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Copernicus Looks to the Stars

Curt Schilling pitches his latest venture to investors on The Boston Globe is an article discussing Curt Schilling's new role as chairman of 38 Studios, the game developer founded by the former major-league baseball pitcher. They introduce the paper's audience to Project Copernicus, the working title for 38 Studios' upcoming MMORPG, and outline the financial realities of developing a game to compete with the 800 lb World of Warcraft gorilla. Word is Schilling has sunk over $5 million into the project out of his own pocket, and while he made cash by the boatload in baseball, his main role these days is to find investors to supply funding for the game, which will take at least $50 million to complete, and possibly more than $100 million. It probably doesn't help that this means he has to meet with fanboys that aren't even interested in his project: "At first, the only reason I was meeting with Curt is because I was a fan," says Boston venture capitalist Jeffrey Bussgang. "But when we met, you couldn’t shut him up about building a great game. He is a compelling entrepreneur, and he has recruited a great team" (none of which was enough to get him to invest). Complicating the financial picture is the company's acquisition of Big Huge Games, which doubled their headcount to about 140, and industry insiders guesstimate this puts their annual operating expenses in the $15-20 million range. The studio obviously believes there are potential rewards commensurate with the considerable risks involved in creating a game to compete with WoW: "You don’t see very many markets where there is a Coke and no Pepsi." says 38 Studios' Brett Close, using the ever-popular soft-drink analogy. "That’s what you have with WoW. Other products have been successful, but they’re not the massive competitor that I know will exist."

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21 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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21. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 27, 2009, 20:10  dsmart 
 
Dumb ass move if you ask me. Sure, come out with a $50m to $100m MMO when the rest of the world is gearing up and embracing the FTP model and micro-transactions.

Any investor who buys into that sort of deal, deserves to be separated from his money.

@ Beamer

This is a man that seriously gives a flying fuck about PC games. So much that he's put $5 million of his own cash into trying to create his own. It's not about making money for Curt, it's about being able to own what he loves.

I'm guessing you said that with a straight face.

Thats stupidest thing I've heard all week and ranks right up there with the Boston Globe missive about what he's looking to spend to build this MMO.

This comment was edited on Jul 27, 2009, 20:13.
 
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Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living. If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead
...but don't be surprised if we don't uphold them
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20. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 27, 2009, 19:46 Zadig
 
of course you dont understand the reasoning for why he is doing this and what angles he has to present to other people to get them on board. you are trying to approach this with your own perspectives and somehow transpose them onto what you feel would be the logical route to take in such an endeavor. it doesnt work like that - you have to step outside of your own subjectivity to understand the subjectivity of others

There’s nothing complex going on here. He’s making a generic fantasy MMO that he thinks will compete with Warcraft. All previous attempts at this have failed. If he wants fame and fortune, then guaranteed failure is a bad way to get it.
 
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19. Re: dont cry Jul 27, 2009, 16:41 Beamer
 
It's amazing that you think everyone is out to get you.

Schilling was talking about making games long before he retired.
He now has trucks full of money and wants to make games instead of play them.

Yet you somehow think this is impossible.
If you had $50 million dollars laying around and no job wouldn't you consider making the game you wanted to play?
 
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http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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18. Re: dont cry Jul 27, 2009, 16:12 space captain
 
ive got some beachfront property in nebraska for ya, happy guy  
Go forth, and kill!
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17. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 27, 2009, 13:07 Beamer
 
yeh and then he rides off on his unicorn to his castle made of rainbows

No, and then he loses his investment.
Former athletes don't put their cash into video games often for a reason - it's a pain in the ass. It requires micro-management. They buy car dealerships or restaurant franchises that run themselves.

Curt Shilling wants in on his passion, and you're damning him for it.
He's bringing a game to the PC platform, which you complain about, and you're damning him for it.


Whatever. He's happy, you're miserable, nothing changes.
 
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Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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16. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 27, 2009, 12:22 space captain
 
This is a man that seriously gives a flying fuck about PC games. So much that he's put $5 million of his own cash into trying to create his own. It's not about making money for Curt, it's about being able to own what he loves.

yeh and then he rides off on his unicorn to his castle made of rainbows
 
Go forth, and kill!
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15. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 27, 2009, 09:21 Beamer
 
but you dont understand the objective. they arent trying to make computer games.. they are trying to steal market share. its a business move with a business aim, pure and simple. you honestly think curt schilling gives a flying fuck about pc games? no, hes just interested in competition - as in, the financial kind

Actually, you're the one with no clue what the objective is.

No intelligent businessman says "hey, I'm going to compete with WoW head-on!"

Schilling is doing this out of love. As mentioned above, he used to review all the Everquest add-ons. He was notoriously one of the bigger gamers in the MLB (which says a lot) and spent almost all his gaming time in MMORPGs.

This is a man that seriously gives a flying fuck about PC games. So much that he's put $5 million of his own cash into trying to create his own. It's not about making money for Curt, it's about being able to own what he loves.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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14. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 27, 2009, 09:06 Ozmodan
 
"the mmo market is saturated, in case any of you VC types haven't gotten the memo. i can't wait for people to forget about the mmo fad and go back to making REAL games"

Posts like this just assures us you are completely out of touch. MMO's are the growth industry in this business and everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie. Not even close to being saturated.
 
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13. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 23:53 Prez
 
Curt Schilling reviewed 2 Everquest expansions in PC Gamer (he was friends with then-EIC Rob Smith). Now, I never played an MMO (unless you count Guild Wars), but I when I read those reviews, I knew Schilling was a hardcore gamer. You can't fake a detailed 2 page review like that.

But $100 million on their first game, a brand new MMO property? That's just insanity.

This comment was edited on Jul 26, 2009, 23:53.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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12. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 23:25 Elf Shot The Food
 
you honestly think curt schilling gives a flying fuck about pc games?

He is/was very heavily into EverQuest, so we know he gave a "flying fuck" about at least one.
 
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11. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 23:19 Slashman
 
Sorry but I really don't think WoW is all that great of a game. In fact I'd say that EQ2 is a better MMO. WoW had the fanbase before it even got underway...but also the development muscle of Blizzard who are nothing if not anal about game polish and presentation.

WoW didn't break any new ground or bring any innovations to MMOs...it just avoided many of the pitfalls that it's predecessors did. It's not exceptionally deep, nor is it's combat all that engaging. Its just really easy for people to jump in and play. I really can't understand the obsession people have with it...but then it seems to me that most of the people who play it never really played any other games or MMOs before. So Blizzard tapped an audience that MMOs have never been able to tap(non-gamers), and because they got there first, I can't see anyone really ever catching up them at this point.
 
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10. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 22:11 Blatz
 
Zadig:
The Warcraft obsessed developers always seem to ignore the fact that Warcraft existed 10 years before WoW.

Very good point. A lot of people already knew about Warcraft, and loved it, they already knew about the Warcraft universe and wanted to know even more about it. They already had a fanbase! The initial subscribers were the original Warcraft fans, they discovered what a great game WoW turned out to be, and spread the word, they helped Blizzard make more money and in turn Blizzard had the cash to make the game even better! And so on and so forth.

For some reason the memory of Warcraft Adventures came to mind, I actualyl got real excited about this upcoming game for reasons stated above. I loved the Warcraft universe and I loved adventure games, so a Warcraft Adventure game? Sign me up. Would have been a nice stepping stone to WoW... And now we have the movie coming!
 
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9. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 21:57 Prez
 
This is everything that is wrong with computer games right now. Instead of spending $100 million making another awful wowclone that’ll probably end up with 100k subscribers after a few months, they should just try to make interesting games. A game is not required to be set in a “Tolkien-esque fantasy realm”, nor is it required to be an MMO.

Agree 110%.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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8. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 21:47 Karnisov
 
the mmo market is saturated, in case any of you VC types haven't gotten the memo. i can't wait for people to forget about the mmo fad and go back to making REAL games.  
"Think for yourself. Question authority."
-- Timothy Leary
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7. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 19:15 space captain
 
If he just wants to make money, he’d be better off churning out a Diablo clone or some generic RTS.

there is a difference between Schilling's objective and the one he has to pitch to investors.. as i said earlier, he is probly more interested in the competition angle. youd have to think like some kind of "baseball hero" or "sports champion" or so forth to really get it - its more about proving his own competitive worth in the face of massive odds.. a sort of "they think they are hot shit, but they havent met ME!" kind of attitude is usually the one that fuels competition to the most extreme intensity. he might think that WoW is soft for lack of competition, that they are ripe for a fall.

of course you dont understand the reasoning for why he is doing this and what angles he has to present to other people to get them on board. you are trying to approach this with your own perspectives and somehow transpose them onto what you feel would be the logical route to take in such an endeavor. it doesnt work like that - you have to step outside of your own subjectivity to understand the subjectivity of others
 
Go forth, and kill!
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6. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 17:34 Zadig
 
Why don't these guys start by establishing a pedigree and building some cash reserves by creating some good original IPs in the first place - same as Blizzard did.

The Warcraft obsessed developers always seem to ignore the fact that Warcraft existed 10 years before WoW. Licensing someone else’s IP and debuting with an MMO isn’t what Blizzard did, so I’m continually amazed that so many devs think it’s a great idea.
 
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5. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 17:06 Zadig
 
Sure, he wants a massively multiplayer online role playing game with 12 million players, who each pay a monthly fee; those subscription fees generate more than $1 billion in revenue each year. That’s what Funcom, Mythic, and Turbine wanted too, but they didn’t get 12 million subscribers. They’re struggling to hold onto 100k subscribers and I bet this game will also fail. If he just wants to make money, he’d be better off churning out a Diablo clone or some generic RTS.  
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4. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 17:06 Cutter
 
This is everything that is wrong with computer games right now. Instead of spending $100 million making another awful wowclone that’ll probably end up with 100k subscribers after a few months, they should just try to make interesting games. A game is not required to be set in a “Tolkien-esque fantasy realm”, nor is it required to be an MMO.

Exactly. It's not like Blizzard set out to make a game with 10+million players. It grew organically because they made a great game. It wasn't about trying to beat EQ or anything else. This is something Blizzard has always understood, build it (great games) and they will come. It's why they don't need to spend a bazillion dollars to build a game, they just take their sweet time doing it and re-doing it where necessary untill they have it right.

Unless you already have the IP designed top to bottom with thousands and thousands of quests, the art direction, the audio style, etc. just waiting to be implemented why the hell would you need more than a few dozen people working on the game, nevermind 140.

Add to which, Zadig is totally right. Why don't these guys start by establishing a pedigree and building some cash reserves by creating some good original IPs in the first place - same as Blizzard did.

Curt reminds me of why most restauranteurs fail in the first place. They have the money to start one, but no experience in the industry and think to themselves' Well, gee, how hard can it be?'. Well the rate of failure shows just how hard it really is. It's why most successful restauranteurs are like Blizzard, they start small, and through refinement, trial and error, they get one successful place under way. Than another, and after a while if that goes well, another, and so on. But the guys who just show up on the scene with a fistfull of cash from some other industry and blow a ton of it on some monstrosity thinking it'll be the new 800lb gorilla fail most all of the time. I wouldn't give him a dime either.

I wish him all the luck in the world, but he really is going about it all wrong.
 
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3. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 16:53 space captain
 
A game is not required to be set in a “Tolkien-esque fantasy realm”, nor is it required to be an MMO.

but you dont understand the objective. they arent trying to make computer games.. they are trying to steal market share. its a business move with a business aim, pure and simple. you honestly think curt schilling gives a flying fuck about pc games? no, hes just interested in competition - as in, the financial kind
 
Go forth, and kill!
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2. Re: Copernicus Looks to the Stars Jul 26, 2009, 15:52 Stormsinger
 
"You don’t see very many markets where there is a Coke and no Pepsi." says 38 Studios' Brett Close, using the ever-popular soft-drink analogy. "That’s what you have with WoW. Other products have been successful, but they’re not the massive competitor that I know will exist."

I'd think there's at least one other case that should immediately come to the mind of anyone involved in a computer related industry...Microsoft. There is simply no competitor anywhere near their market share.
 
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21 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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