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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Why did MMOs become about the money and numbers?

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375 posts found
  mgilbrtsn

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/14/09
Posts: 1118

He who fights and runs away... misses out on the loot

9/01/13 2:14:20 PM#141
It's always been about the money and numbers.  Without the money, there is no MMO.

They are coming for you!

  VengeSunsoar

Elite Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4824

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

9/01/13 2:19:17 PM#142
It wasn't any more deep than it is today.  Some games were deep, most were shallow with poor gameplay and fewer decisions than even today.

Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  Holophonist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2021

9/01/13 2:30:50 PM#143
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by Holophonist

 

I'm saying the genre has gone from making more targeted games to making games that appeal to more people


 

You just replaced one incorrect term by another - specific.

All target audience is specific, it's a target after all.

In this case - targeted audience of "more people", is targeted audience that justifies the costs of making high quality MMO.

There are still games catering to small audience, as I pointed out, most games are doing so. It is only that large budget titles are going for mass appeal as it is the only way to get enormous investments recouped and make profit.


It has been always like this since MMO industry is a business like any other.


You basically ask why there are no multi-million dollar games made with little to no prospect of paying off the development costs. Do you seriously need to ask this?

You COULD try to stick to things I'm saying. I never said anything about wanting a "multi-million dollar game made with little to no prospect of paying off the development costs." In fact I didn't say anything about how much the games would/should cost. But that going from small, niche games to big, broad appeal games is the exact problem we're talking about. You're plainly assuming that I want your standard of "high quality" MMO's. As I've pointed out before, much of the costs related to MMO's exist BECAUSE of the shift away from sandbox and towards themeparks. Themeparks require high aesthetics and "content" to keep people busy.

 

And you keep saying that most games are more targeted, but I don't see it. Like I said before, there really aren't any good options for sandbox games. The typical MMO nowadays is THEMEPARK, and that being the case has direct and indirect effects on the whole industry. From early on, if UO decided to deal with its "rampant PK" problem with simulation and depth instead of laziness catering, you don't know what the industry would look like right now.

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 6971

9/01/13 3:09:28 PM#144


Originally posted by Holophonist

And you keep saying that most games are more targeted, but I don't see it.

There is, you just do not consider them worthy. Just browse the game list on this very site, lots and lots of little different games for little audience.

Low budget games cannot compete with big titles, thus they try to attract players with new design and features. Which leads us to another myth - start small, grow big. That never works and never did.

I read very carefully what you say, but you ware not aware of implications of your statements or simply miss some fundamental aspects shaping the industry and economical mechanics. I elaborate on them.

You are not talking about costs, but they are related and I put them into context of your thinking.


Higher costs have nothing to do with themepark design either. Any game requires content to keep people busy. Just onece again silly myth.


Why modern games costs so much is because of much higher standards. New game entering market needs not only live to up-to-date graphics and technology standards but also needs to include content of competitor games that have years of post-release development under their belt. This makes development very expensive, regardless whether you go with themepark or sandbox.

  Aysono

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/28/10
Posts: 164

9/01/13 3:50:59 PM#145

Q: Why did MMOs become about the money and numbers?

A: Because virtual worlds are capitalist worlds and Money Makes the Virtual World Go Around.

 

 

  Holophonist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2021

9/01/13 5:24:30 PM#146
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by Holophonist

And you keep saying that most games are more targeted, but I don't see it.

 

There is, you just do not consider them worthy. Just browse the game list on this very site, lots and lots of little different games for little audience.

Yeah and how many are sandbox games? Most of the games on that list are themeparks or not even MMORPG's.... This is exactly why I pointed out that the whole genre is SHAPED by the bigger titles, namely themeparks. Even the smaller titles are going to copy the bigger ones to some extent. Sometimes a game is smaller simply because it's not as good, not because it's filling a niche.

Low budget games cannot compete with big titles, thus they try to attract players with new design and features. Which leads us to another myth - start small, grow big. That never works and never did.

I read very carefully what you say, but you ware not aware of implications of your statements or simply miss some fundamental aspects shaping the industry and economical mechanics. I elaborate on them.

You are not talking about costs, but they are related and I put them into context of your thinking.


Higher costs have nothing to do with themepark design either. Any game requires content to keep people busy. Just onece again silly myth.

Sandbox games require far less content than themeparks because the players make their own content. You give them tools and they go off by themselves or with their friends or whatever and have fun. That's a ways off from having to add more dungeons, items, expansions, etc because your game is focused around "end-game" content.


Why modern games costs so much is because of much higher standards. New game entering market needs not only live to up-to-date graphics and technology standards but also needs to include content of competitor games that have years of post-release development under their belt. This makes development very expensive, regardless whether you go with themepark or sandbox.

This is just flat out wrong. Themeparks have to live up to the standards of other themeparks. Look at minecraft for goodness sake. Although not strictly an MMO, it is an indie game that has abhorrent graphics and lots of people play it. You're assuming that a game has to have expensive aesthetics in order to succeed. No reason to think that.

 

Side note: the standards that themeparks are setting are only that high because companies spend more time and money on those flashier features and less on the depth of their game.

 

I very much look forward to your next reply which will undoubtedly focus in on ONE of my many sentences.

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 6971

9/01/13 6:34:17 PM#147


Originally posted by Holophonist

Yeah and how many are sandbox games?

As many as there is demand for them.

Big titles are not shaping anything, the demand is, because without one, the big titles wouldn't be big. They represent what most people want in their games and what they find worth their money.

What you consider to be MMORPG or not is irrelevant, all those games compete for same customer.


Originally posted by Holophonist

Sandbox games require far less content than themeparks because the players make their own content.

It doesn't, stupid myth... You still need to build the world and the tools, it's still a content, just different type. I would even argue that horizontal progression is even more expensive since you actually need more content because content does not accumulate over time.

Minecraft does not even belong to same market, neither exception makes the rule anyway.


  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10633

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

9/01/13 6:36:46 PM#148


Originally posted by Holophonist

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by Holophonist

Originally posted by lizardbones The "buy in" for releasing an MMORPG is around ten million dollars. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/131252/applying_risk_analysis_to_.php That ten million dollars gets spent over five years or so of development time. Unless the MMORPG is somehow self funded, the investors have to be paid back. Ten million dollars isn't chump change, never mind the interest. That's why MMORPGs are about the numbers, because the money and the numbers because the money and the numbers are what determines if it survives or not. Taking it a step further, in theory if more money is invested, and higher numbers are achieved, then more money will be made. It's kind of like MMORPGs are the developers' avatars and they are constantly trying to achieve higher skill levels with their charisma.
This doesn't really mean anything. You're claiming that the typical MMO nowadays costs $10 million dollars. I don't know if that's true or not, and in our previous discussions you never cited any kind of example. But supposing it is true, it's not an argument for anything. The point people are making is that MMO's when down the path of more polish, better graphics, more "content" rather than the path of more simulation and deeper gameplay. The former costs more money than the latter.
What you believe is irrelevant. It costs a lot of money to produce MMORPGs. Unless the develop pulls that money out of their own pocket, the money has to be paid back. That's when an MMORPG becomes about money and numbers. Richard Garriott didn't self fund Ultima Online. He had to convince investors that there would be enough money, because of the numbers that Ultima Online was worth the investment. This isn't exclusive to MMORPGs, this is for any game that gets made. Self Funded = not have to worry about the money or numbers, Funded by Investors = have to worry about the money and numbers.
There's a difference between a developer getting funding from somebody to make the game they've envisioned and a developer making a game that is solely designed to make money.

 

And if the $10 million dollars number isn't supposed to mean anything, then why bring it up? If it's not a "hey look how expensive MMO's can be to produce" then why do you keep throwing it out there? I'm saying it's a bogus number because even if it is true, it's based on the current standards, not the standards of what could've been if MMO's took the other path of more simulation and deeper gameplay instead of the more expensive path of content, polish and graphics.




There are few if any developers who make games just to make money. However, making money is an unavoidable task for video game developers. They must make money, or they won't keep developing video games. They develop video games because they want to, they make money because they must.

I didn't say ten million dollars doesn't mean anything. You just don't believe it. I've presented evidence that it's true, but if you don't believe it, there's no point in wasting time trying to prove it to you. For everyone else, the person who wrote that article above worked in the MMORPG industry, specifically on the financial side of the industry. He knows far more about MMORPG development than I will ever know, and he said that in 2003 it costs ten million dollars to produce an MMORPG. I ballparked ten million dollars, he nailed it.

The relevance is in the significant amount of money it takes. When a project costs ten million dollars, and interest is going to accrue over five year's time before the first payment is even made, the amount of money an MMORPG is going to return becomes important. The investors are within their rights to sue the developer, shut down the game and sell any and all assets to recoup their investment. However, they know they're not going to get their money back (look up 38 Studios and see how well that went for investors), so showing how much money a game can make before getting the money is important. The games are about money and numbers before they're even developed.

MMORPGs are about money and numbers because they have to be. Even when Ultima Online was produced, it was about money and numbers because there's no other way to secure the funding necessary to produce the games. Again, that doesn't mean developers are building games for investors, it means they are convincing investors that the games they want to build will produce money, through numbers.

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

  Holophonist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2021

9/01/13 6:58:24 PM#149
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by Holophonist

Yeah and how many are sandbox games?

As many as there is demand for them.

Big titles are not shaping anything, the demand is, because without one, the big titles wouldn't be big. They represent what most people want in their games and what they find worth their money.

What you consider to be MMORPG or not is irrelevant, all those games compete for same customer.

You're assuming that the market is currently at an equilibrium between supply and demand. I understand the concept, but what you don't seem to get is that it sometimes takes time before markets to figure this stuff out. Hence the influx of sandbox games in development.


Originally posted by Holophonist

Sandbox games require far less content than themeparks because the players make their own content.

It doesn't, stupid myth... You still need to build the world and the tools, it's still a content, just different type. I would even argue that horizontal progression is even more expensive since you actually need more content because content does not accumulate over time.

Minecraft does not even belong to same market, neither exception makes the rule anyway.

You call it a stupid myth and you don't dispel it.... why is it a myth? I didn't say sandbox games require zero content, I said they require less than themeparks, and I explained why.

 

And Minecraft is as much an MMORPG as is LoL or any of the other non-MMO's that are on the list you used as an example of there being a lot of smaller games. As you say, they're competing for the same players and it DOESN'T need good graphics or $10 million startup costs to make people want to play it. It really shows the power of a true sandbox game done well.

  Hariken

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/15/13
Posts: 499

9/01/13 7:02:14 PM#150
Wow changed everything. I played mmo's pre wow and remember how cool they were. Only computer nerds played mmo's back in those days. My two favorite mmo's were Anarchy online and Earth & Beyond. Those days were the best times i ever had gaming. And i remember playing those games with Dev''s during events or they would just login on the weekends for the hell of it. Of course Westwood sold out to EA and EA closed down E&B. That was before they saw how much money Blizzard was going to make with wow. But every mmo post wow has been all about chasing the wow money and that's why most of them suck so bad. And mmo's going mainstream did not help at all. I would say wow making the money it did hurt the genre real badly.
  Holophonist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2021

9/01/13 7:10:47 PM#151
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by Holophonist

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by Holophonist

Originally posted by lizardbones The "buy in" for releasing an MMORPG is around ten million dollars. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/131252/applying_risk_analysis_to_.php That ten million dollars gets spent over five years or so of development time. Unless the MMORPG is somehow self funded, the investors have to be paid back. Ten million dollars isn't chump change, never mind the interest. That's why MMORPGs are about the numbers, because the money and the numbers because the money and the numbers are what determines if it survives or not. Taking it a step further, in theory if more money is invested, and higher numbers are achieved, then more money will be made. It's kind of like MMORPGs are the developers' avatars and they are constantly trying to achieve higher skill levels with their charisma.
This doesn't really mean anything. You're claiming that the typical MMO nowadays costs $10 million dollars. I don't know if that's true or not, and in our previous discussions you never cited any kind of example. But supposing it is true, it's not an argument for anything. The point people are making is that MMO's when down the path of more polish, better graphics, more "content" rather than the path of more simulation and deeper gameplay. The former costs more money than the latter.
What you believe is irrelevant. It costs a lot of money to produce MMORPGs. Unless the develop pulls that money out of their own pocket, the money has to be paid back. That's when an MMORPG becomes about money and numbers. Richard Garriott didn't self fund Ultima Online. He had to convince investors that there would be enough money, because of the numbers that Ultima Online was worth the investment. This isn't exclusive to MMORPGs, this is for any game that gets made. Self Funded = not have to worry about the money or numbers, Funded by Investors = have to worry about the money and numbers.
There's a difference between a developer getting funding from somebody to make the game they've envisioned and a developer making a game that is solely designed to make money.

 

 

And if the $10 million dollars number isn't supposed to mean anything, then why bring it up? If it's not a "hey look how expensive MMO's can be to produce" then why do you keep throwing it out there? I'm saying it's a bogus number because even if it is true, it's based on the current standards, not the standards of what could've been if MMO's took the other path of more simulation and deeper gameplay instead of the more expensive path of content, polish and graphics.




There are few if any developers who make games just to make money. However, making money is an unavoidable task for video game developers. They must make money, or they won't keep developing video games. They develop video games because they want to, they make money because they must.
Nobody disputes this. What I'm claiming is the shift to themepark wasn't one of desperation. The shift to themepark was because it was cheaper and easier. Are you claiming that these developers simply can't afford to make a more targeted game? That the market they're catering to is literally as small as it can be? Or do you think it's POSSIBLE that many of these developers have watered down what they would consider their ideal game just to get more players and more money?


I didn't say ten million dollars doesn't mean anything. You just don't believe it. I've presented evidence that it's true, but if you don't believe it, there's no point in wasting time trying to prove it to you. For everyone else, the person who wrote that article above worked in the MMORPG industry, specifically on the financial side of the industry. He knows far more about MMORPG development than I will ever know, and he said that in 2003 it costs ten million dollars to produce an MMORPG. I ballparked ten million dollars, he nailed it.
The relevance is in the significant amount of money it takes. When a project costs ten million dollars, and interest is going to accrue over five year's time before the first payment is even made, the amount of money an MMORPG is going to return becomes important. The investors are within their rights to sue the developer, shut down the game and sell any and all assets to recoup their investment. However, they know they're not going to get their money back (look up 38 Studios and see how well that went for investors), so showing how much money a game can make before getting the money is important. The games are about money and numbers before they're even developed.
You guys are literally just explaining the economics behind people investing in a project, you're not presenting any evidence to suggest that the market is currently at a level where they can't afford to make a more targeted game with a smaller playerbase.
By the way, all of this stuff about investors wanting to make their money back etc doesn't really jive. Smaller games would cost less to make so they wouldn't need as large a playerbase to regain their startup costs. Also, it's a smaller market so there's less competition. Themeparks are just a larger bet with a potentially larger return. All of this nonsense about mmo's costing $10 million dollars so they have to appeal to more players is just that: nonsense. 

MMORPGs are about money and numbers because they have to be. Even when Ultima Online was produced, it was about money and numbers because there's no other way to secure the funding necessary to produce the games. Again, that doesn't mean developers are building games for investors, it means they are convincing investors that the games they want to build will produce money, through numbers.

Do you know what selling out is? Serious question. Because they way you're arguing suggests that you simply don't believe that a developer would release a mediocre product in order to make more money. Do you know what selling out means? And if you do, do you think it's possible that he MMO genre over the past 15 years has been slowly selling out? If not, why?

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 6971

9/02/13 12:15:55 AM#152


Originally posted by Holophonist

What I'm claiming is the shift to themepark wasn't one of desperation.



There is no shift, themeparks were always having a vast major part of market share.


Originally posted by Holophonist

You guys are literally just explaining the economics behind people investing in a project, you're not presenting any evidence to suggest that the market is currently at a level where they can't afford to make a more targeted game with a smaller playerbase.


That is because you either don't understand it or ignore it, don't believ it, w/e.

When developers decided to go small then they need to shift a lot from concept of big titles. That means much higher risk and low profits. Invetors simply lose their interest at this point.

But again, this was all explained to you already...

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 6971

9/02/13 12:17:09 AM#153


Originally posted by Holophonist

You're assuming that the market is currently at an equilibrium between supply and demand.


I look at the market as it is, you are the one making assumptions here.



Originally posted by Holophonist

You call it a stupid myth and you don't dispel it....


I did, you just choose to ignore it.


Sorry, I am tired of you falacious inductive reasoning...

  Quirhid

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5537

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

9/02/13 4:18:58 AM#154

I think have never encountered someone so enthralled by his own narrative of things.

Don't you even suspect you might be wrong when so many sensible and well-spoken posters are against you? What they are trying to do, is to explain the very basics of the industry. How you persist with your line of thought at this point simply amazes me. You should take heed to what Gdemami, lizardbones, VengeSunsoar and countless others are telling you.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5244

9/02/13 5:21:41 AM#155
Strangely enough I don't see their two sets of opinions as being that far apart, a lot of it is about the intent of gaming companies, designers and so on. That is very difficult to judge and there is a argument to be had on both sides.
  Quirhid

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5537

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

9/02/13 6:28:26 AM#156
Originally posted by Scot
Strangely enough I don't see their two sets of opinions as being that far apart, a lot of it is about the intent of gaming companies, designers and so on. That is very difficult to judge and there is a argument to be had on both sides.

You think there's a rational argument to be had when a fan declares the object of their fandom has sold out?

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  Holophonist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2021

9/02/13 7:35:54 AM#157
Originally posted by Quirhid

I think have never encountered someone so enthralled by his own narrative of things.

Don't you even suspect you might be wrong when so many sensible and well-spoken posters are against you? What they are trying to do, is to explain the very basics of the industry. How you persist with your line of thought at this point simply amazes me. You should take heed to what Gdemami, lizardbones, VengeSunsoar and countless others are telling you.

Telling me what? What exactly do you think I'm claiming and what's your response to it?

  Holophonist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2021

9/02/13 7:39:15 AM#158
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by Holophonist

 

You're assuming that the market is currently at an equilibrium between supply and demand.


 

I look at the market as it is, you are the one making assumptions here.

No, you're assuming that there are as many sandbox games as there is demand for them. That's an assumption and shows you don't understand how markets work. There are a lot of sandboxes in development. That should show you that sandbox players are being underserved.


Originally posted by Holophonist

You call it a stupid myth and you don't dispel it....

 


I did, you just choose to ignore it.


Sorry, I am tired of you falacious inductive reasoning...

No, you didn't. I've explained why sandbox games require less content than themeparks. By definition sandbox games allow players to create their own content. You give them tools and then they go to work. Yes, you have to create the tools, but that's much cheaper than making endless expansions and level caps and new dungeons/raids/gear/etc.

  Holophonist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2021

9/02/13 7:41:02 AM#159
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by Holophonist

 

What I'm claiming is the shift to themepark wasn't one of desperation.


 


There is no shift, themeparks were always having a vast major part of market share.

 


Originally posted by Holophonist

You guys are literally just explaining the economics behind people investing in a project, you're not presenting any evidence to suggest that the market is currently at a level where they can't afford to make a more targeted game with a smaller playerbase.

 


That is because you either don't understand it or ignore it, don't believ it, w/e.

When developers decided to go small then they need to shift a lot from concept of big titles. That means much higher risk and low profits. Invetors simply lose their interest at this point.

But again, this was all explained to you already...

You need to stop with this holier than thou attitude regarding economics. I know more about economics than you. I build predictive models for a living. Why don't you stop appealing to authority and answer some of my points? Smaller games require less startup costs so they don't NEED as many players to play their game. The argument about how much mmo's cost is completely fallacious. 

  Holophonist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2021

9/02/13 7:42:18 AM#160
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Scot
Strangely enough I don't see their two sets of opinions as being that far apart, a lot of it is about the intent of gaming companies, designers and so on. That is very difficult to judge and there is a argument to be had on both sides.

You think there's a rational argument to be had when a fan declares the object of their fandom has sold out?

Except people are merely arguing against the possibility of them selling out. Nobody is accepting that it's something that can happen and then having a discussion about whether or not it has. They're acting like a bunch of quasi-economists, claiming that MMO's just HAVE to appeal to this many players otherwise they wouldn't survive.

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