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News & Features Discussion  » [General Article] City of Heroes: Profitable or Not?

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252 posts found
  Tanemund

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/29/09
Posts: 83

1/04/13 11:16:59 AM#21

It's hard to credit anonymous sources.  That goes double when the anonymous sources are saying things that everyone wants to believe in the first place.  Nothing sells like a conspiracy theory and nothing pushes a conspiracy theory like an anonymous source.

 

Like it or not the fact we pay to play these games does not give us an ownership interest in them.  If the people who own the game want to shut the game down for any reason they have every right to shut it down.  "It's not making enough money" is a pretty good explanation of why the game was shut down.

 

I like MMO hotstove as much as the next guy, but this milk is spilt.  I understand it's news, but it seems all we're doing is breading more mistrust and hatred for gaming companies here.  Actually that might make a good article; the love/hate relationship that exists between gamers and game makers.

Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.

  TheQuinch

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/12
Posts: 22

1/04/13 11:20:25 AM#22

Did I delete my own post? Oyyy... okay, let's try again.

-cricks knuckles-

Let's try to dissect this sucker. First, I'll try to quickly run through some of the anonymous info with what we've dug up before. Some of it is also anonymously sourced, so take it for what it's worth.

The rough revenue is on target - it can be confirmed through NCsoft's own revenue reports. Going hybrid-F2P was also a profitable move, publicly confirmed by devs on every occasion it was brought up. Retention rate was a little lower than stated here - around 90% monthly. Clayton also tried to arrange Paragon buying itself from NCsoft, confirmed by Positron in open interview. The existence of the side project was an open secret for years, though details have been scarce - this info is the most we've ever gotten, I think. The $80 million price tag was confirmed by parties who approached NCsoft, in addition to contractual provisions that nobody in their right mind would sign. No idea about the actual operating costs, but devs have confirmed before the shutdown that the pay was on the low end of the scale, and that CoH was mainly a labor of love for them.

And now, on to our ever so lovable liars. Though I do so very much appreciate that they finally took the time to actually say something.

"The studio was unprofitable before the shutdown." - Oddly enough, up until now, NCsoft has gone out of their way not to say that the studio was unprofitable. In each of their previous casualties - Auto Assault, Exteel, Dungeon Runners and Tabula Rasa - they cited low subscription numbers and lack of interest as the reason for the shutdown. City of Heroes was signed off with a "realignment of company focus and publishing support" which quite honestly means absolutely nothing. While they stopped publishing subscriber numbers some time ago, the revenue was equivalent to around 60,000 $15 a month subscribers, a healthy income by any standard.

"While we looked to sell the franchise multiple times, we were unsuccessful in finding a suitable partner that we thought would support City of Heroes’ fans in a manner they were accustomed to for years to come." - Let's disregard the fact that the studio itself tried to buy itself out for the moment and analyze that sentence. It means that somehow, closing the game entirely and making sure that it stays closed is somehow preferable to it being sold to someone who might not live up to the expectations. Not only that, but that they still think they know the fans well enough to make that decision. Nevermind that now CoH's players nearly unanymously treat NCsoft with complete contempt.

"but the game and community will remain in our memories" - Frankly, that's what we're counting on.

"We truly thank our fans for their years of support and we hope they understand the difficult position we were in when making the final decision." - Given the fact that NCsoft has never given us a reason for making that decision in the first place, it's pretty hard to be sure we understand their position. But if the dots we've been connecting for the past four months are anything to judge by, I'm pretty sure that us understanding their position does not in any way help their case. Given the moonlit burial in the backyard the game was given, it's far more likely they were expecting everyone to quietly shuffle off to Guild Wars 2 rather than speak up, let alone shout.

  spitfire1064

Novice Member

Joined: 12/01/07
Posts: 61

1/04/13 11:21:57 AM#23
Originally posted by Tanemund

It's hard to credit anonymous sources.  That goes double when the anonymous sources are saying things that everyone wants to believe in the first place.  Nothing sells like a conspiracy theory and nothing pushes a conspiracy theory like an anonymous source.

 

Like it or not the fact we pay to play these games does not give us an ownership interest in them.  If the people who own the game want to shut the game down for any reason they have every right to shut it down.  "It's not making enough money" is a pretty good explanation of why the game was shut down.

 

I like MMO hotstove as much as the next guy, but this milk is spilt.  I understand it's news, but it seems all we're doing is breading more mistrust and hatred for gaming companies here.  Actually that might make a good article; the love/hate relationship that exists between gamers and game makers.

He's anonymous cause if he gives his name he's gonna be taken to the cleaners.

  jtcgs

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/28/04
Posts: 1843

1/04/13 11:24:27 AM#24

All I see is someone trying to vilify NCSoft.

CoH did NOT have a high retention rate, that is why the servers were merged, because of the LOW POPULATIONS. Their forums were filled with complaints about how the game was losing too many players and they were ASKING for the servers to be merged to help with the population problems.

That alone is enough to debunk what this person was saying as nothing more than a disgruntled employee...or fan, pretending to be one.

“I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  spitfire1064

Novice Member

Joined: 12/01/07
Posts: 61

1/04/13 11:26:36 AM#25
Originally posted by jtcgs

All I see is someone trying to vilify NCSoft.

CoH did NOT have a high retention rate, that is why the servers were merged, because of the LOW POPULATIONS. Their forums were filled with complaints about how the game was losing too many players and they were ASKING for the servers to be merged to help with the population problems.

That alone is enough to debunk what this person was saying as nothing more than a disgruntled employee...or fan, pretending to be one.

Wait......when were the servers merged? when did i miss that?

  Starsman

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/18/12
Posts: 14

1/04/13 11:29:02 AM#26
Originally posted by Rthuth434 

yet all their reports show aion pulling in more money than CoH.

CoH was pulling about two times what  Guild Wars 1 was pulling (look at NCSoft reports.) Why is Guild Wars 1 still running then?

  TheQuinch

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/12
Posts: 22

1/04/13 11:31:38 AM#27
{I done screwed up the posting. Ignore this}
  Rthuth434

Novice Member

Joined: 12/26/12
Posts: 367

1/04/13 11:32:24 AM#28
Originally posted by Starsman
Originally posted by Rthuth434 

yet all their reports show aion pulling in more money than CoH.

CoH was pulling about two times what  Guild Wars 1 was pulling (look at NCSoft reports.) Why is Guild Wars 1 still running then?

CoH costs exponentially more to run, always did. plus when both were in their earning primes there was a dimensional gap between what they pulled in in GW's favor.

  Grakulen

Staff Writer

Joined: 3/07/12
Posts: 440

1/04/13 11:35:11 AM#29
Guild Wars 1 costs could be next to nothing meaning it has a higher proffit margin.
  Starsman

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/18/12
Posts: 14

1/04/13 11:36:56 AM#30
Originally posted by jtcgs

All I see is someone trying to vilify NCSoft.

CoH did NOT have a high retention rate, that is why the servers were merged, because of the LOW POPULATIONS. Their forums were filled with complaints about how the game was losing too many players and they were ASKING for the servers to be merged to help with the population problems.

That alone is enough to debunk what this person was saying as nothing more than a disgruntled employee...or fan, pretending to be one.

 

There was NEVER a server merger in CoH. You may be thinking about the consolidation of all servers into a single data-warehouse hosted in the US, before that EU players were forced to play on servers that had their own datacenter, without any ability to ever roll a character to play with US friends. The merger allowed people to play in any server from any region, that was all that ever "merged."

This alone is reason to debunk your grasp on the game, you don't even realize that servers never merged yet pretend to know the community's feel?

  cmgangrel

Novice Member

Joined: 11/14/07
Posts: 150

1/04/13 11:39:40 AM#31
Originally posted by Starsman
Originally posted by Rthuth434 

yet all their reports show aion pulling in more money than CoH.

CoH was pulling about two times what  Guild Wars 1 was pulling (look at NCSoft reports.) Why is Guild Wars 1 still running then?

Why kill a title that linked (as in gave some bonuses in Guild wars 2 for completing stuff in Guild Wars 1) to the sequel that was recently released?

Does this mean that NCsoft/Arenanet *wont* shut down Guild Wars? Who knows, but I am not expecting to stay around forever. In fact, Arenanet quite possibly have more *power* with NCsoft than Paragon Studios ever did.

I personally give Guild Wars 1 another year or 2 before it gets shuttered, if it does get shuttered, or Arenanet depart from the NCsoft stable (and to be fair, it does look like they could fairly easily do that, seeing as Arenanet now manage the Guild Wars 2 accounts themselves (or at least that is the impression that the NCsoft Master account page gives... Guild Wars 2 doesn't appear on it).

I am going to be intrigued by the upcoming financials (should be released soonish from what I can remember)

  Rthuth434

Novice Member

Joined: 12/26/12
Posts: 367

1/04/13 11:40:18 AM#32
Originally posted by Grakulen
Guild Wars 1 costs could be next to nothing meaning it has a higher proffit margin.

yep. 20 million dollars invested in 2000.....team of ~30 employees as of ship...sales in excess of 7m and a cash shop. CoH probably had 6x the wages to be paid, cost of what was considered AAA back then, bad retention, much lower sales.

  Rthuth434

Novice Member

Joined: 12/26/12
Posts: 367

1/04/13 11:42:39 AM#33
@ cmgangrel: it's just a sloppy web page. NCSoft master account is linked to GW2 once you sign in the support page.
  Starsman

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/18/12
Posts: 14

1/04/13 11:43:24 AM#34
Originally posted by Grakulen
Guild Wars 1 costs could be next to nothing meaning it has a higher proffit margin.
 

GW1 still has a dev team. Hosting costs are "nothing" for everyone involved Removing CoH servers didn't save any money. MMOs are expensive to maintain if you run only one, the more you run, the less impact each has, because the real overhead is on paying for the datacenter that  you need whether you have one game or 20. In fact, closing CoH simply increases the effective hosting cost of all other games that remain live, GW1 included

Also, given the intense level of development sunk into GW2, ArenaNet was heavily on the red for a long time

Paragon Studios had a 80 man team, but about half that team was dedicated to that LostCraft MMO.
 

  Asamof

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/04
Posts: 738

1/04/13 11:46:17 AM#35
NCsoft tried, but I guess the FREEMEEMUM conversion still wasn't enough
  TheQuinch

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/12
Posts: 22

1/04/13 11:46:47 AM#36
Originally posted by jtcgs

All I see is someone trying to vilify NCSoft.

CoH did NOT have a high retention rate, that is why the servers were merged, because of the LOW POPULATIONS. Their forums were filled with complaints about how the game was losing too many players and they were ASKING for the servers to be merged to help with the population problems.

That alone is enough to debunk what this person was saying as nothing more than a disgruntled employee...or fan, pretending to be one.

 

Ho boy, you have no idea what you're talking about, do you?

First off, the servers were never merged - the server lists were merged. Originally, NA and EU servers operated on separate lists - the game was the same, but a player with an EU version of the game couldn't play on the US servers, and vice versa. Eventually they were desegregated - that was the "merge".

Originally posted by Rthuth434
Originally posted by Akais

I'm inclined to think of this as an issue or profit margin rather than profit as well.

NCSoft has a history of axing games that don't trend to their expectations when it comes to profit margin. 

What I don't entirely understand is why the game couldn't get sold.

It seems silly to me that NCSoft would turn down any potential profits able to be realized with the sale of a game with an installed and rather loyal fanbase. There are tons of companies that would pay handsomely for this. Likewise,  the IP is so niche that it's highly unlikely NCSoft will ever use it again constructively.

 

 

...what if EA was looking to buy? i'd rathjer kill it then and most would agree. seriously couldn't have been any decent company looking to take it on. would you want to see a company like Ubisoft or Microsoft run a mmo again?

 

The main goal of the #savecoh movement is to get the game sold to a responsible owner. Selling to EA would be a Pet Cemetary scenario.

Originally posted by Gishgeron
Originally posted by erictlewis

I sit here and wonder, if the game was truly making a profit then why shut it down. Usually you only shut down a game that is going down the toilet. In case we had a few games this year that should have been closed but are still going.

So I am left to wonder why they did this as from what I could tell there were making a profit. So that leads to other questions to why.

  Simply making a profit is not enough, thats why.  Your overhead is going to increase each year.  If the game is already on a downward trend, and you have exhausted all your options to try and pull it back into an upward trend, then you have to make choices.  It WAS profitable.  It was getting less profitable each year, while the cost to maintain it was going up.  Before the game began to leech money from other ends of their company, they closed it.  This way they could use that money to help something else, instead of the other way around.

 

Are you familiar with the term "maintenance mode"? Very few businesses - and MMOs almost never - simply pull the plug at the first time of trouble. You get warning signs - updates slow down, servers merge, layoffs - CoH had none of that. One week, a brand new powerset and an expansion in open beta. The next day, everybody's fired.

Originally posted by niceguy3978
I could be wrong, but isn't this the first time that NCSoft has come right out and said that the game was not profitable?  Before it seemed like it was just inferred from the fact that the game was shutting down.

 

Yep - not to mention they also said it when the game was slowly turning a profit, as it was the case with Tabula Rase which, while not the breakout hit they were hoping for, was still slowly paying itself off. If briefly.

Originally posted by Rthuth434

the game was NOT profitable. they were paying more in wages alone than the game pulled in for a few years now

Check NCsoft's own revenue reports. Either that's not true, or NCsoft paid the developers as though they were its own execs.

{hint: it's the first}

Originally posted by Volkanik

I really don't understand the need for the continual dissection of why City of Heroes was closed down.  Look at the player number figures from around Q3 of 2009 and you'll see a steady trend downward.  It was an old game that people gradually stopped playing.  Simple as that.

 

This is a point of contention - and a lopsided one, too. I'm not sure if you've been around since Freedom hit, but going F2P drew in a LOT of new and old players. It was also more profitable, as evidenced by a much faster rate of content expansion, from costumes to new issues.

 

Originally posted by Alphamojo
I'm akin to believe they didn't want to fund CoH in light of their newer MMO's coming out, as it's resources could be put forth to maintaining the newer ones.

 

Except CoH wasn't recycled - everyone was fired and the IP sequestered. There was no attempt at all to reuse any element of the franchise, either from personnell or code.

  Rthuth434

Novice Member

Joined: 12/26/12
Posts: 367

1/04/13 11:46:59 AM#37
Originally posted by Starsman
Originally posted by Grakulen
Guild Wars 1 costs could be next to nothing meaning it has a higher proffit margin.
 

GW1 still has a dev team. Hosting costs are "nothing" for everyone involved. Removing CoH servers didn't save any money. MMOs are expensive to maintain if you run only one, the more you run, the less impact each has, because the real overhead is on paying for the datacenter that  you need whether you have one game or 20. In fact, closing CoH simply increases the effective hosting cost of all other games that remain live, GW1 included.

Also, given the intense level of development sunk into GW2, ArenaNet was heavily on the red for a long time.

GW2 has already made up the cost of its production. 

  jtcgs

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/28/04
Posts: 1843

1/04/13 11:52:04 AM#38
Originally posted by Starsman
 

There was NEVER a server merger in CoH.

 http://wiki.cohtitan.com/wiki/Servers

The European servers were merged with the American servers because of LOW POPULATION ISSUES. They had to open the game up so all players around the world could chose to play with those in other areas. Even their own WIKI shows 9 of the 15 servers with LOW populations even AFTER the world merging of servers.

And YES, it is a MERGER...even THEY called it one.

Right here on this very site as well as others there is an article that in Sept of 2008 City of Heroes had 125,000 subscribers, according to a press release by Paragon.

125,000 x 14.99 per month =  $1,873,750 x 12 months = 22,485,000

As SAID BY THE PERSON TELLING US THEY RETAINED 95%+ of its subscribers yet at the same time told us it made $12,000,000.

12 million is NOT 95-98% of 22.4 million.

This person is a flat out LIAR, I dont CARE if the game was GOOD or not or deserved to be shut down or NOT...he is a liar.

“I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  cmgangrel

Novice Member

Joined: 11/14/07
Posts: 150

1/04/13 11:56:05 AM#39
Originally posted by Rthuth434
@ cmgangrel: it's just a sloppy web page. NCSoft master account is linked to GW2 once you sign in the support page.

I never had to log into my NCsoft account page to buy the game. In fact, you *can* play Guild Wars 2 without having an NCsoft account.

 

Does this mean that if you never have to use the support page (which I haven't), then it will never be linked up to an NCsoft master account?

  spitfire1064

Novice Member

Joined: 12/01/07
Posts: 61

1/04/13 11:56:08 AM#40
Originally posted by jtcgs
Originally posted by Starsman
 

There was NEVER a server merger in CoH.

 http://wiki.cohtitan.com/wiki/Servers

The European servers were merged with the American servers because of LOW POPULATION ISSUES. They had to open the game up so all players around the world could chose to play with those in other areas. Even their own WIKI shows 9 of the 15 servers with LOW populations even AFTER the world merging of servers.

And YES, it is a MERGER...even THEY called it one.

Right here on this very site as well as others there is an article that in Sept of 2008 City of Heroes had 125,000 subscribers, according to a press release by Paragon.

125,000 x 14.99 per month =  $1,873,750 x 12 months = 22,485,000

As SAID BY THE PERSON TELLING US THEY RETAINED 95%+ of its subscribers yet at the same time told us it made $12,000,000.

12 million is NOT 95-98% of 22.4 million.

This person is a flat out LIAR, I dont CARE if the game was GOOD or not or deserved to be shut down or NOT...he is a liar.

Ummmmm.....no it was not a merger. In fact they created a new VIP server, and just added the European servers to the main list. No server was merged with another.

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