After only fully launching last year, it has been announced that the sandbox development / simulation video game Project Spark (Developed by Team Dakota and Skybox Labs) has begun its transition into becoming a completely free service, with the transition period set to end on October 5 2015.
This is a shift from its previous free-to-play model into a free-and-open creation platform, meaning that previously paid downloadable content will be unlocked for free. This does however mean that Microsoft will shift from producing additional downloadable content / action future development to “encouraging more user generated content and opening the Project Spark experience”. This is most notable in the fact that no new episodic adventures are in the works, including future Conker’s Big Reunion chapters.
According to Microsoft, Project Spark has seen over 200,000 creators who have shared “tens of millions of custom objects, behaviors and experiences”, in addition to “anywhere between 300 and 400 new games” uploaded on the Project Spark service per day.
The shift does mean that all players who have purchased Project Spark digital content on or after July 28 2016, purchased a retail disc and activated it by product key redemption on or after July 28 2015 or have a remainder balance of purchased in-game tokens will be entitled to a Microsoft Store credit equivalent to their money spent. These credits will be awarded automatically within 30-60 days after October 5.
Project Spark will receive an update on October 5th, which is set to receive a number of features including:
- The maximum terrain limit in creations has been further doubled
- The maximum prop limit in creations has been increased by 500
- 200+ new assets will be added in game, including a dragon, goblin warlord, bog biome and a set of new primitive building blocks
- Each creator will now have a total of 100 Upload Slots for their creations
- UGC ranking will be based on downloads and favorites, instead of upvote/downvote ratings
- The Project Spark Marketplace has been removed
- The Project Spark Tour and Treasure Trove have been removed
- Achievements have been revamped for players and creators