Sellers Sellers
Fri Dec 14 12:31:54 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Matt wrote:
> On Wed, 12 Dec 2001, Derek Licciardi wrote:

>> 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.
> The fact that current graphical MUDs cost between 5 and 10 million
> to produce is not a comment on the inherent cost of producing an
> graphical MUD. It is a comment on the cost of producing one of the
> graphical MUDs that exist today, or, in your case, is a comment on
> your particular project.

There are doubtless ways to skin this cat that none of us have
thought of.  That said, *IF* you want to create a business making a
graphical online game (meaning you don't do it in your off-hours),
the costs mount quickly into the multiple millions of dollars.  I
still believe it is possible to make a new 3D MMP game for less than
$5M... But despite my belief, I have not been able to jigger the
spreadsheets to make a good business case (read: low enough risk)
that shows this.  First one who does, and who actually makes it with
a game that sustains itself for a couple of years, will have a real
winner on their hands.

> What you're saying is like saying "All movies cost 50-100 million
> to make."

More specifically, "all movies that pay their actors, hands,
editors, etc., and that make a decent ROI for their investors cost
50-100 million to make."  Said that way -- leaving out films where
no one gets paid or no one makes any money -- it's not far from the
truth at all.

>> 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.

> Well, if you define massively multiplayer as over 100,000 then of
> course, you're right by definition. Otherwise though, you're
> not. And I'll tell you I know that because I've done the
> financials for one that needs considerably less.

Proof's in the pudding though Matt.  I'll be overjoyed for you when
you make this happen.  And *maybe* transitioning from text to
graphics (if that's what you're thinking of) gives you a sufficient
leg up that you can amortize a lot of costs as already sunk, and so
you can avoid a lot of other costs.  I don't know.  But as dubious
as I am, if you can make the running costs and ROI work for a
graphical MMP game with a much smaller audience size, I will be one
of the ones cheering loudest.

Mike Sellers
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