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All Posts by UnSub

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153 posts found
Just wanted to make the point that in Pathfinder Online's second Kickstarter they indicated that they were already fully funded through other investors. The KS money was just to create the game faster and bigger, which seems to be contrary goals.
Doctor Doom. According to the newspapers in Latveria he is the world's greatest hero!

Originally posted by Gel214th

That is absolutely fantastic news! I love RIFT!! :-)


Wonder what the profit on that gross revenue is?


Anyone with inside info on how much MMOs cost to run and what the margins are usually like?



WoW has a profit ratio of 40% to 50%, depending on the year.


I suspect that few MMOs are in that same ballpark, and would be closer to 15 - 25% (obviously that is heaviliy dependent on the size of the player base and game costs). Plus a lot of those profits need to go straight back into the game to ensure its further development.



Originally posted by mrpoepoe

I don't understand the MMO audience, on the one hand the fact that games are easier and more accesbile is lamented; we hate that they've dumbed down, but anything more challenging or commited gets cries of "WE DON'T WANT TO SPEND ALL OF OUR TIME IN-GAME". It's a strange Catch 22 situation, and one that you really have to say, this game is made for this audience, and this is made for the other, because no game is yet to reach a balance that is convincing. 



 


It's different audiences though. The players coming into this thread to wallow in the nostalgia of Brad's EQ possibly want to go through that kind of experience again (but with better graphics, improved UI with all the expected functions, bug-free gaming experience etc) but they are in the vast minority.


The vast majority want to log in, play an hour or two and achieve something, sometimes with friends / a team.


There are players out there who believe that forced downtime, forced teaming, lining up to fight a named boss who has a 5% chance of dropping an item they need, corpse runs et al are great things, but huge numbers of players went to MMOs that got rid of those things.


Also, EQ was considered the 'themepark' of its time compared to the 'sandbox' UO. Which game was overall more successful in drawing in players? EQ.



Originally posted by purewitz

And Star Wars: The OId Republic will own the year that is 2012 and will continue to be the one MMO to rule them all, The Chosen One. Plus there will be a new term called the TOR Killer, but one will not come for a long time. Yet there maybe one in the distant future. Maybe another Star Wars MMO or maybe the fabled Mass Effect MMO. Only time will tell. All this was foretold by the wise MMO Sages of old. The prophecy read that one day  The Chosen One would  come and will rule them all. And The Chosen One has come and The Chosen One was born on December 20th, 2011. Unto a  virgin MMORPG developer named Bioware, who was without the sins of the Harlot MMORPG developer named Sony Online Entertainment. So it was written and so it has come to pass. Rejoice O' MMO Gamer, Rejoice. For we are now in a Golden Age of Online Interactive Entertainment. Oh Plus the prophecy as fortold that The Beast know as World of Warcraft will be cast in to the abyss in 2012, along with its evil creator named Blizzard aka Diablo himself. Freeing the poor WOW slaves from their bondage forever. Amen.





 


 


... so EA is Joseph in that particular scenario?





 


Originally posted by Ozmodan

I bet one of the f2p producers will pick this game up, there was not enough content in this game to justify the pay to play.



 


Very unlikely. Lego Universe was originally a NetDevil game under Gazillion as one of its flagship titles, but it did so badly NetDevil was pretty much forced into hiving off the LU team and setting it up at the Lego Group. Apparently it came very close to being cancelled before going off to Lego, and even that was probably a way of saving face.


And then there was the move to F2P, with a model that wasn't attractive to pay for and not enough content being released to keep existing players paying.


It's failed twice, and this time under Lego's direct control. They'll want it gone and forgotten.


One thing to note is that DCUO apparently has 3x the player base on the PS3 than the PC. That's the platform it has the advantage in and that's the platform I think it will thrive in.


As for the general industry shift to F2P - players generally only play one sub title, but can have as many F2P games on the go as they want. Quality doesn't come into it except on a comparative basis, given the state of AC, EQ2, SWG or UO at launch; it's just now that players can easily wander off to another game if they want a similar experience.


The change in release date for Neverwinter suggests the original budget and timeline was set by Atari, but PW is willing to invest more into the title and stretch out the timeline.


I'd also suspect that launching a title in Q3 / Q4 2011, with SWOR and Diablo 3 just waiting to drop, would be a risky endeavour anyway.


There will also probably be a time of clarification if Cryptic still has access to the D&D license, or if the legal decision invalidates any contract they had with Atari. Cryptic's Tunnels & Trolls Online is still a possibility.


San Diego Comicon sucks because... comics are a dead scene?


Originally posted by Dinendae
Originally posted by vesavius

 

lol :)

 

But poor Cryptic... they actually were once a respected outift.

This is what it has come down to? PW? :(

 Who else would really want them, other than an Asian company looking to make a presence in North America (or expand that presence)?

Western companies know it would be cheaper to wait for the company to crash and then look to pick up the pieces in a fire sale. PW would seem to want an intact company to ... well, we'll see.

Looks like Cryptic has been bought by Perfect World:


http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/05/31/cryptic-now-in-a-perfect-world/


So yes, it was an Eastern developer / publisher looking to expand into the Western market who bought them for (upfront, at least) E35m.


Atari lists Cryptic's worth at about US$60m in its earnings report. They paid about $24m in cash for Cryptic when they bought it, along with bonus payments for certain targets being met for ChampO (which weren't paid) and STO (which were partially paid).


Not mentioned above is the issue of the Euro strengthening against the US$ - this makes Cryptic less attractive to hold onto since they need to pay back a lot more in US$ to pay back their Euro debt. And as for Cryptic making a loss, it could be expected since they are still paying off development costs for two titles and are developing two more. I'm sure Atari wanted them to be self-sufficient, but Cryptic would need to stop developing titles for that to happen. Revenue-wise they earned about US$22m in 2010/11, but obviously spent around US$30m.


I've thought that Cryptic might be a better purchase for an Eastern F2P group who wanted an in to the US market. ChampO and STO have improved since launch and STO going F2P could revitalise that title. That said, any potential purchaser might be thinking about waiting to see if they can buy a discontinued Cryptic for parts during a fire sale instead of picking up an operating company.


It'd be useful to know if that annual loss for Cryptic includes the development costs of ChampO and STO (or a portion thereof). Or how much of that loss is driven by development of Neverwinter.


In the end, I'm not sure who would buy Cryptic - history has shown it is cheaper for potential buyers to wait until the game / company crashes, then come in and pick up the pieces for a much cheaper rate.


In a lot of ways review scores are saying either "buy", "try" or "avoid" the subject they are reviewing. Past that point, a lot of review systems are window dressing.


Personally I appreciate a review that has a short list of pros and cons around a title, plus I think you could also have a "Better than..." and "Worse than..." comparison (and that will still generate lots of site traffic as fans of all games come in to tell you how wrong you are!).


On the subject of bias: be open. Have a Bias Box in every review saying, "This review was written during Patch 1.0.1.1.3. We were provided with 5 complimentary copies of this title for review, the author is best friends with the lead developer and they had a beer every Friday on the company dime." Bias might exist, but be open about it so that readers know they aren't being misled. If they choose to disregard a review because of "bias", then I'm sure they will find a reason anyway.


Agree about needing different reviews for different periods. A Day One review, A Month One review and a Year One review could cover the different experiences / evolution of a MMO.


The articles focused on what was important to their target audience.


 


For comic book readers, Bendis being the writer was important. For MMO players, the F2P aspect (and 'fixed' characters) were the critical issues.


 


DCUO should go F2P - that would help solve a lot of its population issues and the title is better suited to that payment model.


SOE are highly unlikely to sell The Agency to someone else. An unreleased game isn't worth nearly as much as they would have invested into it (remember, APB cost something like US$80m up to launch - so that you at least know it was launch ready, which isn't the case with The Agency - and it only cost something like US$2.25m to buy in RTW's fire sale) and if SOE sell it to a competitor then there's always a chance they'll have a massively successful competitor to their own MMOFPS titles like Planetside.

 

Much easier to shut it down, take the tax write-off and perhaps see what can be cannibalised for other SOE titles.

SOE really overpromised and underdesigned on DCUO. For a game with a short levelling curve, a substantial endgame is required; instead, the endgame relies on a large amount of recycled content and repeatable raids.

 

Apart from the PS3 / PC development issues, I wonder if the use of voice overs helps to substanitally bottleneck content development. After all, SOE can't just develop some missions and drop them in - they need to get actors in to voice the content as well. And since they've used such recognisable voices for certain characters, they have to either avoid using their big guns, which leads to content featuring less appealing characters, or pay bigger dollars and hope that Mark Hamill can find time to do the Joker voice some time in the next 30 days.

 

(Obviously content will be developed in an overlapping process, but the VO can't be recorded too early just in case the script is changed following scope revisions.)

1) I think the true point of this article was to open The Syndicate up to a good roasting.

2) Having read through the article, I've still go no idea what The Syndicate is working on for 2011. A book on guild mechanics? Okay. Vague discusssions with other developers? Which developers? Which games? They want more guides, more mobile MMO access, more chat tools? So does every guild. They use Ventrillo? Not exactly a revelation in 2011.

3) Who else have The Syndicate worked with previously? Have they actually improved the games they've been involved in any more than any other beta testers?

Originally posted by Theonenoni

So why did they oust Richard Garriot?   It couldnt be that Tabula Rasa was lacking in financial profit alone.

The Garriotts (Robert and Richard) were running NCsoft North America and after 6-ish years of development delivered an expensive flop in TR. They'd also launched Auto Assault as a flop and City of Heroes / Villains which was a solid performer but dwarfed in a post-WoW industry.

 

Meanwhile, a lot of other titles bore the brunt of those costs and subsequent flop. Hell, it's arguable that pretty much the entire closure of NCsoft Europe (folded into NCsoft West) is due to TR's poor result. A new management team came in, led by ArenaNet's Chris Chung, Patrick Wyatt and Jeff Strain. Someone decided to clean house of the old Destination Games crew.

 

Reading between the lines of the time (which is to say, "I wasn't there, just read the available information") TR was given such golden child status that it made other developers resentful of it. If TR needed resources, it got it; if it wasn't TR, good luck with that duct tape and crazy glue. So someone (and perhaps word came from on high in Korea) tried to give Garriott the heave-ho while he was in space, but did an awful job of it, opening the door to the lawsuit.

 

Funnily enough, that ArenaNet-led management group is pretty much gone now and NCsoft West is run much more directly by Korea.

 

Why get rid of Garriott? TR was an embarrassment to NCsoft on top of not being profitable. Garriott was top of the tree when it came to TR, so therefore he had to bear the consequences.

What happened to Richard Garriott and what happened to Tabula Rasa are two different things. They are intertwined, but a lot of people mix the separate events up.

 

Tabula Rasa was cancelled because it was likely going to take a decade plus before it would have reached profitability due to low player numbers. There's some idea that NCsoft just decided to cancel it one day on a whim, but they'd given the game every opportunity to succeed. NCsoft Korea poured a lot of money into it (possibly over US$100m), even cancelling / cutting into other NCsoft North American titles to fund development. After nearly a year post-launch, NCsoft Korea crunched the numbers and realised they probably would never recoup that investment (especially with ongoing content development costs included), so they killed the game. Tabula Rasa just cost too much and launched incredibly badly.

 

What happened to Richard Garriott is another story.

 

When NCsoft expanded into the US seriously in 2001, they bought Destination Games and the expertise of Richard and Robert Garriott. Richard and Robert made deals for titles like City of Heroes and Auto Assault while Richard worked on NCsoft's ultimate game - one that would be successful both in Eastern and Western Markets (along with Starr Long and Jake Song as co-development leads). But TR didn't launch until 2007 after at least one near complete re-development. My understanding is that by this time Richard Garriott (who never wanted it to be "Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa") had lost interest in developing the title. He stuck it out in being loyal to NCsoft and his studio, but his interest really was to go into space. Robert Garriott was head of NCsoft North America.

 

Up to the point that TR flopped, NCsoft Korea was happy letting the Garriott brothers run that side of the operation, but with this disaster they stepped up and took more control. Someone made a decision that the Garriotts had to go, and the people who were picked to replace them running things were ArenaNet veterans led by Chris Chung as CEO. (Richard Garriott was more interested in his space flight anyway; Robert Garriott had received a backwards promotion earlier to clear the way.) But firing the Garriotts would be expensive and messy - they had contracts and stock.

 

Pure supposition on my part, but the flop of TR caused a lot of bile internally at NCsoft West (a combination of NCsoft North America, NCsoft Europe and some other NCsoft entities - the combination probably caused by TR's failure). For years TR had been the golden child, getting all the attention and money - after it flopped, it was time for payback of sorts. Someone made the decision to force Richard Garriott out and the open letter that was published where he said he was quitting NCsoft was forged (according to the outcome of the lawsuit). Garriott said that Chung fired him, which would have given him greater options around what he could do with his stock than if he'd quit. There is no proof about who was responsible for this act, but it is highly coincidential that Chung got demoted and that a lot of the ArenaNet guys promoted to key NCsoft West positions have moved on.

 

Garriott was treated badly by NCsoft, but at the same time he had responsibility for a title that cost a lot of people their jobs. As for why hate NCsoft? I certainly don't, but I'm not surprised when they shutter one of their titles (e.g. Auto Assault, Tabula Rasa, Dungeon Runners, Exteel) either.

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