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

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252 posts found
  ukase

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/04/13
Posts: 1

1/04/13 7:39:14 PM#141

Greetings. Allow me to give my opinion.

First - know that the servers were never merged, per se. The European servers were modified so that anyone could play on them, they were never merged.

Did CoH make money? Yes. Were they profitable? I believe they were.

The question is, "what is NCSoft's required rate of return for each Won?" (A Won is the Korean currency, like our US dollar.)

I don't know the answer to this question. From my perspective - and only my perspective - sitting in front of my computer daily from about 4pm central to about 10pm central on weekdays and midnight or so on weekends, it's my opinion that on Liberty, there were only about 120-130 players on a regular basis. To be clear, players that were not "hidden" - which is something a lot of folks did to avoid annoying invitations or tells from unknown players.

Based on that, I am thinking that there were probably 1500 to 2000 players on average playing the game at any one time. Obviously, these are not the same people playing all day every day. (that is obvious, isn't it?)

Was the game in a state of decline? By no means. Did a lot of players leave CoH to play Champions? Yes. Many came back. Some split time.

Did a lot of players leave CoH for SWToR? oh my - a TON of people - at least a great many people I teamed with left for that game. All these departures hurt. The game was probably hurting before f2p, and those departures certainly didn't help.

Did f2p help CoH? No, not really. They did help NCSoft make more money, but free to play didn't help a lot of players have a better play experience. Some did eventually subscribe, but a fair amount played for free, never once using the cash shop. I'm sure some of those who subbed used the cash shop as well.

  The closing of CoH is really not what most of the CoH playerbase is upset about. It's the lack of a credible response from NCSoft. All they had to do was say, "We're sorry, but with the weakness of the US dollar and the economy being what it is, CoH isn't making enough money for us."

Sure, some are going to be sad or mad, regardless. But there is a reason a lot of people are upset. It's this vague and nebulous "refocusing". If the game was losing money, I am of the opinion they could have just said that and we'd be upset for a bit but then get over it. NCSoft's statement of closure made it seem like they were just closing it because they could.

Further reasons many are anti-NCSoft is the fact that none of their closed titles get played anywhere else. If they don't like the Superhero MMO idea, then sell the rights to the game. Or license it out for someone else to support.

That's just my two cents -- all yours for free!

And be advised again, all of the above are my opinion. None of them are wrong, just different.

  microc

Novice Member

Joined: 4/26/12
Posts: 1

1/04/13 8:00:31 PM#142
I found city of heroes last year. one problem with ncsoft and coh was ncsoft did not spend any money promoting coh. dc univers and marvel has more promotion then coh did. issue 24 was in final beta and issue 25 of the game was ready to go to beta. people like myself were waiting to by the new power sets. (bio armor). the last power set water blast was a big hit. the last 3 months of the game ncsoft killed the game...no new accounts...could not buy vip membership to show ncsoft that game could be saved. I was on the servers on the last night..there we so many people on them virute server crashed 5 or 6 times and global chat crashed.my biggest beef with ncsoft is they did not give coh any time to meet there goals.
  Hoplites

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/08/06
Posts: 441

1/04/13 8:20:35 PM#143

If this article is considered "journalism" I am Brigitte Bardot.  I am  with the others NCSFOT has earned a bad reputation and I think has sinked this reputation in the western market IMVHO.

Boycotting all NCSOFT products is a very good idea.

 

 

  someforumguy

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/25/07
Posts: 3449

1/04/13 8:21:29 PM#144

Just like when SOE decided to pull the plug on SWG, you will never learn the real reason. It wouldn't matter anyway,

With a decision like this they expect some player outcry. To actually change the decision, it has to be really massive.

In the end those companies are just like any commercial company where profit prospects rule. Which isn't an exact science.

  Noyjitat

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/12/07
Posts: 40

1/04/13 10:56:39 PM#145
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.

I played the game for many years (it was my first MMO and the only one that held me more than a few months), so believe me when I say I was as saddened to see it go as anyone, but there seems to be an unwillingness by many to accept the very simple facts about its demise.

Seriously, let it go already.

Yet another clueless expert. Why would we be looking at 2009 since that was right after the pvp changes. Ofcourse things were bad then for awhile.

Did you play from freedom launch until the end? Did you know about the paragon market and its huge success at generating way more money than subscribers ever generated? Did you notice the servers becoming more and more crowded even before the announcement? At one point alteast 2 servers were always in the red (nearly full mark) while the rest were yellow with one or 2 sometimes being green. And the vip server was often full.

This game wasn't dying. Subscribers and player population were increasing with every issue update. Some players and subscribers were easily spending 30 - 50$ a month on the market (some every week) When you break numbers like that down a 50$ purchase is like buying 3 months of the game.

The game wasn't dead, nor was it dying. Had further development been allowed to continue the game population would of only continued to grow and they would still be making that extra revenue that they don't seem to care about.

,

  jimdandy26

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/28/12
Posts: 559

1/04/13 11:05:38 PM#146
Originally posted by Noyjitat
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.

I played the game for many years (it was my first MMO and the only one that held me more than a few months), so believe me when I say I was as saddened to see it go as anyone, but there seems to be an unwillingness by many to accept the very simple facts about its demise.

Seriously, let it go already.

Yet another clueless expert. Why would we be looking at 2009 since that was right after the pvp changes. Ofcourse things were bad then for awhile.

Did you play from freedom launch until the end? Did you know about the paragon market and its huge success at generating way more money than subscribers ever generated? Did you notice the servers becoming more and more crowded even before the announcement? At one point alteast 2 servers were always in the red (nearly full mark) while the rest were yellow with one or 2 sometimes being green. And the vip server was often full.

This game wasn't dying. Subscribers and player population were increasing with every issue update. Some players and subscribers were easily spending 30 - 50$ a month on the market (some every week) When you break numbers like that down a 50$ purchase is like buying 3 months of the game.

The game wasn't dead, nor was it dying. Had further development been allowed to continue the game population would of only continued to grow and they would still be making that extra revenue that they don't seem to care about.

[citation needed]

The games own financials do not paint that picture.

I did battle with ignorance today, and ignorance won.

To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled - because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance.

  User Deleted
1/04/13 11:13:30 PM#147

Geez, can we just let it go already.It's over.

This is worse than seeing Kim Kardashian plastered all over the media.

  Noyjitat

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/12/07
Posts: 40

1/04/13 11:17:49 PM#148

That data you're reading isn't even the same data were talking about. Because that data isn't available to you or anyone outside of ncsoft to view. You can't see profit totals. And of the data that is actually available it doesn't include cashshop profits.

I won't try to argue with a bunch of clueless fools however. I mean how could you understand if you were not even playing the game.

,

  jimdandy26

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/28/12
Posts: 559

1/04/13 11:29:34 PM#149
Originally posted by Noyjitat

That data you're reading isn't even the same data were talking about. Because that data isn't available to you or anyone outside of ncsoft to view. You can't see profit totals. And of the data that is actually available it doesn't include cashshop profits.

I won't try to argue with a bunch of clueless fools however. I mean how could you understand if you were not even playing the game.

So everyone is a fool because according to all of the data we do have you are incorrect? Care to offer something besides your own anecdotes as evidence? And you would actually be incorrect in that assumption. I played at release and left right before CoV was released and went to WoW (Hamidon showed me just how awesome raiding was) and came back a couple months ago due to a number of players attempting to tell me how awesome the game was (housing and complete lack of challenge) and I wanted hands on experience. Suffice it to say, with the f2p restrictions and still complete lack of challenge or really anything to play for (except badges?) I can say I was no having a good time with how antiquated the game felt. Seeing that they had not changed any of the powerleveling, and having entire power sets that really offered no real reason to bring to groups left me very soured. The only thing I can say that actually felt awesome was the super speed/super jump travel powers. The rest of it sucked.

I did battle with ignorance today, and ignorance won.

To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled - because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance.

  GrayGhost79

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/30/08
Posts: 4885

1/05/13 12:19:06 AM#150

The question isn't whether the game was profitable, obviously it was. The question is was it profitable enough in NCSofts eyes to continue the game, the answer to that is obviously not. 

 

They have to weigh whether the cost of of maintaining the game and servers, continued development, and the hefty cost of marketing and advertisements to keep new players coming in is worth the level of protit gained. I mean if you can trade a 20 dollar bill for 25 dollars thats worth it, having to drive 25 miles to do so changes that. There are variables in play that you simply can't know without being part of NCSoft. 

Marketing alone is going to be hefty and yield little to no profit in the long run. With the age of CoH and the fact that there are competing games in the same genre and sub genre it decreases the effectiveness of marketing and advertising the game. 

Marketing alone can end up costing them around $500 per new player. What that means is that before any return on that marketing and advertising investment is seen they need to get $500 from each of those new players. 

 

If CoH was profitable enough to warrant keeping it up and running, NCSoft would have kept it up and running. To think otherwise is asinine. Companies just don't decide to quit making money. What has happened is simple, NCSoft with access to data we do not, decided that CoH was not profitable enough to warrant the continued costs and drain on other resources and man power. 

 

It's business, it's not like they suddenly decided they hate CoH players and shut the game down to spite them even if it cost them a great deal of money. 

I'm assuming most of you in this discussion are adults. Act like it for gods sake. 

 

 

  Moe4871

Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/10
Posts: 42

1/05/13 1:04:41 AM#151
Originally posted by GrayGhost79

The question isn't whether the game was profitable, obviously it was. The question is was it profitable enough in NCSofts eyes to continue the game, the answer to that is obviously not. 

 

They have to weigh whether the cost of of maintaining the game and servers, continued development, and the hefty cost of marketing and advertisements to keep new players coming in is worth the level of protit gained. I mean if you can trade a 20 dollar bill for 25 dollars thats worth it, having to drive 25 miles to do so changes that. There are variables in play that you simply can't know without being part of NCSoft. 

Marketing alone is going to be hefty and yield little to no profit in the long run. With the age of CoH and the fact that there are competing games in the same genre and sub genre it decreases the effectiveness of marketing and advertising the game. 

Marketing alone can end up costing them around $500 per new player. What that means is that before any return on that marketing and advertising investment is seen they need to get $500 from each of those new players. 

 

If CoH was profitable enough to warrant keeping it up and running, NCSoft would have kept it up and running. To think otherwise is asinine. Companies just don't decide to quit making money. What has happened is simple, NCSoft with access to data we do not, decided that CoH was not profitable enough to warrant the continued costs and drain on other resources and man power. 

 

It's business, it's not like they suddenly decided they hate CoH players and shut the game down to spite them even if it cost them a great deal of money. 

I'm assuming most of you in this discussion are adults. Act like it for gods sake. 

 

 

This.

 

 

Everyone needs to fricking grow up. I'm tired of all the crying. I'm tired of all the "vengeful threats" toward NCSoft. I'm tired of all the dissecting of the game's shutdown. CoH was my first MMO and I loved it, but it's closure doesn't make me sad. Why? Because I'm an adult and I don't let a freaking computer game control my emotions and the way I live.

Alot of these boycotters and protesters need to sit down and think about how much of their time they are wasting. All these movements just to avenge CoH are fruitless simply because the followers are caught up in the emotion of the game's sunset. Eventually, all the passion and fervor will wear off and everyone is back to their lives having moved on. There have been a couple of very enjoyable and promising MMOs that were closed. Although they are mentioned occasionally, they are no longer a controversy, and it will eventually be the same case for City of Heroes. Sorry, but that's just how it goes. If a game closes, find another one.

 

  WildFire15

Novice Member

Joined: 12/15/12
Posts: 12

1/05/13 6:40:56 AM#152
Originally posted by 3-4thElf
Originally posted by WildFire15
Originally posted by 3-4thElf

I bet the software for City of Heroes 2 is out there.

After the business shuffle NC's going through finishes we'll get it. I mean competing sequel MMOs never panned out as a good idea.

I don't think it ever left the planning stages, sadly

Hey if people can think 9/11 was an inside job and Elvis was an alien then I can dream..

But I can say I remember seeing some inside info of my own 2 years ago to the contrary. Might have evolved into the Minecraft/LOST sort of game. Still, the IP still exists. If it's purchasable someone could make a profit from a part duex.

I might be wrong, but the most I heard of a possible CoH2 was that it was shot down fairly earlier (I think there's some concept art floating about). I think the planned systems did evolve into something else, so you might be right.

  FrodoFragins

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/29/10
Posts: 2709

1/05/13 7:07:39 AM#153

It's often a case of "profitable enough".  They'd rather spend their money elsewhere I guess.

 

But you have to call BS on the statement that they chose notto sell it because the buyer couldn't maintain the quality CoH players came to expect.  How is shutting down the game permanently a better solution for the players?

  Wraithone

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 3545

If you can't kill it, don't make it mad.

1/05/13 7:09:30 AM#154
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.

Its not a simple matter of making a profit.  That profit has to be sufficient to match the suits expectations.  That gets into all manner of value judgements.  Bottom line, NCsoft did what its suits decided to, and neither Paragon nor its players have any recourse.

What IS known how ever, is NCsofts past record of axing western games. If I remember right, its five or six at this point. 

That being the case, a western studio would have to be ignorant and/or desperate to choose NCsoft as their publisher. Neither of which bodes well for the studio or its players.

Especially these days when Nexon is their largest share holder. Nexon makes NCsoft look saintly...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-08/nexon-buys-685-million-stake-in-ncsoft-becomes-biggest-holder.html

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 9934

I've become dependent upon spell check. My apologies for stupid grammatical errors.

1/05/13 7:41:46 AM#155


Originally posted by jimdandy26

Originally posted by Noyjitat

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. I played the game for many years (it was my first MMO and the only one that held me more than a few months), so believe me when I say I was as saddened to see it go as anyone, but there seems to be an unwillingness by many to accept the very simple facts about its demise. Seriously, let it go already.
Yet another clueless expert. Why would we be looking at 2009 since that was right after the pvp changes. Ofcourse things were bad then for awhile. Did you play from freedom launch until the end? Did you know about the paragon market and its huge success at generating way more money than subscribers ever generated? Did you notice the servers becoming more and more crowded even before the announcement? At one point alteast 2 servers were always in the red (nearly full mark) while the rest were yellow with one or 2 sometimes being green. And the vip server was often full. This game wasn't dying. Subscribers and player population were increasing with every issue update. Some players and subscribers were easily spending 30 - 50$ a month on the market (some every week) When you break numbers like that down a 50$ purchase is like buying 3 months of the game. The game wasn't dead, nor was it dying. Had further development been allowed to continue the game population would of only continued to grow and they would still be making that extra revenue that they don't seem to care about.
[citation needed]

The games own financials do not paint that picture.




CoH was hovering around 1% of NCSoft's total earnings. GW2 is something like 25% or 50% of their total earnings. Advertising both games on a site like MMORPG.com would cost exactly the same for both games. The expected return for GW2 would be much greater than CoH. Why would NCSoft expend that money on CoH?

Once games get to a certain age, games don't have a good return on investment for advertising or even expansions. The games get a bump in sales, but the sales then return to pre-bump lows. That's what CoH's financials show. A game that wasn't going to get more sales*, advertising or no.

* They did have $95k more sales per quarter after the F2P transition compared to before the transition. That would take the game from $10m a year to $10.4m a year. Apparently, that wasn't enough.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  TeknoBug

Novice Member

Joined: 10/13/07
Posts: 2164

1/05/13 9:03:24 AM#156

After what NCSoft did to Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa, I'm not sure what to think of it. They're more interested in Korean-based mainstreams.

  Soraellion

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/06
Posts: 562

The voice of reason

1/05/13 9:20:05 AM#157

Not saying I know wtf I'm talking about (I don't) but to me this makes the most sense.

 

The studio was working on a new title, this was probably not looking too well (missing deadlines or just being problematic or crap). Result is that if you try and sell COH to someone else you're kinda forced to sell the new IP in one go as well as it's all intertwined in the same studio.

 

Whether or not the game was profitable I don't know but it seems to make sense that interest has been dying out after the initial f2p surge (I came back to and spent a bunch of cash on stuff but as usual with COH I took a break from t the game 3 months later). It makes no sense to expect a healthy, paying player base if it doesn't catch on properly.

 

So if it WAS profitable they could see profits going down and expecting it to go negative fairly soon, and they couldn't sell COH on its own as they'd have to sell the new IP in the same go. I'm fairly sure there'd be parties interested in COH but, on review, refused to pay top dollar for the new  project that came with it.

 

 

I'm not a fan of NCsoft, far from it, but I'm fairly sure that they had good reasons, business wise.

 

 
 
 
 
  Beatnik59

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 2060

"Playing things I shouldn''t be playing since 1977."

1/05/13 10:54:24 AM#158
Originally posted by Moe4871
Sorry, but that's just how it goes. If a game closes, find another one.

 

Just so the "other one" can close as well?  For how long ought we enjoy the things we pay for onine?  Eight years?  Two years?  Two days?  Two hours?  Given the Damocles sword hanging over every game, how much money should a person throw into these things, knowing that it might all get taken away tomorrow?

The day before the shutdown decision, people were spending money in the Paragon Store, making decisions to delay levelling in favor of building bases, cancelled their subscriptions (temporarily) and re-upped their subscriptions.  They made these decisions based on the assumption that the things they enjoyed would still be there for a long time.

They made these decisions based on what they knew.  But if they knew the truth, that they wouldn't have an opportunity to enjoy CoH for much longer than a few months, they might not have made all of the decisions they did: to buy costumes, to level up alt characters, to forego content consumption in favor of building bases or acquiring salvage components, or spending hours perfecting AE arcs.

I see the Richard Aihoshi article on the "two problems nobody's talking about," but those two problems are dwarfed in comparison to the problem the CoH case reveals:

How do we get consumers to be enthusiastic about spending time and money in this entertainment model when the things they buy and enjoy can be taken away so easily?

It's a problem we've had since the beginning, but it wasn't a problem people really thought about.  Those first games, after all,(Everquest, Ultima Online) didn't pack up and go away.  This gave us the illusion that our time and money spent in games like City of Heroes wouldn't go away.  But as time goes on, it's becoming obvious that these things can go away and every day we play might be our last.  If CoH can close, the majority of MMOs today--and in the future--are in danger of closing as well.

Zynga also announced it's closing thirteen games this week.  If the threads here on MMORPG.com are any indication, the CoH closing is having an effect on Wildstar as well.  And can you blame people?  They want to know the game isn't going to fold in a year.  Because if you know the game is going to fold quickly, you don't make the same kind of  purchase and use decisions as a game that won't go away.

Truly, I think posts like yours, Moe, underestimate the impact of the CoH cancellation.  I've seen games close before, but this one seems different.  It is as if, for the first time, players are starting to reject the notion that "how it goes" is acceptable anymore.  Because, if CoH closes, then there's no reason to believe the next game won't close in an ever worse way.

__________________________
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  Hoplites

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/08/06
Posts: 441

1/05/13 1:17:44 PM#159

City of Heroes was profitable.  Was it profitable enough?  That is why it went towards the freemium model IMVHO, or more precisely it was the catalyst for such a change.  The freemium model proved to generate a lot of monies, and thus created the basis for the freemium model used for Lineage 2 NA months later. 

City of Heroes in my guestimation was shut down because it simply wasn't a Korean MMO.  Simply as that.  Lineage 2 NA profits margins are far fewer than CoX but it stills remains.  The impact of shutting down L2 NA would severely effect confidence with investors for the Asian market where L2 is still a powerhouse.  The L2 brand name would be tarnished so they let it be.  Not convinced?  Look at the shutting down of L1 NA to show that confidence in L1 took a nose dive after that happened.

So, yes we have a right to boycott any NCSOFT game they publish just like they have a right to turn off the switch to any game.

Don't support a publisher like NCSOFT if they choose to have a myopic view of only catering to the eastern market.  They have proven that they are killer of MMOs in the western market and that infamous legacy you can't run or hide from.  More specifically you can't turn the switch off as it will always be there.

 

 

 

  Pheonyx

Novice Member

Joined: 12/03/03
Posts: 7

1/05/13 2:04:56 PM#160
Originally posted by lizardbones

It's not a huge mystery. Even if the game was profitable, it wasn't profitable enough. It would be getting steadily less profitable over time too. It doesn't look like there were plans or incentive to create a CoH2 either. They decided to cut their losses before they became losses or when they actually turned from profits to losses and focus on what they knew they could focus on.

Actually, Matt Miller said that they approached NC Soft to do City of Heroes 2, and NC Soft said "No".

[color=blue]"The coward knows only death; the hero knows only life"- Kakita Toshimoko, Legend of the Five Rings CCG/RPG

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