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Op Ed

Massively - Learning from the 38 Studios disaster.
It's said that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning needed to sell three million copies for the studio to break even on its investment, but we all know that's not practical because even the best games rarely reach that number quickly enough to pay back a government loan less than three months after launch. Bethesda and Blizzard aside, selling three million copies of a game to break even is quite a risk for any studio. That's literally gambling on the livelihoods of hundreds of people working on that project. You can't take risks at that level of investment, which is exactly why small indie studios are thriving right now. People don't care as much about pretty graphics and realistic voice-overs as they did five years ago. People want to have fun. The end.

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33. Re: Op Ed May 27, 2012, 01:46 eunichron
Prez wrote on May 27, 2012, 00:44:
I saw this complaint a bunch, but I wonder, how is it more generic than Skyrim.

Fair point, but Skyrim is the latest in a crazy popular series (Elder Scrolls is legendary among RPG enthusiasts), so that alone makes it stand out enough to get noticed. Nondescript, derivative games aren't necessarily bad (I like quite a few games that could be considered "Cookie-cutter"), but for a first game in a brand new franchise by a new studio with very high sales requirements to meet, you need something special. From the reviews I read, while everything was pretty solid in Kingdom of Amalur, there was nothing special about it.

With a much lower budget and a lower price tag (say, 30 bucks vice the $60 it was at release), I'm betting it easily could have been a success. The failure here imo was far more on the part of poor business decisions than bad game design.

It's worse than that -- at least Ion Storm wasn't your tax dollars at work...

Correct me if I'm wrong but unless you live in Rhode Island it isn't your tax dollars. This was a state-run RI taxpayer-funded initiative to encourage business creation in RI, wasn't it?

The Verge has a pretty amazing (and lengthy) write-up of the situation, starting with the history of the company, their deal with Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, and where the money was flowing (and coming from). It's just bad decision after bad decision... they were making business deals as if they were a rock solid AAA developer without having released a single game. Gotta hand it to Curt Schilling for trying to realize his dream, he just didn't think it through.
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