Business has been booming for Wargaming.net when you compare their presense last year at E3 to this year. Last year, they had a rather small booth with a limited presense on the floor. Sure, they brought a couple of World War II era tanks and parked them out front of the convention center, but the their footprint in the convention center was on the small size. This year, they had a booth that was four times the size of last year's booth. The booth was completely on par with some of the big companies at E3, more fascinating when you realize that Wargaming.net releases all their games as free to play titles. Pay for cosmetic upgrades or special vehicles, but other than that, you can play completely free.
Last year, their hotness was World of Tanks, which has an active community of 450,000 concurrent active players at any one time, and has been deployed in 203 countries. Their subscriber base has risen up 89% and the company has grown from a couple hundred people to almost a thousand in ten studios worldwide. This year however, we were here to see the latest announced title that had just entered closed beta in World of Warplanes.
As with World of Tanks, World of Warplanes will start in the early World War II era with bi-planes, migrate into a propeller age and then finally the early jets of the Korean War. Stopping at the Korean War was more to keep the authentic feel of pilot control as later jets are fly by wire with plenty of computer assists. Here, skill is determined by the player and how well they learn to control the planes they are flying. Controlling a plane can be done with a keyboard, mouse, a gamepad or a joystick, or a combination of those in tandem. The game is about flexibility for both new players coming in, as well as those that want feel right at home with a complex, hardcore flight simulator. Although the game is in a closed beta, World of Warplanes is looking to late 2012, early 2013 for a release, and will be completely free to play on PC.