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

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252 posts found
  Wicoa

Novice Member

Joined: 1/08/07
Posts: 1614

1/07/13 6:08:53 AM#201

What matters is that Ncsoft closed a good game with a good crowd following instead of trying any number of basic reputable business strategies to keep the game open.  Some strategies take time and require forward planning, it is clear ncsoft were in a rush, In my view they took the easiest road the fastest and are taking the fastest airway out of the western market.

Case in point; Ultima and EQ are still going if those old games can keep chugging along there is zero excuse for anything else being shutdown.

  fivoroth

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/10/06
Posts: 2889

1/07/13 6:10:47 AM#202
Originally posted by Pheonyx

There's two versions of this story... the truth and NC Soft's side. Have you all forgotten that this is the same company that FORGED A RESIGNATION LETTER FROM RICHARD GARRIOTT TO SHUT DOWN TABULA RASA? Sorry, but they only put out that statement to try to save face.

 

Those numbers that source gave seem to be correct, because the costs of the server hardware were paid off by the time City of Villains came about (ie. BEFORE NC Soft bought City of Heroes IP outright). The only costs involved was electricity for them and some staff onsite in Austin, which NC Austin ate anyway because that is where the servers for the US servers for their other games (like Aion) are located. NC Austin didn't lay anyone off when CoH shuttered, they just had a little less work to do.

50K a year average salary per employee is rather high in the gaming industry... try closer to 30K average and you will be closer; 50K average per employee sounds right if you are Blizzard/Activision, not a smaller development house like Paragon Studios/NCSoft.

What? The average salary is 30k? What's the point of working in this industry if you earn so little?

Anyways if it was shut down, then it didn't make sense to keep running the game financially speaking. Even if you are making a a slight (although I doubt it) profit, it is always worth asking if it is worth the resources you are putting in...opportunity costs etc. This game had no growth potential, wasn't making any money. Why would you want to keep it? 

Although that's my line of thought as someone who works in the financial services industry, so I tend to look from the financial perspective of things.

Mission in life: Vanquish all MMORPG.com trolls - especially TESO, WOW and GW2 trolls.

  jimdandy26

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/28/12
Posts: 559

1/07/13 6:24:18 AM#203
Originally posted by fivoroth
Originally posted by Pheonyx

There's two versions of this story... the truth and NC Soft's side. Have you all forgotten that this is the same company that FORGED A RESIGNATION LETTER FROM RICHARD GARRIOTT TO SHUT DOWN TABULA RASA? Sorry, but they only put out that statement to try to save face.

 

Those numbers that source gave seem to be correct, because the costs of the server hardware were paid off by the time City of Villains came about (ie. BEFORE NC Soft bought City of Heroes IP outright). The only costs involved was electricity for them and some staff onsite in Austin, which NC Austin ate anyway because that is where the servers for the US servers for their other games (like Aion) are located. NC Austin didn't lay anyone off when CoH shuttered, they just had a little less work to do.

50K a year average salary per employee is rather high in the gaming industry... try closer to 30K average and you will be closer; 50K average per employee sounds right if you are Blizzard/Activision, not a smaller development house like Paragon Studios/NCSoft.

What? The average salary is 30k? What's the point of working in this industry if you earn so little?

Anyways if it was shut down, then it didn't make sense to keep running the game financially speaking. Even if you are making a a slight (although I doubt it) profit, it is always worth asking if it is worth the resources you are putting in...opportunity costs etc. This game had no growth potential, wasn't making any money. Why would you want to keep it? 

Although that's my line of thought as someone who works in the financial services industry, so I tend to look from the financial perspective of things.

I agree with your reasoning completely. Unfortunetly the vocal fanboys do not :(

also, this http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/1108/game_developer_salary_survey_2012.php rather clearly debunks his numbers.

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.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10924

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/07/13 6:31:19 AM#204


Originally posted by Wicoa
What matters is that Ncsoft closed a good game with a good crowd following instead of trying any number of basic reputable business strategies to keep the game open.  Some strategies take time and require forward planning, it is clear ncsoft were in a rush, In my view they took the easiest road the fastest and are taking the fastest airway out of the western market.

Case in point; Ultima and EQ are still going if those old games can keep chugging along there is zero excuse for anything else being shutdown.




Both UO and EQ were successful when they released. CoH wasn't all that successful. Especially compared to other MMOs released around the same time. Both UO and EQ have some future potential. UO because it started the industry and EQ because it was successful and has now lead to EQNext. CoH and Paragon Studios had no demonstrable future potential. They had current profitability and that was it.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  Wraithone

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 3575

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

1/07/13 7:21:29 AM#205
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by Wraithone

Originally posted by Scot You do realise the MMO industry has turned from one which makes MMO’s for long term profit to one which makes MMO’s for short term profit? That MMO’s are now expected to perform more like solo games than multiplayer games when it comes to return of investment and overall profit? In light of this, why would any gaming company try to keep an old MMO going? If you are making a profit but only relatively a small one, and you think resources can be put to better use elsewhere why would you keep an old MMO running? Gaming companies are run by suits now, not gamers, wake up and smell the monetary coffee. I expect more such closures in the next couple of years, if your old MMO is with a company making new MMO’s it is definitely vulnerable.
Very, very true.  We are bound to see more of this over the next few years.  Suits have entirely different perspectives than Dev's and gamers do. Hell, I suspect many of them seldom if ever play their own games.  Its just a job to them, andf if the numbers don't add up to their projections/expectations, they have no problem pulling the plug.

 

While that may be good for the projects ROI, it can become a toxic attitude over time.  Look at the number of people who seriously dislike NCsoft, SOE, and other such.  Thats like a corrosive DOT, and it can seriously damage a companies reputation, over time.  I suspect we've just started to see some of the backlash in that regard.




Except it doesn't. Outside of forums like these it doesn't seem to have touched GW2. EQNext's biggest issue on these forums is Smedley's design ability, not that SWG closed. Most of those posts seem to be cautiously optimistic.

There are two things working against closing old games becoming a huge backlash. One is that the old games getting closed are going to be on the way out anyway. They are going to have a dwindling player base so most of the players will have already moved on. Item two is that players are a fickle bunch and generally speaking if you can show them a new game, they'll be happy.

 

Why should it really impact GW2? Its not my type of game, but many seem to like it.  This type of thing tends to take time, and repeated abuse.  Thats why I stated its a DOT. Never under estimate the impact of bad word of mouth.  Especially when the facts involved can simply be looked up, as they can be these days.

Way too many suits can't seem to understand that reality. Which is odd, since its one of the first things one learns in marketing, and branding.  But then with a short term focus (what have you done for me this quarter) thats par for the course.

NCsofts attitude will eventually cost them.  Now that they are involved with Nexon, things are not likely to go nearly as well for them in the western markets.  But eventually, even the eastern markets will start to become less tolerant of their usual antics. Its just a matter of time.

 

  fivoroth

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/10/06
Posts: 2889

1/07/13 7:46:42 AM#206
Originally posted by Wraithone
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by Wraithone

Originally posted by Scot You do realise the MMO industry has turned from one which makes MMO’s for long term profit to one which makes MMO’s for short term profit? That MMO’s are now expected to perform more like solo games than multiplayer games when it comes to return of investment and overall profit? In light of this, why would any gaming company try to keep an old MMO going? If you are making a profit but only relatively a small one, and you think resources can be put to better use elsewhere why would you keep an old MMO running? Gaming companies are run by suits now, not gamers, wake up and smell the monetary coffee. I expect more such closures in the next couple of years, if your old MMO is with a company making new MMO’s it is definitely vulnerable.
Very, very true.  We are bound to see more of this over the next few years.  Suits have entirely different perspectives than Dev's and gamers do. Hell, I suspect many of them seldom if ever play their own games.  Its just a job to them, andf if the numbers don't add up to their projections/expectations, they have no problem pulling the plug.

 

While that may be good for the projects ROI, it can become a toxic attitude over time.  Look at the number of people who seriously dislike NCsoft, SOE, and other such.  Thats like a corrosive DOT, and it can seriously damage a companies reputation, over time.  I suspect we've just started to see some of the backlash in that regard.




Except it doesn't. Outside of forums like these it doesn't seem to have touched GW2. EQNext's biggest issue on these forums is Smedley's design ability, not that SWG closed. Most of those posts seem to be cautiously optimistic.

There are two things working against closing old games becoming a huge backlash. One is that the old games getting closed are going to be on the way out anyway. They are going to have a dwindling player base so most of the players will have already moved on. Item two is that players are a fickle bunch and generally speaking if you can show them a new game, they'll be happy.

 

Why should it really impact GW2? Its not my type of game, but many seem to like it.  This type of thing tends to take time, and repeated abuse.  Thats why I stated its a DOT. Never under estimate the impact of bad word of mouth.  Especially when the facts involved can simply be looked up, as they can be these days.

Way too many suits can't seem to understand that reality. Which is odd, since its one of the first things one learns in marketing, and branding.  But then with a short term focus (what have you done for me this quarter) thats par for the course.

NCsofts attitude will eventually cost them.  Now that they are involved with Nexon, things are not likely to go nearly as well for them in the western markets.  But eventually, even the eastern markets will start to become less tolerant of their usual antics. Its just a matter of time.

 

Which Business School did you go to? This was definitely not one of the "first" things which I learnt in my marketing classes. Do you know the BCG matrix? Do you want to guess which category CoH falls under? Also a lot of marketing driven companies "consolidate" their brand portfolios by eliminating brands which are underperforming. 

Keeping this game neither makes marketing sense nor finance sense.

Mission in life: Vanquish all MMORPG.com trolls - especially TESO, WOW and GW2 trolls.

  WildFire15

Novice Member

Joined: 12/15/12
Posts: 12

1/07/13 8:13:00 AM#207
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by Wicoa
What matters is that Ncsoft closed a good game with a good crowd following instead of trying any number of basic reputable business strategies to keep the game open.  Some strategies take time and require forward planning, it is clear ncsoft were in a rush, In my view they took the easiest road the fastest and are taking the fastest airway out of the western market.

 

Case in point; Ultima and EQ are still going if those old games can keep chugging along there is zero excuse for anything else being shutdown.




Both UO and EQ were successful when they released. CoH wasn't all that successful. Especially compared to other MMOs released around the same time. Both UO and EQ have some future potential. UO because it started the industry and EQ because it was successful and has now lead to EQNext. CoH and Paragon Studios had no demonstrable future potential. They had current profitability and that was it.

 

Seriously? UO and EQ had pretty much no competition upon release while City of Heroes, with practically no marketting, was released not long before World of Warcraft. Huge marketting budget, well established name in PC gaming. 

In WoW's shadow, while competitors were desperately jumping at the impossible dream of being a 'WoW Killer', CoH kept going strong in it's own niche. It was in dire need of a sequel (Paragon did do some pretty impressive things with that old game engine, but it did need replacing), but it kept going and could have easily gone onto 10 years or more. After all, UO and EQ are still with us 14 and 12 years later respectively. Hell, Dark Age of Camelot's still going and that wasn't even well known of in 2001 when it came out (though you may have to correct me on that. I was aware of it but not even vaguly interested).

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10924

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/07/13 8:13:24 AM#208


Originally posted by fivoroth

Originally posted by Wraithone

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by Wraithone

Originally posted by Scot You do realise the MMO industry has turned from one which makes MMO’s for long term profit to one which makes MMO’s for short term profit? That MMO’s are now expected to perform more like solo games than multiplayer games when it comes to return of investment and overall profit? In light of this, why would any gaming company try to keep an old MMO going? If you are making a profit but only relatively a small one, and you think resources can be put to better use elsewhere why would you keep an old MMO running? Gaming companies are run by suits now, not gamers, wake up and smell the monetary coffee. I expect more such closures in the next couple of years, if your old MMO is with a company making new MMO’s it is definitely vulnerable.
Very, very true.  We are bound to see more of this over the next few years.  Suits have entirely different perspectives than Dev's and gamers do. Hell, I suspect many of them seldom if ever play their own games.  Its just a job to them, andf if the numbers don't add up to their projections/expectations, they have no problem pulling the plug.   While that may be good for the projects ROI, it can become a toxic attitude over time.  Look at the number of people who seriously dislike NCsoft, SOE, and other such.  Thats like a corrosive DOT, and it can seriously damage a companies reputation, over time.  I suspect we've just started to see some of the backlash in that regard.
Except it doesn't. Outside of forums like these it doesn't seem to have touched GW2. EQNext's biggest issue on these forums is Smedley's design ability, not that SWG closed. Most of those posts seem to be cautiously optimistic. There are two things working against closing old games becoming a huge backlash. One is that the old games getting closed are going to be on the way out anyway. They are going to have a dwindling player base so most of the players will have already moved on. Item two is that players are a fickle bunch and generally speaking if you can show them a new game, they'll be happy.  
Why should it really impact GW2? Its not my type of game, but many seem to like it.  This type of thing tends to take time, and repeated abuse.  Thats why I stated its a DOT. Never under estimate the impact of bad word of mouth.  Especially when the facts involved can simply be looked up, as they can be these days. Way too many suits can't seem to understand that reality. Which is odd, since its one of the first things one learns in marketing, and branding.  But then with a short term focus (what have you done for me this quarter) thats par for the course. NCsofts attitude will eventually cost them.  Now that they are involved with Nexon, things are not likely to go nearly as well for them in the western markets.  But eventually, even the eastern markets will start to become less tolerant of their usual antics. Its just a matter of time.  
Which Business School did you go to? This was definitely not one of the "first" things which I learnt in my marketing classes. Do you know the BCG matrix? Do you want to guess which category CoH falls under? Also a lot of marketing driven companies "consolidate" their brand portfolios by eliminating brands which are underperforming. 

Keeping this game neither makes marketing sense nor finance sense.




Is whatever you just said related to people playing CoH, but not playing Aion or GW2? I was thinking about that after some other post of mine. If people who play CoH weren't likely to play anything else that NC Soft had anyway, then the game didn't contribute as much to the company as other games. It wouldn't be the only thing to consider, but it would certainly be a contributing factor.

Now, I don't discount the idea that bad press is bad, but it's like everything else. It has to show that it makes a difference or a business can safely ignore it. Other factors around the game could outweigh the bad press.

I do think the way they closed the game was in poor taste, and they could have closed the game down in a more palatable manner, but I don't think they way they closed the game down is going to hurt them, and will probably help them if they are looking for additional investors.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10924

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/07/13 8:24:28 AM#209


Originally posted by WildFire15

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by Wicoa What matters is that Ncsoft closed a good game with a good crowd following instead of trying any number of basic reputable business strategies to keep the game open.  Some strategies take time and require forward planning, it is clear ncsoft were in a rush, In my view they took the easiest road the fastest and are taking the fastest airway out of the western market.   Case in point; Ultima and EQ are still going if those old games can keep chugging along there is zero excuse for anything else being shutdown.
Both UO and EQ were successful when they released. CoH wasn't all that successful. Especially compared to other MMOs released around the same time. Both UO and EQ have some future potential. UO because it started the industry and EQ because it was successful and has now lead to EQNext. CoH and Paragon Studios had no demonstrable future potential. They had current profitability and that was it.  
Seriously? UO and EQ had pretty much no competition upon release while City of Heroes, with practically no marketting, was released not long before World of Warcraft. Huge marketting budget, well established name in PC gaming. 

In WoW's shadow, while competitors were desperately jumping at the impossible dream of being a 'WoW Killer', CoH kept going strong in it's own niche. It was in dire need of a sequel (Paragon did do some pretty impressive things with that old game engine, but it did need replacing), but it kept going and could have easily gone onto 10 years or more. After all, UO and EQ are still with us 14 and 12 years later respectively. Hell, Dark Age of Camelot's still going and that wasn't even well known of in 2001 when it came out (though you may have to correct me on that. I was aware of it but not even vaguly interested).




I heard about CoH. I had no idea what it was, because I had no idea what MMOs were, but I did hear about them. I only heard about UO because my uncle wanted me to play and I didn't hear about EQ until after I started playing WoW. CoH did have marketing. They even had marketing outside of the Video Game market, which other games did not have. The game just didn't catch on.

You mentioned CoH's real problem (I think). It was a niche game. The people who played CoH didn't play anything else, and weren't likely to play anything else other than maybe a CoH2. It wouldn't matter how much advertising it got, it would always be a niche game with a small audience that would not grow and the audience would probably not play anything else. It was too successful to sell cheap, so no indie publishers could buy it, but at the same time it had no future potential so no large publishers would want it. It was the odd man out.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10924

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/07/13 8:26:38 AM#210


Originally posted by jimdandy26

Originally posted by fivoroth

Originally posted by Pheonyx There's two versions of this story... the truth and NC Soft's side. Have you all forgotten that this is the same company that FORGED A RESIGNATION LETTER FROM RICHARD GARRIOTT TO SHUT DOWN TABULA RASA? Sorry, but they only put out that statement to try to save face.   Those numbers that source gave seem to be correct, because the costs of the server hardware were paid off by the time City of Villains came about (ie. BEFORE NC Soft bought City of Heroes IP outright). The only costs involved was electricity for them and some staff onsite in Austin, which NC Austin ate anyway because that is where the servers for the US servers for their other games (like Aion) are located. NC Austin didn't lay anyone off when CoH shuttered, they just had a little less work to do. 50K a year average salary per employee is rather high in the gaming industry... try closer to 30K average and you will be closer; 50K average per employee sounds right if you are Blizzard/Activision, not a smaller development house like Paragon Studios/NCSoft.
What? The average salary is 30k? What's the point of working in this industry if you earn so little? Anyways if it was shut down, then it didn't make sense to keep running the game financially speaking. Even if you are making a a slight (although I doubt it) profit, it is always worth asking if it is worth the resources you are putting in...opportunity costs etc. This game had no growth potential, wasn't making any money. Why would you want to keep it?  Although that's my line of thought as someone who works in the financial services industry, so I tend to look from the financial perspective of things.
I agree with your reasoning completely. Unfortunetly the vocal fanboys do not :(

also, this http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/1108/game_developer_salary_survey_2012.php rather clearly debunks his numbers.




The yearly salary for game developers has gotten pretty good. It's the hourly rate that's horrible.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  WildFire15

Novice Member

Joined: 12/15/12
Posts: 12

1/07/13 8:43:36 AM#211
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by WildFire15

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by Wicoa What matters is that Ncsoft closed a good game with a good crowd following instead of trying any number of basic reputable business strategies to keep the game open.  Some strategies take time and require forward planning, it is clear ncsoft were in a rush, In my view they took the easiest road the fastest and are taking the fastest airway out of the western market.   Case in point; Ultima and EQ are still going if those old games can keep chugging along there is zero excuse for anything else being shutdown.
Both UO and EQ were successful when they released. CoH wasn't all that successful. Especially compared to other MMOs released around the same time. Both UO and EQ have some future potential. UO because it started the industry and EQ because it was successful and has now lead to EQNext. CoH and Paragon Studios had no demonstrable future potential. They had current profitability and that was it.  
Seriously? UO and EQ had pretty much no competition upon release while City of Heroes, with practically no marketting, was released not long before World of Warcraft. Huge marketting budget, well established name in PC gaming. 

 

In WoW's shadow, while competitors were desperately jumping at the impossible dream of being a 'WoW Killer', CoH kept going strong in it's own niche. It was in dire need of a sequel (Paragon did do some pretty impressive things with that old game engine, but it did need replacing), but it kept going and could have easily gone onto 10 years or more. After all, UO and EQ are still with us 14 and 12 years later respectively. Hell, Dark Age of Camelot's still going and that wasn't even well known of in 2001 when it came out (though you may have to correct me on that. I was aware of it but not even vaguly interested).




I heard about CoH. I had no idea what it was, because I had no idea what MMOs were, but I did hear about them. I only heard about UO because my uncle wanted me to play and I didn't hear about EQ until after I started playing WoW. CoH did have marketing. They even had marketing outside of the Video Game market, which other games did not have. The game just didn't catch on.

You mentioned CoH's real problem (I think). It was a niche game. The people who played CoH didn't play anything else, and weren't likely to play anything else other than maybe a CoH2. It wouldn't matter how much advertising it got, it would always be a niche game with a small audience that would not grow and the audience would probably not play anything else. It was too successful to sell cheap, so no indie publishers could buy it, but at the same time it had no future potential so no large publishers would want it. It was the odd man out.

 

True, CoH did have a comic series and there was at least one novel, but no idea how well they were known. I did read about CoH with the same lack of interest I gave every other MMO at the time until someone actually introduced me to it and I got hook.

I think CoH's niche had plenty of room to grow. After all, investors were willing to back Champions Online and DC Universe Online and we'd be less likely to see them in CoH outright failed. All it would take is a small advert saying you can freely make and play your own hero before a super hero movie or show to get people interested and we could have seen that niche explode. I'm actually surprised SOE hasn't taken advantage of it yet, what with Dark Knight Rises, the forth coming Man of Steel and Justice League movie and Arrow on TV

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10924

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/07/13 9:33:54 AM#212


Originally posted by WildFire15

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by WildFire15

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by Wicoa What matters is that Ncsoft closed a good game with a good crowd following instead of trying any number of basic reputable business strategies to keep the game open.  Some strategies take time and require forward planning, it is clear ncsoft were in a rush, In my view they took the easiest road the fastest and are taking the fastest airway out of the western market.   Case in point; Ultima and EQ are still going if those old games can keep chugging along there is zero excuse for anything else being shutdown.
Both UO and EQ were successful when they released. CoH wasn't all that successful. Especially compared to other MMOs released around the same time. Both UO and EQ have some future potential. UO because it started the industry and EQ because it was successful and has now lead to EQNext. CoH and Paragon Studios had no demonstrable future potential. They had current profitability and that was it.  
Seriously? UO and EQ had pretty much no competition upon release while City of Heroes, with practically no marketting, was released not long before World of Warcraft. Huge marketting budget, well established name in PC gaming.    In WoW's shadow, while competitors were desperately jumping at the impossible dream of being a 'WoW Killer', CoH kept going strong in it's own niche. It was in dire need of a sequel (Paragon did do some pretty impressive things with that old game engine, but it did need replacing), but it kept going and could have easily gone onto 10 years or more. After all, UO and EQ are still with us 14 and 12 years later respectively. Hell, Dark Age of Camelot's still going and that wasn't even well known of in 2001 when it came out (though you may have to correct me on that. I was aware of it but not even vaguly interested).
I heard about CoH. I had no idea what it was, because I had no idea what MMOs were, but I did hear about them. I only heard about UO because my uncle wanted me to play and I didn't hear about EQ until after I started playing WoW. CoH did have marketing. They even had marketing outside of the Video Game market, which other games did not have. The game just didn't catch on. You mentioned CoH's real problem (I think). It was a niche game. The people who played CoH didn't play anything else, and weren't likely to play anything else other than maybe a CoH2. It wouldn't matter how much advertising it got, it would always be a niche game with a small audience that would not grow and the audience would probably not play anything else. It was too successful to sell cheap, so no indie publishers could buy it, but at the same time it had no future potential so no large publishers would want it. It was the odd man out.  
True, CoH did have a comic series and there was at least one novel, but no idea how well they were known. I did read about CoH with the same lack of interest I gave every other MMO at the time until someone actually introduced me to it and I got hook.

I think CoH's niche had plenty of room to grow. After all, investors were willing to back Champions Online and DC Universe Online and we'd be less likely to see them in CoH outright failed. All it would take is a small advert saying you can freely make and play your own hero before a super hero movie or show to get people interested and we could have seen that niche explode. I'm actually surprised SOE hasn't taken advantage of it yet, what with Dark Knight Rises, the forth coming Man of Steel and Justice League movie and Arrow on TV




The thing with advertising is that it costs the same, no matter what you're advertising. Advertising for CoH would cost the same as GW2. Ditto for Champions and DCUO. After a certain point, it doesn't make sense to advertise older properties unless they are doing something new. Even if the property doubles in size, it won't make up what you've spent in advertising*.

** edit **
* Especially if you have something else you can advertise that will get more return for your investment.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  Hoplites

Novice Member

Joined: 6/08/06
Posts: 442

1/07/13 10:00:31 AM#213
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by WildFire15

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by WildFire15

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by Wicoa What matters is that Ncsoft closed a good game with a good crowd following instead of trying any number of basic reputable business strategies to keep the game open.  Some strategies take time and require forward planning, it is clear ncsoft were in a rush, In my view they took the easiest road the fastest and are taking the fastest airway out of the western market.   Case in point; Ultima and EQ are still going if those old games can keep chugging along there is zero excuse for anything else being shutdown.
Both UO and EQ were successful when they released. CoH wasn't all that successful. Especially compared to other MMOs released around the same time. Both UO and EQ have some future potential. UO because it started the industry and EQ because it was successful and has now lead to EQNext. CoH and Paragon Studios had no demonstrable future potential. They had current profitability and that was it.  
Seriously? UO and EQ had pretty much no competition upon release while City of Heroes, with practically no marketting, was released not long before World of Warcraft. Huge marketting budget, well established name in PC gaming.    In WoW's shadow, while competitors were desperately jumping at the impossible dream of being a 'WoW Killer', CoH kept going strong in it's own niche. It was in dire need of a sequel (Paragon did do some pretty impressive things with that old game engine, but it did need replacing), but it kept going and could have easily gone onto 10 years or more. After all, UO and EQ are still with us 14 and 12 years later respectively. Hell, Dark Age of Camelot's still going and that wasn't even well known of in 2001 when it came out (though you may have to correct me on that. I was aware of it but not even vaguly interested).
I heard about CoH. I had no idea what it was, because I had no idea what MMOs were, but I did hear about them. I only heard about UO because my uncle wanted me to play and I didn't hear about EQ until after I started playing WoW. CoH did have marketing. They even had marketing outside of the Video Game market, which other games did not have. The game just didn't catch on. You mentioned CoH's real problem (I think). It was a niche game. The people who played CoH didn't play anything else, and weren't likely to play anything else other than maybe a CoH2. It wouldn't matter how much advertising it got, it would always be a niche game with a small audience that would not grow and the audience would probably not play anything else. It was too successful to sell cheap, so no indie publishers could buy it, but at the same time it had no future potential so no large publishers would want it. It was the odd man out.  
True, CoH did have a comic series and there was at least one novel, but no idea how well they were known. I did read about CoH with the same lack of interest I gave every other MMO at the time until someone actually introduced me to it and I got hook.

 

I think CoH's niche had plenty of room to grow. After all, investors were willing to back Champions Online and DC Universe Online and we'd be less likely to see them in CoH outright failed. All it would take is a small advert saying you can freely make and play your own hero before a super hero movie or show to get people interested and we could have seen that niche explode. I'm actually surprised SOE hasn't taken advantage of it yet, what with Dark Knight Rises, the forth coming Man of Steel and Justice League movie and Arrow on TV




The thing with advertising is that it costs the same, no matter what you're advertising. Advertising for CoH would cost the same as GW2. Ditto for Champions and DCUO. After a certain point, it doesn't make sense to advertise older properties unless they are doing something new. Even if the property doubles in size, it won't make up what you've spent in advertising*.

** edit **
* Especially if you have something else you can advertise that will get more return for your investment.

 

I don't agree at all.  

You don't have to advertise the same quanity like you do for a new game, because word of mouth tends to take care of the rest.  But word of mouth starts to wane eventually, so new marketing campaigns that are cheap, but effective can still prove to be fruitful.  

City of Heroes having a recent expansion, for example (Going Rogue) with a box, is one way to promote a new marketing campaign. At least City of Heroes had exposure of box sets visible in gaming stores in recent years, but you can't say the same for Lineage 2.

Lineage 2 is NCSOFT's flagship game afterall, and yet how much advertising muscle do you see them spending on L2 North America?  That speaks volumes about how much they care about the western market.

No one is saying they should't focus primarily on the Asian market, where they make most of their money.  But it is incredibly myopic to not even market their own flagship game in North America.

As for someone else mentioning that they should sell their property they have shut down and sits idily by. They could, but investors have to force that pressure.  If I was an investor I probably would want a greater ROR on my investment, so it makes sense if it is plausible to make money off of what they are sitting on.  

 

 

 

  Torvaldr

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 5951

1/07/13 10:11:00 AM#214
Originally posted by Hoplites
Originally posted by lizardbones
The thing with advertising is that it costs the same, no matter what you're advertising. Advertising for CoH would cost the same as GW2. Ditto for Champions and DCUO. After a certain point, it doesn't make sense to advertise older properties unless they are doing something new. Even if the property doubles in size, it won't make up what you've spent in advertising*.

** edit **
* Especially if you have something else you can advertise that will get more return for your investment.

I don't agree at all.  

You don't have to advertise the same quanity like you do for a new game, because word of mouth tends to take care of the rest.  But word of mouth starts to wane eventually, so new marketing campaigns that are cheap, but effective can still prove to be fruitful.  

City of Heroes having a recent expansion, for example (Going Rogue) with a box, is one way to promote a new marketing campaign. At least City of Heroes had exposure of box sets visible in gaming stores in recent years, but you can't say the same for Lineage 2.

Lineage 2 is NCSOFT's flagship game afterall, and yet how much advertising muscle do you see them spending on L2 North America?  That speaks volumes about how much they care about the western market.

No one is saying they should't focus primarily on the Asian market, where they make most of their money.  But it is incredibly myopic to not even market their own flagship game in North America.

As for someone else mentioning that they should sell their property they have shut down and sits idily by. They could, but investors have to force that pressure.  If I was an investor I probably would want a greater ROR on my investment, so it makes sense if it is plausible to make money off of what they are sitting on.  

Firstly, L2 is not NCs flagship title.  Blade and Soul and GW2 are now the flagship titles as of at least Q3 last year.

Aion and Lineage have outperformed L2 over the last few years.  Lineage is still more profitible than both and it's not even open in the West anymore.  Why should they market their profitible Asian titles in the West where players speak rudely about Korean grinders.  Westerners apparently don't like Korean style game design and we've made that clear.

As has been pointed out several times in the thread, there could be other factors in not selling the IP, factors that could cost more than a one off sale will recoup.  You want to see the title live so your only real conclusion is that it would be better business for all if they sold, but that's your reality, not theirs.

Curse you AquaScum!

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10924

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/07/13 10:19:29 AM#215

Kind of a recap:

* The game was likely profitable. Even with 80 people at Paragon Studios, the game was probably making more money than it was spending. Nobody can say how much profit it was making, but nobody knows.

* Paragon Studios had too many people to run one game. We don't know exactly how many it would take to run a game, but a guess would be anywhere from 10 to 20 people.

* Paragon Studios was working on other projects, but we don't really know what they were.

* The game was old, and the player base was declining, but not dramatically so. The F2P transition did give the game a boost in players, but the declining trend continued.

* The game was a niche game, with a very specific audience. That audience was probably shared at least in part by Champions Online and DC Universe Online.

I feel pretty comfortable with the above statements. Everything else would really be speculation.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  logandwj

Novice Member

Joined: 8/24/10
Posts: 26

1/07/13 10:24:15 AM#216

Incidentally, just pointing out that NCSoft's phrase: "The studio was unprofitable before the shutdown." is a logical trap. 

 

You've got to pay REALLY close attention to catch the lie within the truth, because what they said is in fact technically true, but it's misleading. 

 

Let's explain this bit of truth twisting rhetoric - 

 

They are quite correct, COH did not earn them any profit for 3 months before the shutdown.

 

It's twisted logic, but the "shutdown" didn't happen when they announced it on August 31st, it happened when the servers were shut off November 30th. Not only were they not collecting subscription fees from us, they were refunding some of us, and had to pay out severance to the laid off Paragon Studio employees, while still pay rent for the building that housed them, etc.

 

Their statement while technically and legally correct was misleading on purpose. 

 

The rest of it is just standard boilerplate corporate bullshit.

-Logan
----------
"Wake UP! Time for SCIENCE!"
-Adam Savage "Mythbusters"
----------

  botrytis

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/04/05
Posts: 2542

1/07/13 10:48:07 AM#217
Originally posted by logandwj

Incidentally, just pointing out that NCSoft's phrase: "The studio was unprofitable before the shutdown." is a logical trap. 

 

You've got to pay REALLY close attention to catch the lie within the truth, because what they said is in fact technically true, but it's misleading. 

 

Let's explain this bit of truth twisting rhetoric - 

 

They are quite correct, COH did not earn them any profit for 3 months before the shutdown.

 

It's twisted logic, but the "shutdown" didn't happen when they announced it on August 31st, it happened when the servers were shut off November 30th. Not only were they not collecting subscription fees from us, they were refunding some of us, and had to pay out severance to the laid off Paragon Studio employees, while still pay rent for the building that housed them, etc.

 

Their statement while technically and legally correct was misleading on purpose. 

 

The rest of it is just standard boilerplate corporate bullshit.

WOW, are you reading SO MUCH into this, I think I want some of the kool-aid you are drinking.

 

THe game wasn't making money and it does take a while to shut down a studio and all the servers. What did you want them to do - just pull the plug? You are missing the point, with giving people refunds - it is good business practice to keep customers.

 

It is not misleading - you are doing that all by yourself.

"In 50 years, when I talk to my grandchildren about these days, I'll make sure to mention what an accomplished MMO player I was. They are going to be so proud ..."
by Naqaj - 7/17/2013 MMORPG.com forum

  logandwj

Novice Member

Joined: 8/24/10
Posts: 26

1/07/13 11:14:53 AM#218
Originally posted by botrytis

WOW, are you reading SO MUCH into this, I think I want some of the kool-aid you are drinking.

 

THe game wasn't making money and it does take a while to shut down a studio and all the servers. What did you want them to do - just pull the plug? You are missing the point, with giving people refunds - it is good business practice to keep customers.

 

It is not misleading - you are doing that all by yourself.

 

 

They were legally required to give a minimum of 90 days notice by the laws of the State of California. And that's all that was preventing them from shutting down and pulling the plug on Aug 31st. They were also legally required by law to give refunds under certain circumstances. This they did. 

 

It had nothing whatsoever to do with whether they wanted to keep us as customers. They either assumed we would go away quietly or go play one of their other games. 

 

What's really interesting about the refund situation is this - NCSoft in the past closures (Auto Assault, Dungeon Runners, Exteel, Tabula Rasa) never to my knowledge gave monetary refunds. They always gave credit to one of their other games. 

 

(BTW - The first hints of refunds being issued in real money was almost a month after the announcement. It was widely believed they would offer credit/time on one of their other games. Apparently something changed their minds. Like - say - the realization that most COH players weren't going to accept that as an option. )

 

Note that the phrase - "The studio was unprofitable before the shutdown" - does not specify a timeframe.

 

Thus it is legally not a mis-statement or lie. But it gives the impression that Paragon Studios had not been profitable for longer than the 90 days when they didn't exist except as a notation in the budget, yet NCSoft still had to keep the game running and were issuing severance checks and then refunds.

 

So yeah. For those three months COH and PS was a drain on revenue, but it was hardly their fault. As the original article says - the numbers support the anonymous sources claims. But NCSoft is doing damage control. 

 

The way the statement is loaded is meant to lead you to make a certain judgement that is not accurate. You are meant to assume that NCSoft is claiming that Paragon Studios was non-profitable while it was still an active studio. But NCsoft is not actually SAYING that. And they can claim that it was not their intent to mislead if they were to be called on it. 

 

This is a classic case of "Spin". And many people here have fallen for it. 

-Logan
----------
"Wake UP! Time for SCIENCE!"
-Adam Savage "Mythbusters"
----------

  Wraithone

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 3575

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

1/07/13 11:44:47 AM#219
Originally posted by fivoroth
Originally posted by Wraithone
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by Wraithone

Originally posted by Scot You do realise the MMO industry has turned from one which makes MMO’s for long term profit to one which makes MMO’s for short term profit? That MMO’s are now expected to perform more like solo games than multiplayer games when it comes to return of investment and overall profit? In light of this, why would any gaming company try to keep an old MMO going? If you are making a profit but only relatively a small one, and you think resources can be put to better use elsewhere why would you keep an old MMO running? Gaming companies are run by suits now, not gamers, wake up and smell the monetary coffee. I expect more such closures in the next couple of years, if your old MMO is with a company making new MMO’s it is definitely vulnerable.
Very, very true.  We are bound to see more of this over the next few years.  Suits have entirely different perspectives than Dev's and gamers do. Hell, I suspect many of them seldom if ever play their own games.  Its just a job to them, andf if the numbers don't add up to their projections/expectations, they have no problem pulling the plug.

 

While that may be good for the projects ROI, it can become a toxic attitude over time.  Look at the number of people who seriously dislike NCsoft, SOE, and other such.  Thats like a corrosive DOT, and it can seriously damage a companies reputation, over time.  I suspect we've just started to see some of the backlash in that regard.




Except it doesn't. Outside of forums like these it doesn't seem to have touched GW2. EQNext's biggest issue on these forums is Smedley's design ability, not that SWG closed. Most of those posts seem to be cautiously optimistic.

There are two things working against closing old games becoming a huge backlash. One is that the old games getting closed are going to be on the way out anyway. They are going to have a dwindling player base so most of the players will have already moved on. Item two is that players are a fickle bunch and generally speaking if you can show them a new game, they'll be happy.

 

Why should it really impact GW2? Its not my type of game, but many seem to like it.  This type of thing tends to take time, and repeated abuse.  Thats why I stated its a DOT. Never under estimate the impact of bad word of mouth.  Especially when the facts involved can simply be looked up, as they can be these days.

Way too many suits can't seem to understand that reality. Which is odd, since its one of the first things one learns in marketing, and branding.  But then with a short term focus (what have you done for me this quarter) thats par for the course.

NCsofts attitude will eventually cost them.  Now that they are involved with Nexon, things are not likely to go nearly as well for them in the western markets.  But eventually, even the eastern markets will start to become less tolerant of their usual antics. Its just a matter of time.

 

Which Business School did you go to? This was definitely not one of the "first" things which I learnt in my marketing classes. Do you know the BCG matrix? Do you want to guess which category CoH falls under? Also a lot of marketing driven companies "consolidate" their brand portfolios by eliminating brands which are underperforming. 

Keeping this game neither makes marketing sense nor finance sense.

You learned the B box first?...Thats an odd progression.  Any way, CoH would be whats known as a "pet or dog" in that classification system.  I'm quite familiar with how this analysis works, but I wasn't looking at that aspect.

My remarks concerned the ill will, bad word of mouth generated by NCsofts repeated abuse.  That is the "something" I was speaking of.   As I've mentioned, this type of thing tends to act as a DOT.  When dealing with that FOT (Fade Over Time) kicks in (Edward Bernays was one of those who organized some of these concepts). But with repeated abuse, the mid phase (of the three) gets extended. 

You also take the chance that True Believers will reach critical mass, and believe me, no business really wants those types of zealots to get involved. It can be quite a "learning experience" when they do.  Bottom line, there are established protocols for dealing with these types of things from a PR perspective.  Either NCsoft is clueless when it comes to those, or they really do not care.

 

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10924

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/07/13 12:01:46 PM#220


Originally posted by Wraithone
You learned the B box first?...Thats an odd progression.  Any way, CoH would be whats known as a "pet or dog" in that classification system.  I'm quite familiar with how this analysis works, but I wasn't looking at that aspect.

My remarks concerned the ill will, bad word of mouth generated by NCsofts repeated abuse.  That is the "something" I was speaking of.   As I've mentioned, this type of thing tends to act as a DOT.  When dealing with that FOT (Fade Over Time) kicks in (Edward Bernays was one of those who organized some of these concepts). But with repeated abuse, the mid phase (of the three) gets extended. 

You also take the chance that True Believers will reach critical mass, and believe me, no business really wants those types of zealots to get involved. It can be quite a "learning experience" when they do.  Bottom line, there are established protocols for dealing with these types of things from a PR perspective.  Either NCsoft is clueless when it comes to those, or they really do not care.

 




You finally said something I understood.

The critical mass point is 10% of a population. There was a study about how ideas are spread. When you have "true believers", and they convert 10% of a population to their way of thinking, their ideas spread to the rest of the population that does not have a strongly held belief on the matter, whatever the matter is.

I don't think the population of people who consider the closing of CoH to be of importance is very large. Most people are either completely unaware that CoH existed and was shutdown, or they do not have a strongly held belief on the matter and just accept what NC Soft said.

Keep in mind that none of this has anything to do with what actually happened. The reality of events is of secondary importance to what people believe about them. It doesn't matter whether the game was profitable or not. Only how many people have a strongly held belief on the matter.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

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