Daily Archives: March 19, 2010

April Fools Contest Update 3

The contest currently stands at 10 entries.  That is a sufficient number of entries, and they are of good enough quality, that I will feel no qualms about awarding the prize on April 1st.  Somebody will get an in-game pet.

But you can still win.

There is still time.  You have until March 26th.

And there still hasn’t been a ROFLOL entry yet.  The entries are good, but I have seen better.  An obvious winner may yet appear.

Sorry, no more Dora the Explorer entries will be accepted

So read the contest rules and go find that winning name/title combination.

(As an aside, I had to laugh because Google images picked out Popehat.com, which I read now and again, as a site with a picture of Dora.  I had just read their post complaining about how much of their traffic is driven to the site by image searches for Dora the Explorer and then became part of the problem!  The mysteries of Google wrapped up in irony and baked in a flaky crust.)

We Never Learn: Another Example

Over at Joystiq we find that EA is setting the bar for success (and failure) for Star Wars: The Grand Ol’ Republic:

Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia recently visited EA to check in on the progress of the company’s upcoming, cutscene-driven MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic. He reported that “earnings are somewhat depressed” due to the development costs for the game, but EA management is hopeful that they’ll recoup this cash when the title brings in over two million subscribers. He added that, at the very least, the game needs over one million players in order for EA to break even.

Wow.  I seem to be saying that a lot about MMO news today.  Wow.

So, as with Warhammer Online, EA has drawn a public line in the sand.

Success is not possible without more than “One Meeel-yon Subscribers!”

1 million times $15 a month times 11 months (assuming you get a month free with the box) plus box sales (call it $40 a box, though $60 wouldn’t surprise me) plus, I am sure, some sort of cash shop.  Gross sales ought to be over $200 million if they get that million and keep them for a year.

Of course, you then have the retailers part of the box sales and ongoing operational costs.  Plus George Lucas is going to have his hand out waiting for his cut, and there is a man who gets paid no matter what.

I wonder how much they’ve spent on the game?  I wonder how soon they want to get their money back?

So everybody will be watching the box sales and EA’s quarterly report to see if The Old Republic is a success or a failure.

Not that it won’t be a success.  It ought to be.  But making public the metrics that determine success is always a risk.  900,000 players will automatically be a “FAIL” now.

And, as a final thought, is anybody else disturbed by the phrase “upcoming, cutscene-driven MMO?”  That certainly isn’t selling the game to me.

Flowers for Alganon

Wow… I mean just… wow…

Derek Smart has been on stage running Alganon for… what… 20 minutes now?

Okay, it has been a little longer than that, but already he has brought much attention to the game he is now running, Alganon.  Previously Alganon was primarily known for openly admitting that they copied WoW in every interface detail they could.

But now they have Derek Smart!

You probably don’t know who is in charge of Allods or Runes of Magic or half a hundred other online games, but you know who is running Alganon this month!  That is some seriously fast PR work.

Yes Derek Smart has a history. (Though perhaps not a PhD.)

But previously, at the end of the day, he was running his own company and making his own games.  If he wanted to engage in seemingly endless flame wars in public forums, it was him and his investment that stood to be damaged.

He was his own man and could flip the world the bird if he so desired.

But now he is working for, and representing, Quest Online.  Now he is running the Alganon team.

And you have to wonder if, about now, the investors at Quest Online are feeling that their interests are being best served by the things Derek Smart has written in that thread over at Gamasutra.  The man makes Bobby Kotick look like a choir boy.

Well, Derek Smart has a bit more of a history now I suppose.  One more thread to be quoted for truth… and perhaps entered into evidence… going forward.

I am sure that Alganon will be in the news for a while longer with Derek Smart at the helm.  And I will have to revise an old post, since Alganon is free to play.

I wonder if this MMO experience will help him finish up Galactic Command Online?  That is only what, about 8 years over due?  (Note the last paragraph here.) Still, it has its own web site with information and a FAQ.

GCO is a space and planetary combat MMO that takes place in a large galaxy. The game is developed by 3000AD, a company with over twenty years experience in developing high end and hard core space/planetary combat games such as the Battlecruiser and Universal Combat series, and most recently the All Aspect Warfare games.

It is however not a traditional MMO. For one thing, though the servers are capable of supporting tens of thousands of players, each game “Universe” only allows up to 256 players; though several Universe servers can be linked to form a seamless (to the clients) mesh.

There is no instancing, sharding or waiting in a game lobby queue to play.

Interesting.  But my favorite line prophetic line from the GCO FAQ:

Everyone wants to cater to the Status Quo, develop a “WoW killer”, copy everyone else’s game – then blow through a lot of money (usually someone else’s) and FAIL.

It is like he could see the future.

I, for one, welcome our new Alganon overlord.  If nothing else he allowed me to put up a post title I’ve been dying to use.

And the ride has just begun!