[MUD-Dev] Working with Franchises (was Star Wars Galaxies: 1 char per server)

Ron Gabbard rgabbard at swbell.net
Thu Jan 23 09:32:18 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


From: "Michael Tresca" <talien at toast.net>
> Dave Rickey posted on Sunday, January 12, 2003 12:16 PM

>> My paycheck says different.  Especially the part of it that comes
>> directly from the profitability of the game.

> This isn't a slam on your game, Dave.  But Who Wants to be a
> Millionaire was drek -- and it made a lot of money, ABC relied
> upon it completely, and then it collapsed.  It was not a good
> business model.  It was not necessarily a "quality" show -- but it
> made a lot of money.

> Then, the well dried up, quite suddenly actually.  Sustainable
> business models are about making money in the long term -- not get
> rich quick schemes.

> Millionaire was a great example of how to make money fast.  It's
> also a terrible example of a sustainable business model.  All the
> folks who worked on that show can point to their paychecks and
> say, "I made a lot of money off of this."  So can the higher ups
> at Enron.  Doesn't mean it's a good business model.

The bottom line is the bottom line...  (Tossing in Enron as an
example is inflammatory and off-topic as I don't think anyone has
suggested defrauding customers or employees or breaking any kind of
law.)

Profitability is the BEST metric for measuring the overall quality
of the game experience.  Going back to the first rule of economics
-- people are rational and will act according to their best
self-interest.  What is the player's best self-interest in a game?
It varies from player to player.  Some players place a higher value
on server performance and up-time...  others on PVE content... PVP
balance and playability... acceptance of and ability to
role-play... even customer support.  Each player has their own model
in their heads that weighs various factors and determines whether a
game is worth the incremental $X/month plus the time investment.

The game designer (and entire game company) has one goal... to
create a value proposition that will attract as many paying
customers as possible given available resources and retain those
customers for as long as possible while still remaining profitable.

Millionaire made a lot of money... so are the Osbornes... so is Anna
Nicole Smith... the list goes on.  Sustainable business models are
at the corporate level, not the product level.  Meaning, a company
that is good at profitably churning out new products to capture the
"flavor-of-the-week" has a business model as sustainable as the
company that focuses on products with longer life cycles.  Customers
aren't stupid.  If they buy a product and are not satisfied with
that product, they may feel ripped off and may never buy a product
made by that company again.  The old adage "fool me once, shame on
you -- fool me twice, shame on me" applies.  THAT is where the
sustainability comes from... not necessarily the life cycle of any
one product.

Cheers,

Ron
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