The winter release is here! Over the last two weeks, the questions about when the holiday art and furniture were coming out have become more and more frequent. Cephalopod reports getting tells from half of Ice every time there was a new release reboot message asking if the holiday release was here yet. Oceanmasters were getting an increasing number of holiday related petitions, too.
What you may not know about the holiday furniture is that the new frosty fir and recolorable ornaments and bows were a very recent addition. They were not originally planned, but a suggestion from Seville about combining the new enamel colors with the holiday furniture had Cephalopod working feverishly into the early hours of the morning to produce the customizability we currently enjoy.
It's heartwarming both that people remember the holiday furniture and goodies from last year so fondly that they are clamoring for them again, and that our player retention is successful enough that we have people from a year ago and longer around to remember the items and festivities of winters past.
To those of you joining us more recently, welcome! We hope that you find the festivities and items enjoyable and charming, even if you are currently enjoying summer weather.
I'd like to wish a happy anniversary to our German friends on the Opal Ozean, as Opal opened just over a year ago, on December 8th. It's been a very fast year and Endymion and Thalia have been two fantastic and much-beloved additions to the OM team.
A bit off of game topic, last year we had a competition called 'Santa Rampage' which was named after the Santacon tradition of dressing up as "bad" Santa Clauses and company in cities over the world and drunkenly taking to the streets. Our CEO and Cap'n Cleaver ran into such a group of drunken Santas one evening in a bar in Key West and the rest, as they say, is history and buttless chaps.
I am pleased to report that Santa Rampaging is thriving, and that over 13,000 Santas converged in Derry, Ireland last weekend. San Francisco is scheduled for its yearly invasion this coming Saturday, December 15th.
I hope that Puzzle Pirates continues to promote community and sociability this season as well as the rest of the year. While we try to give players things that they want and can be excited about, such as seasonal items and themed gifts that they can give to their friends, we also try to keep things in balance by not being excessive or tasteless, or by spending too much time making fancy items for the sake of promoting spending and collecting versus development time making new features that can be enjoyed by everybody throughout the year.
I really like our environmentally friendly holiday trees (0% organic! Long-lasting and extremely compact!) but I like that we spend a lot of time developing and trying to make things fun instead of marketing and promoting even more. I like that the holiday release and themed items came out in December, rather than the middle of October. (I take the anticipation and gentle tells that folks wanted the holiday things to come out soon as a good sign, as opposed to people rolling their eyes and boycotting the palace shoppe!) I like that virtual gifts like music files and online cards can now be exchanged to convey cheer and affection without necessarily using resources like paper and plastic wrapping. Without getting on a soapbox, I hope that all of you have a great time for the rest of 2007, that you get to visit friends and family, and that you celebrate holiday eating, drinking, and spending in good quantity, good cheer, and good balance.
It's been another wonderful year working with this company and working for you. Thank you all. ~Hypnos