Ars Technica reported over the weekend (via Private Equity Hub, which unfortunately charges for their content, so I couldn’t follow up on details) that Turbine has secured $40 million in additional venture capital (bringing their total up to $88 million) and will be announcing a new project soon.
That brings up two immediate question.
First, what will Turbine’s new project be? Another MMO surely, but an original IP or will they be licensing again?
So far they have two original IP MMOs:
Asheron’s Call – success
Asheron’s Call 2 – failure
And two licensed IP MMOs:
Lord of the Rings Online – success
Dungeons and Dragons Online – still open, but hardly a smash
Which route to go?
Second, what is the cash out plan? Those venture capitalist dollars are not angel investments, they will want their money back somehow.
For the second question, there are two obvious routes, go public and sell the company to somebody bigger.
Going public for the sake of going public (to pay off the VCs) is almost always a mistake and ends up damaging the company in the end.
But selling to another company can also shake things up more than people like. Plus, my thoughts immediately stray to one big company that wants to get into the MMO market, but that has failed to so far: Microsoft.
The cash out plan is almost inevitable because of the venture capital involved. It is just a question of how and when.
On the new project though, speculation can go wild. What will Turbine do?
Is their commitment to Dungeons and Dragons and their relationship with Wizards of the Coast strong enough that there might be another IP in that domain they want to try? Say, a nice outdoors IP like Forgotten Realms?
Or will Turbine lay down the sword this time and pick up the gun or the laser?
What will be the next project?
What do you think Turbine should do?
[addendum: Turbine’s Press Release]