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

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Sat Jan 25 17:27:34 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

Ron Gabbard posted on Thursday, January 23, 2003 10:32 AM

> Profitability is the BEST metric for measuring the overall quality
> of the game experience.

Correction: long-term profitability is the BEST metric.

> 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.

I agree, especially "for as long as possible."

Remember, these games require a considerable investment of time and
money.  They have more depth than many other ventures, even other
games, because they are UNIVERSES.  Making a game with incredible
depth, only to have it loses its popularity in three years is a
waste.  We should NOT see mass exoduses of folks from Ultima to
EverQuest to Asheron's Call to Dark Ages of Camelot.

> 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.

MMORPGs don't get churned out.  They better not be considering the
challenges in building one.  If they were so easy to churn out,
there'd be a lot more already in existence.

MMORPGs are not simply new products.  They are "experiences" with
long life cycles.  So far, all I've seen is the rush to market
approach -- grab as many customers as possible and then let the game
flameout, ultimately losing customers to other MMORPGs in the same

There's certainly nothing wrong with a short-cycle business
approach.  But then the graphics investment, coding investment,
community investment aren't necessary and the game should be
expected to be taken off line within a few years.  There is a
certain vanity in assuming your product has an infinite life cycle
even if it is in a short cycle market.

I'm curious to find out just how long an expected life cycle of a
game is vs. how long it lasts before it "jumps the shark" and begins
losing customers faster than it gains them.

Mike "Talien" Tresca
RetroMUD Administrator

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