[MUD-Dev] Investor Perceptions if BSI wins was( Re: Black Snow Revisited)

Derek Licciardi kressilac at insightBB.com
Tue Apr 2 20:11:44 New Zealand Daylight Time 2002

From: Adam M

> As a side note, your statements about investors being scared away
> are also quite misleading: MMO Games development is not as you
> seem to think an ultra-high risk proposition, perhaps despite what
> publishers may say. I've seen tons of interest in investment at
> the million-dollar level from corporates - let alone professional
> investors - in MMOG development. These are not generally high-risk
> investors.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you are right
that I am probably not as aware of IP law as I should be, but having
been shopping an MMO around for the past few months to many of the
major publishers, I can tell you that your statement below is far
from the truth.  I spoke with many producers, one on one, while at
GDC this year and the general sentiment is that MMOs are huge
projects with ongoing costs in an industry where ongoing costs (and
revenues) are a crazy idea.  "What you mean my PRODUCT will be
selling 5 years from now?  You're joking right?"  The producers as a
whole are simply not prepared to enter into a SERVICE revenue model.
MMOs from that standpoint are huge risks for them when they could
fund 5 - 6 titles in the console or single player world for the same
money.  Simply put, the failures of the past year have had their
impact on the market and the investment activity on the publisher's
behalf is indicitave of this trend.  (I wish it wasn't so) If you
have seen so much desire, please have them call me and I will pitch
a quality team and a quality game to them.  Currently, that has not
been my experience.

This all makes the BSI suit that much more important.  If the BSI
suit would have happened two years ago, I would have thought it
wouldn't impact an extremely hot market.  This year is a completely
different story.  A BSI win tells the industry that you may not have
absolute rights to your IP to do with as you please.  At the very
least it acts negatively towards investors perceptions of the
market.  Investors will inevitably ask what if and taking a cue from
the dot.com bust, what if can be a very powerful question.  This is
why I would expect any immediate investment decline to be short
term.(couple years at most as was the dot.com recession)

I'm not trying to be overly negative but given the direction and
ideas from GDC this year, a BSI win would put doubt into many
upcoming projects that are attempting to give players more control
over their in-game experience.  There is a gravity to this suit,
that I believe could change the industry dramatically.  Perhaps
there is another country where a game could be developed free from
the scary lawsuits that are afloat in the litigous US.

On a related note, SOE has been sued for yet another death claimed
to be related to Everquest playing time. *chuckle*

Derek Licciardi

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