Tobold Prediction – CCP Bankrupt in 2012

Hey, it is Friday and Tobold has made a prediction for the 2012 MMO market over in the comment thread over at Hardcore Casual:

I am quite willing to bet you that CCP goes bankrupt in 2012. You might want to interpret their “great success” how ever you like, but financial reports don’t lie.

Yes, there was the whole Incarna debacle and the recent layoffs that brought with them a return to focus on EVE Online at the expense of the planned World of Darkness MMO.  But it is a long jump from there to bankruptcy.  Or is it?

Tobold elaborates further with his thoughts on the subject here, while SynCaine has his own view.

What do you think will happen to CCP in 2012?

I enabled the “other” field if you have a different vision of the future.  And, of course, feel free to justify your point of view in the comment thread for this post.

23 thoughts on “Tobold Prediction – CCP Bankrupt in 2012

  1. TheRemedy

    I have a feeling the bigger mistake will be Dust. A console micro-transaction based fps? The console market is already incredibly crowded with shooters, ones that do not require micro-transactions. And the ps3 is not for want of sci-fi shooters, Killzone 3 and Resistance 3 are already out. And Starhawk, a game that seems to be kind of similar to Dust, is expected to launch before it. That game also lacks micro-transactions besides standard DLC.

    If Dust flops, which it has a good chance of doing, I think we are definitely going to see the end of CCP as we know it.

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  2. Stabs

    I think they will stabilise. They had one major MMO supporting the costs of three and then to compound that they neglected the cash cow. The current tranche of Eve changes are very welcome ones, only the POCO is debatable (and I’m all for it as are a lot of players). DUST will be cheaper to provide a Live team for than a development team for even if it bombs.

    Eve’s sub numbers are healthy and will go up. It is sound now that the company has had a sharp lesson in financial prudence.

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  3. Green Armadillo

    I’m not sure where the lines are between acquisition (we’d never know if it was because of financial distress), bankrupcy (dunno if Iceland allows you to file and continue to operate as usual), and complete closure (obvious I guess, but there’s no way that someone wouldn’t pay something for Eve if for no other reason than to spam the players).

    As Remedy notes, I think the PS3 project may be a bad call. Neither set of players is going to be fond of the other affecting their gameplay, so I’m not sure what the market is going to be (other than AFK miners with a PS3 they can use within view of their computers).

    That said, it is very hard to completely kill an MMO that has current subscriptions. Whether or not the game has peaked, it’s got a long way to go before the company would go under, and I doubt it will get that far in 2012.

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  5. Ixliam

    I voted for them to be bought out by another company. I’m not sure they can turn the ship around, there’s a good bit of folks who just quit altogether. I’d say most players have multiple subs, myself included – though I’m just burning through ISK for plex and keeping training going. So when they lose one player, they may lose 2-8 “subscriptions”. I don’t think EVE has the churn rate that Blizzard does, where you have a constant influx of players vs those that leave. With the firing of most of the community team that were pretty active in engaging the players, I don’t know how that helps them to show how they want to improve communication with the players. They probably had too many working in that area, but by keeping the ones who were not that active (probably did community work on the side), and firing the dedicated community managers who had good relations with the players, it sure doesn’t help.

    If don’t think DUST will even make back the money spent on it. The market is so saturated with FPS, then limiting it to a PS3 release, just seems like a waste of effort. Had they released it for the PC (a platform that most EVE players already own), then ported it to the consoles, it might have done “ok”. I honestly think that had they put the development time into WOD instead, along with EVE, they would be better off than they are now. WOD has a huge market out there, and it would likely drawn any fan of vampires, sparkling or not.

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  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    In this situation, I am sad for White Wolf. Being a company in a niche able to stay alive and then being bought out by a big company that promises to take you places and then screws you over is a common Silicon Valley story. I mourn for all the good companies Nortel acquired and destroyed in its attempt to buy its way out of stupidity. I’ve been on both ends of that sort of deal.

    I am also uncertain that CCP would ever be allowed to go bankrupt or be acquired. A company like CCP that brings in foreign currency to a small country like Iceland (population ~320K) which still maintains its own currency might be too important for the government to let fail. CCP could be the Lehman Brothers or General Motors of Iceland.

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  7. ScytheNoire

    Dust is what will really be their downfall. CCP has made all the wrong moves lately, and bringing out a console game that ties into EVE makes no sense at all. Totally different markets, different player types. CCP has done this all to themselves, they screwed themselves by getting greedy.

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  8. bluelinebasher

    Voted for “an acquisition by a competitor” only because of Dust opening the door (maybe a FPS add-on was a prerequisite for a potential buyer). Shame too, since the most interesting gaming stories seem to come from Eve Online.

    Like

  9. bhagpuss

    Iceland went bankrupt in 2008. GDP is still declining year-on-year.

    CCP even after its recent problems must surely still be a major success story by current Icelandic standards. I would guess that they may need to retrench more but will weather the current storm. They’ve seen much worse already.

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  10. Jaggins

    Releasing Dust on PS3 is plain crazy. I would have bought it to play on PC. I hope Sony made it worth their time, though the PS3 is nearing the end of the lifecycle which may complicate the longevity of Dust.

    I miss the scrappy CCP of 2007.

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  11. Noizy

    So instead of continuing to burn $8 million a year on developing 2 new games, CCP announces plans to put one game in the back of the closet and lays off 114 people, thus probably saving $7-9 million a year in salary and benefits. And the cuts do not negatively affect the revenue stream since World of Darkness hadn’t even reached beta yet. Given what the financial reports say, that move should put CCP back in the black. And even if DUST fails to make back all of the money CCP spent developing it, the game should not be a major revenue drain next year like it has this year.

    CCP seems committed to getting back to developing their spaceship game after 18 months of working on other things. If they can hold onto the current player base and their plans to expand into the Japan market succeed, I really don’t see CCP going under next year.

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  13. K Sato

    Well the bunch of sociopaths that for want of a better word the call their community has driven away many thousands of potentially loyal customers from their game into other games that have protections such as bans against what would be described as harassment in other games.

    The moral of the story look after your customers or someone else will.

    EVE will go bankrupt, they had a brilliant idea for a game but unfortunately a small minority of very vocal sociopathic players ruined it.

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  14. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @K Sato – Not really keeping up with things, are you? This article was from a year ago about a prediction that CCP would go bankrupt in 2012. That clearly is not going to happen.

    EVE is a game a friction. Other players impact what you do all the time, and a lot of people just want to be left alone like they were in a single player game. EVE was never the game for them in the first place.

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  15. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    This poll has been up for a year, it is probably about time to close it. Here are the “other” results:

    -business as usual or improved results
    -Tobold making ridiculous, unjustifiable predictions again
    -cake!
    -More drama than you can shake a stick at
    -unknown

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  18. larry

    Only reason Tobold is wrong, is because CCP saved all their profit they have made. It was able to absorb this loss, as well with the rest of profit and they cash they have they can pay off the loans they have for this year.

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  19. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @larry – That is like saying, “The only reason I didn’t bounce the mortgage check is because I made sure I had enough money in my checking account.” It is technically true, yet not very meaningful. To insinuate that Tobold was right, I think you need more than that.

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