Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Sun Dec 16 23:17:07 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Fri, 14 Dec 2001, Sellers, Mike wrote:

> 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.

Well, no specified it had to be 3D. I mean, if people are saying you
need 5 million (and likely a lot more) to build an Everquest clone,
I'll certainly agree. I'm just saying that not every project has to
try and go for the brass ring and compete on quality and quantity of
graphics, etc.

The assumption also seems to be being made that what you can charge
is about $10/month, and I don't buy that assumption. Maybe if you're
doing an Everquest game, that's what you can get away with charging,
but smaller MUDs can charge more.

>> 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.

All of Woody Allen's movies cost far less than that to make, and
they almost all are profitable (He makes about one a year). And, he
manages to do it while being recognized as one of the leading
artistic film talents of his generation. A lot of smaller
independent movies end up having an ROI, measured by percent at
least (which I'll grant isn't everything), much higher than the
50-100 million blockbusters do.

Again, I get the impression people are blinded by that big brass
ring looming out there somewhere.

>> 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.

No, I'm not thinking of translating text into graphics. All other
issues aside, Achaea isn't suitable for graphics. It'd be robbed of
its spirit.

I'm not even saying I'll end up attempting it, and of course, who
knows whether I'd succeed. I'm convinced it can be done though. I'd
be surprised if someone isn't already working on something graphical
and smaller that will work out well financially.


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