[MUD-Dev] Evolutionary Design

rgabbard at swbell.net rgabbard at swbell.net
Tue Jun 18 07:37:27 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


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Original message: http://www.kanga.nu/archives/MUD-Dev-L/2002Q2/msg01333.php

On Tue, 18 Jun 2002 01:04:30 -0700 (PDT)
Matt Mihaly <the_logos at achaea.com> wrote:
> On Sat, 15 Jun 2002, Ron Gabbard wrote:

>> It seems like people like to talk about design concepts and
>> technology issues -- these are fun and understood.
  
>> There are still a lot of NASDAQ millionaires running around with
>> few investment options.  The stock market is sluggish and
>> interest rates are down.  Getting money should be relatively
>> easy.
 
> There may be rich angels looking to invest, but it's my
> understanding that the traditional VC (Sandhill Road, etc) isn't
> much interested in games period, because it's a
> business-to-consumer proposition. Games also labour under the
> disadvantage of being extremely subjective. If I just built myself
> a computer chip that runs 10x faster than anything previously
> seen, and can be produced with no extra hassle, then there's a
> pretty clear-cut investment case there. The product is obviously
> better than existing ones.

This is where the 'selling' part comes in.  The game designer has to
have some reason to believe that their game has some sort of
competitive advantage in the ORPG market.  Those competitive
advantages then have to be tied to either lower risk or higher
return.

I agree with you in that if the designer goes in a pitches a
'storyline' that they will probably be shot down really fast.  It is
too subjective.  However, there are many tangible aspects to the
game and the development team that can be quantified... a superior
team of artists that can produce 3x the amount of quality art in a
certain time period, a DBA that has developed a method of optimizing
the database to allow for less server load, ancillary products that
can be sold to the players (such as printable character sheets with
full statistical and inventory information) that provide additional
sources of revenue, etc.  Not only does this lower the risk/increase
reward of investing in a project it reinforces to the money people
that the development group is focused on creating a profitable fun
game and not just a fun game.

> This isn't the case at all with games, where barring a few almost
> guaranteed hits (Doom 3, for instance), it's nearly impossible to
> know what is going to be a hit at the funding stage of things.

Agreed.  Unless you have a big-name franchise behind you, there is
little guarantee of anything.

> Anyway, as far as I'm aware, traditional VCs rarely invest in any
> type of game developer.

I would be interested in hearing some of the reasons that game
development projects were rejected by VCs.  I've gone through two
'dog and pony' shows in the B2B software arena and would like to see
if the reasons VCs present for not investing in game developers are
similar to commercial software ventures.

Cheers,

Ron

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