments »

  1. Tei says:

    Haha.. I love how the suits can’t repeat the success of the internet. The ones that created the interned, made it possible with open protocols that everybody can use and connect. And now the suits are tryiing to follow, but all that can create is closed gardens. Pfff…. these that ignore the Metcalfe’s law, are doomed to extinction.

    • dadioflex says:

      I wish I could get crazy drunk on a Thursday. Just saying.

      “Metcalfe’s law states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system”

      Valuable to who? Suits? No-one owns the Internet so who owns the value if you don’t corral a bunch of the users somehow?

      Tell Facebook that walled gardens don’t work. Tell Apple, and their App Store and iTunes, how dumb they’re being.

      Seriously. A five minute walk and I could have me a box of wine. I’ll fake a server emergency in work tomorrow… spend all day in the server cage… no-one need know…

    • Tei says:

      Internet value is proven, because people pay to be connected to it, or people pay to be in it. Closed gardens, since are closed, are less valuable, and less people would pay to be in, or connected to it. Thinks Second Life.

      The people that built closed gardens want to be Bridge Trolls… Tolls. And exercise a tax on everything that moves, simply by providing the platform, and having godlike powers on it.

      Apple has his store, and now Google has his store. But both are smaller than the internet. The money that Google get from Internet is greater than the money that get from the shop. I can’t say if the money Apple get is greater, since don’t have interest on the internet.

      A shop that would merge the Google and apple store would be more valuable for Apple and Google. But since business can’t share toys, don’t get that. Business need to control everything for short terms gains, so in the end can’t built something like the Internet that created much more value (for Google, for you, for me) than everything Apple Store will produce for Apple.

      I don’t say a closed garden is a bad thing, is better than not garden at all. is just that making that garden closed is a waste of potential.

    • Auspex says:

      @Malibu Stacey: Well you can see that 90% of people have completed the first world so at most 38% of people who actually played the game completed it. I imagine this is useful info to developers.

    • Auspex says:

      Argh I replied in the wrong place! The above was for Malibu Stacey below…

    • RedFred says:

      If Google and Apple join forces, I’m done. DONE.

  2. bill says:

    Steam achievements confuse me. I don’t understand their point.

    The whole concept of achievements is a little odd, but (from what i hear of it) I can understand how they use it to appeal to people. But my steam achievements seem to come and go (into some form of black hole – never to be seen again) so fleetingly that I barely notice.

    Maybe it’s cos I don’t have lots of friends or groups on steam – but i’ve yet to actually ever see any form of useful presentation of achievements – for myself, or anyone else.

    • Vodka & Cookies says:

      Achievements are mostly a console thing they started out in the PS2 era as skill points in games like Ratchet & Clank but were much more difficult to achieve so only very dedicated players would ever get them (rewards were access to concept art and other stuff).

      Microsoft saw this and copied the idea making it mandatory for all Xbox 360 games and dumbed down the level of difficulty to acquire them so basically everyone got some of them. Their spread to the PC is a simply a byproduct of a new generation accustomed to them as they are present on other platforms.

      There’s no particular reward in it now unless your an obsessive compulsive person and gotta get them all.

    • Schaulustiger says:

      There are only a few good implementations of achievements, TF2 is one such example. In most games you get achievements for normal progress (complete a level, etc.) which is quite redundant since the game itself should reward you for that. TF2, however, has a lot of achievements that reward actions overseen by the game itself. A perfect example: You get an achievement for dominating someone (killing someone three times in a row without him killing you) who shortly afterwards leaves the server. When I got this achievement, I chuckled because I wouldn’t have noticed if it wasn’t for the achievement.

      Achievements are not necessary for meto enjoy a game, but sometimes they can provide a certain enjoyment themselves – even if it is as meta as gaming can get.

    • Norskov says:

      And achievements makes for some interesting stats, for example only 34 % of the Braid owners on Steam have completed the game: http://steamcommunity.com/stats/Braid/achievements/

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Those stats can be misleading though. How many people who own Braid on Steam actually purchased it directly rather than as part of a bundle? Does “% of all players” mean all the players who have it in their Steam account or all the players who’ve downloaded & installed it or all the players who’ve launched the game at least once?

      I’ve certainly purchased it & downloaded it but I’ve yet to launch it as I prefer to wait until I can give games a proper go & I have quite a few titles in mid-game which I want to get finished first before starting a new title. Do I count against that 34% or not in that case?

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Achievements can be used to make some observations and raise some questions. For example – how many percent of people have an achievement for finishing the 1st campaign of L4D, and why the number is lower for the 2nd one, and so on? Another kind of observation is – they can learn about some technique, or surprising move (if they’re not hidden, which happens sometimes). Also, they can be just a metaplaying fun, like with Anno 1404/Dawn of Discovery, where you can get an achievement for most stupid thing you did. Like playing a game for 500 hours total.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      The best implementation of achievements that I know of would be the ones in World of Warcraft. You can access them ingame, and there are quite a few who encourage you to try something different instead of just ‘do x 1000 times’. Let’s hope Valve takes up the challenge and overtakes them again with Portal 2. :)

    • Norskov says:

      @Malibu Stacey
      I’m fairly sure that you counted as one of the 66% that haven’t finished it, even though you never installed it. Going by the 90% that finished Chapter 2, I’d say that 10% haven’t played it at all which is quite a lot too.

      I agree the stats can be misleading, but the margin of error aside it’s still interesting in my opinion.

    • bill says:

      My post got kinda mangled.

      What I meant was that I can kinda see the appeal of the XBOX achievements – where they show up on your gamertag (i hear – i don’t have an xbox) and contribute to some form of overall gamerscore. But steam acheivements just seem to disappear.

      I noticed a fleeting achievement pop up in the corner when I was playing Bob Came in Pieces, but missed it. It then took me about 20 mnutes of searching through every screen in steam to try and track down what it had been – and there seemed to be no easy way to see how many achievements I’d earned, or what they were, or how they compared to other people.
      And I seem to remember that i could see the general achievement stats for a game, but not my own, or my friend’s for that game.

      So steam achievements don’t even seem to have the bragging value of xbox achievements. Or am i missing something obvious?

    • Bleh says:

      @ Bill It’s easy to check Steam achievements.. Go to the Community tab and then games, then “View Stats” on a game that has the option, if it has achievements you can see what you have and what you do don’t.

  3. Ysellian says:

    Seems like an unnecessary extra, but it’s still fun to see it being added to their games nonetheless. I’ve been buying a lot of paradox games lately and this can only help fuel my enthusiasm for them more.

  4. rocketman71 says:

    Yawn.

    This social shit already cost us SC2 LAN and cross-region play, due to Pardo or some other idiot suit thinking copying Facebook was a good idea. Now every company seems to think that we don’t want the game but the achievements and the friends. Enough fucking already.

  5. ChaK_ says:

    Another one wanting a piece of steam’s monster cash pile.

    I prefer steam, and I like centralising my games in one place

    • Bremze says:

      I don’t understand, why anyone would do this when usually brick and mortar AND most other DD services are cheaper. Then again I try to avoid paying extra for convenience.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Some of us are busy enough not to need a new game the day it’s released & are happy to wait for a sale on our digital distribution system of choice especially since it will give us the added convenience along with the cheap prices.

    • sfox says:

      Yeah seriously, have you seem some of Steam’s sales?
      Some of their sales are so nuts I almost feel like I’m ripping them off by purchasing through it.
      I rarely buy games at full retail price, I only do that for games in my favorite franchises.

    • Carra says:

      Games bought at full price on steam: 0
      Games bought at ridiculous sale prices on steam: about 150

  6. Demi says:

    I really like how it’s optional as opposed to being a forced drm. It makes it so if you really like a game of theirs, buying it will only increase the experience, rather than making it harder on the people that actually do buy it, it’s trying to convince pirates to buy their games. I think this is a genius idea and if we see more things like it, it will decrease piracy for sure.

  7. Skurmedel says:

    If it’s optional, what is there to complain about. I would moan if it became mandatory or some kind of DRM but common sense has obviously prevailed in this matter. It seems the forum connection will be the centerpiece and I can see why; last time I checked there was a lot of activity in the Hearts of Iron forums.

    IMHO BNet in StarCraft 2 is a bit intrusive though, and Steam too sometimes. They should be more transparent.

  8. sana says:

    Paradox games don’t strike me as attracting the type of player that is into social networking.

    • terry says:

      I’m not so sure. Paradox games involve an enormous time/attention commitment and don’t really lend themselves well to sitting in a server browser waiting for a complete stranger to connect. If they’re aiming for a ranked mode and ladders etc, I could see it being like chessbase for organizing ranked chess matches, and a pretty valuable tool for corralling likeminded players.

  9. Delusibeta says:

    Apparently, the online modes of Paradox’s games demands a Paradox forum account. Also, apparently they’re going to hang this service on said forum. So, yeah, for the end user there shouldn’t be much of a difference.

  10. Kommissar Nicko says:

    I think that if there was enough variety in the achievements, I could really get on board with this kind of thing. I can safely say that I’m a Paradox whore, and almost compulsively buy their shit whether I like it (Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron, and Mount & Blade) or not (broken Victoria II and that godawful Supreme Commander 2020, I’m looking at you).

    So yes, bring on the achievement for being the first to colonize the New World as the city-state of Danzig! As if I wasn’t getting laid enough before!

    • TariqOne says:

      Well played!

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Very true, though Im puzzled by the broken Vicky 2 statement. Its something Ive heard from a couple of people the last few days, but my (admittedly brief ) experience it seems to be remarkably stable for a new paradox release. It may just be that my humour/sarcasm meter is rusty.

  11. K says:

    I hate achievements. If they are not exceptionally well done (TF2 being the sole exception I could cite), they add nothing to the game, use up developper time and transform some of my more compulsive friends into braindead monkeys.

  12. Emil Eriksson says:

    While I’m all for competition and everything, I hate using more than one service…

    • dadioflex says:

      Doesn’t sound like it’s obligatory, sounds like it’s opt-in. It’s an escalation of the old registration post-cards games came with. I won a side-winder joystick for sending one of those in.

  13. kenoxite says:

    What game does the first guy (red suit, big red moon behind) belongs to? Sword of the Stars, maybe?

    • RakeShark says:

      Possibly the upcoming sequel, the current SotS has a fairly distinct MSPaint+GIMP feel in regards to their flat art.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      yeah, it’s from the new sword of the stars. the games on that pic are, swordofthestars2 crusaderkings2 magicka and lionheartkingscrusade

  14. Bald Space Marine says:

    -achievements
    - online “identity”

    Oh boy, here we go again.

  15. Freud says:

    I am not a huge fan of all this social networking and achievement hunting happening currently. It is forced and I think the games companies are chasing something (Facebook) that simply doesn’t translate all that well to the preferences of gamers.

    That said, I think Paradox has a pretty homogeneous customer base with somewhat specialized interests where it makes more sense than in other cases. Making it easier for players of heavy strategy titles to find other players for multiplayer will add value to their games.

    Best of luck to them.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Well said that man!

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Why do they even think we want that nonsense is beyond me.

      Okay, okay.. the social aspect I get, and some people do fancy achievements.. but it’s like they’re convinced everybody wants it. Connectivity(?) seems to be the word of the day.

  16. Malibu Stacey says:

    Not bothered, still going to buy their games on Steam unless they start making them exclusive to Gamersgate. At least they’re not throwing their toys out of the pram like Stardock with the so called “Impulse Reactor” just because Steamworks exists & works very well & thus encourages game dev’s to use it.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      this is probably just going to be a page with stats on connect.paradoxplaza.com, attached to the existing paradoxplaza forum accounts, that gets info sent by the games. you can make a forum account on paradoxplaza and register your paradox games on there with the serial keys regardless of steam. nothing here is going to be a separate client

  17. utharda says:

    I’m guessing that the achievements and social trappings are the product of peer pressure. If paradox connect provides a centralized match making service, so I can go in and find an opponent(s) for say eu III, hoi III, vicky 2, or crusader kings, that would be of value.

    Now that thats done, back to unifying Germany, under Sweden’s iron fist.

    I love you eu iii.

  18. Saiko Kila says:

    What kind of optional it will be, that’s the question. If that’s the “you can have it any color so long as it is black” kind, then it wouldn’t be so fine. For example if it would be needed for multiplayer or something.

  19. Gritz says:

    What’s the point of achievements in a game where every save file can be endlessly modified with notepad.exe?

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