[MUD-Dev] MMORPGs & MUDs

Derek Licciardi kressilac at home.com
Wed Dec 12 23:41:50 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Tresca

> If you have problem players on your game, it doesn't get any
> better on a MMORPG -- it gets a thousand times worse.  What I'm
> missing is how that hands-on touch becomes a frill rather than a
> requirement -- when did it become acceptable to let the jerks
> overrun the game?

> I've heard players say it before: thank god for those graphic
> games, the twinks all play there.

> What's the screen?  Ultimately, a game filters out players that
> don't match its style.  So far, to date, the only requirement that
> I've seen is, "Pay your monthly fee."  Games shouldn't be for
> everyone -- they CAN'T be.  Carefully targeted MMORPGs won't make
> as much money, but I'd imagine they'd have a more loyal (and
> ultimately, greater ROI) player base in the long term. It seems a
> lot has been sacrificed for the sake of generic appeal.

This is hard to stomach.  I am not saying that someone with money to
burn and a passion in his/her heart won't do this but the current
economic model surrounding game development won't let this
happen.(forget that we are in a recession) MMORPGs take between 5
and 10 million dollars to produce.  I know because I just finished
our financials for our next project.  At the current rate they will
take 15, 20 or 25 million to produce in five or so years.  I think
back to a statement about games costing as much as movies someday
and think, that time is nearly at hand.(If I am correct it was made
in Wired) Anyway, my point is that unless you have an altruistic
investor that is willing to "give it a roll" with a pile of money,
there is no way a targeted MMORPG will exist.  At 10 bucks a month
you need well over 100,000 subscribers and a $50 boxed set sold to
many more than this to break even in five years.  You're talking
hardcore finance and investment.  Think about where the money comes
from and I would say there are maybe three people in the gaming
industry with the right resources, understanding of MMORPGs and
inclination to take on something that risky.  (Richard Garriot comes
mind though I doubt even he would.)  Anyone else is not in the
MMORPG business and views your model as SIGNIFICANTLY more risky
than something targeted at the masses where statistically you have a
better chance at getting the requisite number of subscribers to turn
a profit.  You must remember that the stock market drives investing
in many ways.  Long term is a foreign word to most investors.  Most
can't seem to think beyond "How fast can I recoup my investment and
start making a profit.".  Anything that slows this down is viewed as
a bad thing including long term ROI from a loyal customer base.  I
hate that idea as much as you do, but the fact is unless one of us
becomes wealthy enough to prove the naysayers wrong this is reality.
Even if I did become that wealthy, I can't say I would throw away my
hard earned money when a better alternative is present and just as
easily achievable.

Derek

ps Perhaps the market will grow large enough such that niche MMORPGs
are possible, then again this would just be a more populated mass
market.  Fact is you still need nearly 100,000 at 10/month subscribers
to be successful in the MMORPG space given the costs to build them.

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