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Twilight for Twilight War

Sad News for Smiling Gator Twilight War: After the Fall (thanks Frans and Dentist) announces the insolvency of Smiling Gator Productions, who were at work on Twilight War: After the Fall, a Source-engine MMORPG. Word is:

It's not a Happy New Year here at Smiling Gator Productions.

Unfortunately, the end of 2005 is also the end of SGP. Our committed funds have run dry and we were not successful in the hunt for additional investment. The websites and email will be disabled in the coming days, so this is our last announcement before we shut down for good. Thanks again to our fantastic forums community for all the support and contributions! We hope you find another project and give them the devotion and incisive comments we've enjoyed reading for the past 17 months.

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33 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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33. No subject Jan 7, 2006, 23:17 Dev
 
See below where I did that
I'm not too sure how the game room thing goes with MMORPG and monthly fees. I'm thinking that the individual still has to pay a monthly, he can just log in anywhere. You are thinking something like Steam's internet Cafe liscensing scheme, where they pay a certain amount for a certain number of computers to play CS S or whatever online.
However, for my argument, I'm taking the largest amount of monthly income possible. Why? Because if I reduce the amount of estimated money they are taking in, it means the costs take up proportionatly more of the profit. I figure if I take the most conservative figures for the largest amount of profit, and it still seems like they aren't making insane percentages, its more likely that my "guesstimates" are accurate. I still take the position that I dont think they are pulling in even 50% profit, I think its much less.

 
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32. Game rooms Jan 5, 2006, 23:37  SamPenguin 
 
For the record, game rooms in Asia and Europe usually pay a larger monthly license fee based on the number of computers they have, with unlimited access to the game they are licensing. They then charge customers an hourly and make their margins on the difference. What the game room pays can be drastically different from one to another and country by country.

So it's actually very tricky to determine even a rough guess from simple math on X number of subscribers in those markets, because each subscriber does not count for a monthly fee in any measurable way. A more telling statistic would be X number of game rooms.

Your best bet is checking publicly available information such as annual financials and deducing from that direction.

 
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31. No subject Jan 5, 2006, 21:08 Dev
 
So tell me, what proof do you have that I am wrong and you are right? At least I have logical reasons behind my guess.

Lemme throw this out. Last quarter Vivendi games division made 7 million euros profit (google vivendi quarterly profit and find a news story that breaks it down by division). Vivendi owns blizzard. Thats less than a measly 2 million profit a month. They obviously aren't raking in $75 million a month. Nor $50 million either. Suddenly my estimate that they are making less than 50% profit seems a lot more likely.

In fact if you compare it to the quarterly numbers a year ago, they lost 32 million (no profit) that quarter. So even if you figure that WoW made up that differance all by itself (and aren't counting how the USA is doing better economically than a year ago or any other profits), thats still a mere $40 million in 4 months. $10 million a month. Thats less than 15% of the $75 million a month in subscription income @ $15 a month.
This comment was edited on Jan 5, 21:27.
 
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30. Re: No subject Jan 5, 2006, 18:43 random.thought
 
Sure I think blizzard is raking in the money. I just dont think its anywhere near as much as you think. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they were paying out at least 50% of the income in bandwidth costs.

That is absolutely, positively insane. You have no idea how much money they're making. Think all you want, but you'll still be wrong.

 
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29. No subject Jan 5, 2006, 18:17 Dev
 
The bar to become an oil tycoon is quite high. The bar to become someone making a MMORPG isn't.

Sure I think blizzard is raking in the money. I just dont think its anywhere near as much as you think. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they were paying out at least 50% of the income in bandwidth costs.

 
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28. Re: No subject Jan 5, 2006, 17:54 random.thought
 

My basic point is this: Its more expensive to operate these kinda things than the average person thinks. If you think there's so much money in it, why dont you get into that field?

We all know there's lots of money in oil, how come you're not an oil tycoon? Plenty of money in diamonds, how come you're not a jeweler? There's also lots of money, I hear, in drug trafficking. How come you're not selling coke, bucko? Because you're quite obviously a stupid fucking bitch with a stupid fucking argument. If you don't think Blizzard is raking in tons of money from WoW, you're delusional. There's no way bandwidth or development costs would even come close to equalling $75 million per month. Idiot.

 
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27. No subject Jan 5, 2006, 14:44 Dev
 
Because no one in this business would pay for a 20 year contract. There's no such thing as a MMORPG thats been in existance with paying customers for 20 years.
Ultima Online is about the oldest and I dont think its even 9 years old yet. Thier subscriber base has been on the decline. Even everquest is is only about 6 years old. You would be stupid in almost any business to commit yourself to a 20 year contract for massive bandwidth. Heck even AT&T themselves are getting out of a number of fields.
5 years I can see. Not more. Especially when you never know who else might come along. You can't garuntee your subscribers will stay, even past a couple years. You'd kill yourself if your base ever dropped. The idea is to STAY in business, not to shoot yourself in the foot.

I doubt you can find the particulars of blizzards contract. But I still haven't heard any better figures for an OC 192 than $250,000 a month. Which of course is too much, they would be losing money at that rate. Which is why I gave some conservative guestimates.

So lets take wikipedia then. As you said, they have a budget page. It says $24,000 for last quarter for hosting. Up from $16,000 the previous one. Odds are it will stay at least the same (if not increase. So lets call it $100,000 for a year of hosting. At least $8000 a month.
This page: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_partners_and_hosts
Says they are using 200-350mbit pipe at the US colo center. So lets call it an average of 300mbit. Thats 1/30th of the bandwidth of an OC 192. Its two OC3's or half an OC12.
Thats a FAR cry from an OC192 at 9 gigabits. (BTW my previous calculations for WoW bandwidth usage were for gigaBYTES, thats at least an 8 fold increase, I knew that at the time, but I left that in as another fudge factor to err on the side of it being cheaper).
So, lets guesstimate and say if you pay 10 times the cost of that, you can get 30 times the bandwidth, or an OC 192. 10 times $8k a month is $80k a month. Or we can use the $60k figure a month that I threw out (if we say that its 1/4 of what it was 4 years ago).
In either case, its quite expensive. And no other costs have been figured in.

Sure there might be discounts, but thats why I left all those fudge factors in to err on the side of it being cheaper. If someone wants to use a BW monitor to track WoW BW while playing (not updating, and not while anything else is using the internet) maybe we can do a better estimate too.

My basic point is this: Its more expensive to operate these kinda things than the average person thinks. If you think there's so much money in it, why dont you get into that field?
This comment was edited on Jan 5, 14:53.
 
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26. Re: No subject Jan 5, 2006, 11:30 Jamil
 
Dev, you're doing it again.

I gave you an article that provides some real figures, and all you spout back is pure conjecture.

"Blizzard is not paying for a 20 year contract". How do you know? Maybe they are.

Do I expect you to google up the exact details of Blizzard's contract with AT&T:ENS? No, I tried, and the press release provides no details. I just don't want you to continue this naive tirade about small profit margins and justification for monthly fees. Secrecy may be an issue here, and it could be that secret you don't want to hear. That you're being bamboozled.

Wikipedia is currently running a fund-raising campaign, and have provided details about their budget. Wikipedia is a fairly popular site with some heavy bandwidth requirements. Yet, Wikimedia's hosting costs are under $100,000/year for its umbrella of services that it provides.

I'm trying to build a case against this belief that companies pay out the ass for bandwidth. I think it may have been true back in 1996, but surely not today.

 
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25. No subject Jan 5, 2006, 09:30 Dev
 
Asian fanbase? you mean the money farmers

 
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24. Re: No subject Jan 5, 2006, 02:52 The Half Elf
 
Well, how much money does Blizzard actually get after Vivendi gets it's cut?
Cause if I remember correctly, Vivindi was closing and selling off parts of it's company, like Sierra and Dynamix.

And you also have to remember the majority of WoW subcribers are in the Asian Market, where they (if I again remember correctly) have the gaming cafe's and they pay for the time they use. If anyone has more info on this would be nice to know.

And if ya look at the MMO's that are doing well are typically unique. City of Heroes, Eve Online, Anarchy Online etc. But also look at the timeframe of when Ultima and Everquest really got their success. Ultima banked on it's fanbase of Lord British, and then along came Everquest with it's 3d graphics etc.
The trick is getting people interested in the game, and then keep throwing out content to make them stick around.

Love it or Hate it, ya gotta admit with the exception of the end game, WoW is a very polished game. Not to mention that the Asian Fanbase alone will make sure Blizzard/Vivendi do make money for a good while.

And while WoW is currently the current MMO king, NC Soft is quickly rising amoung the MMO company ranks, especially with Auto Assault. (what can I say I'm a sucker for post apocalyptic game that has vehicles with guns).

 
Avatar 12670
 
"I've never seen a feature like this before. It warms your ass. It's wonderful" -Walter Bishop
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23. Re: No subject Jan 4, 2006, 22:53 MindTrigger
 
Xero,

If you weren't such a dumb twat, you would know that I made mention of the fact that Guild Wars isn't a true MMORPG. It does however have online elements that are key to game play. Its not like I can play the game on my machnine at home without going to the hubs and seeing other players. Since I can get into groups and enter instanced quests/missions with them, it's still ONLINE. Dumbass.

My focus was on instancing, how it enhances the MMORPG experience, and that it will be used in many future games. I hate cock-gobblers like you that read a couple sentences of someone's post, then jump to your moronic fanboy conclusion.

---
BF2 Player Name: "MindTrigger"
Guild Wars Level 11 Ranger/Monk: "Oceas Saeco"
"Put a quarter in your ass 'cause you played yourself."
 
--
He cut the possum's face off then cut around the eye socket. In the center of the belt buckle, where the possum's eye would be, he has placed a small piece of wood from his old '52 Ford's home made railroad tie bumper. Damn, he misses that truck.
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22. Re: No subject Jan 4, 2006, 22:27 random.thought
 
Mr. angry, random.period, you should reread some of that guy's sentences abit clearer cause a lot of what he said wasn't how you angrily answered back.

Actually, it was perfectly clear. Unless you can explain to me exactly how they aren't, please, kindly shut the fuck up.

edit: I'll save you some time, and explain to you in a manner that's easier to understand.

He attributes the folding of Source engine developers to the existence of Steam. Not only are these not related whatsoever, but not all Source engine developers use Steam. And in fact, the two that have folded, Troika and this one, didn't and weren't planning to use Steam.

Now in #2, he says that a Source MMORPG would fail because Valve fans only like CounterStrike. This kind of correlation is laughable. I'll reiterate my point: you don't need to be a fan of the engine developer to enjoy games that use that engine. If that was true, like i said, only fans of Epic would play Unreal Engine games. Only fans of iD would play Quake/Doom-engine games. Yeah, right.

Then in #3 he goes on about how it's impossible to make anything but a simple multiplayer mod. How in the fuck does that have anything to do with Source developers going under? A Source developer isn't making a mod. Seriously, what the fuck?

Now tell me again what isn't clear? Dude, before you say anything to me in the future, i suggest that you yourself read things more carefully, you goddamn douchebag.

This comment was edited on Jan 4, 22:38.
 
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21. No subject Jan 4, 2006, 22:20 Dev
 
I didn't say that $15 a month for 6000 people was $250,000. I said the bandwidth might be. And the quote you found confirmed that. I can garuntee you that blizzard is not paying for a 20 year contract. 2 year, maybe, 5 year possibly.

So lets say prices have fallen to 1/4th now (its been about 4 years). Thats still about $60,000 for an OC 192. That would be 2/3s of income just for bandwidth. We haven't even started counting server costs, or the development cost, or anything else.

All I'm saying is, blizzard isn't making 50% profit. Probably not even 25% profit either. MS might be, but blizzard isn't. They ARE making a decent profit, I'm not denying that, but I'm saying that $15 a month a large majority is not pure profit.

Thats why a bunch of MMORPG's have gone down the tubes, they looked only at the lure of monthy payments and didn't have a realistic view of the actual costs of making, developing, and maintaining.. And thats not even considering if it sells or not.

 
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20. Re: No subject Jan 4, 2006, 21:04 Jamil
 
You should take a look at your math, Dev.

6000 subscribers/server at $15 a pop isn't going to fetch you $250k, it's only $90k.

Besides, I looked this issue up for you and found this:

"Prices for bandwidth are also dropping dramatically because many companies are now offering rates through 20-year Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) leases," according to Bandwidth Market President Howard Holme. "This Ďmoney-up-frontí method gives buyers extreme bargain prices. OC-192 is the fastest commercial bandwidth connection available--9.95 Gigabytes per second, and monthly rates normally fetch $250-500,000. However, Bandwidth Market's customers who purchase a 20-year IRU OC-192 can achieve some averaged prices of $4-8,000 per month."

http://www.bandwidthmarket.com/news/pressrelease01_08_30.html

That article is from 2001, I'm sure the prices have dropped even more.

In other words, Blizzard is making money hand over fist.

This comment was edited on Jan 4, 21:04.
 
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19. No subject Jan 4, 2006, 20:42 Xero
 
First off, don't mention Guild Wars as a MMORPG, that game is such a POS, I can't stand it being released and ever compared to one or WoW. 2nd, Mr. angry, random.period, you should reread some of that guy's sentences abit clearer cause a lot of what he said wasn't how you angrily answered back.

Face your Fears, Live your Dreams, No Fear -Manny Pacquiao
 
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Currently playing: Sanitarium, Duke Nukem 3D Megaton Edition, Shadow Warrior Classic Redux
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18. No subject Jan 4, 2006, 19:36 Dev
 
I dont think market is nessasarily saturated, just that its nowhere near as easy to succeed or as cheap as lots of the companies--that are greedy and wanting some of the subscription dollars-- like to wish/hope it is.

And no, I dont think blizzard is breaking even. But I also dont think they are making 50% profit either. Go find out what an OC-192 line costs per month and tell me how much 1 million simultaneously connected people might cost you in BW a month.

 
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17. Re: No subject Jan 4, 2006, 19:00 MindTrigger
 
Also, there is plenty of room for MMO's other than WoW. I picked up the WoW trial, and though it sucked huge ass. A couple days later I picked up Guild Wars, and I love it. I know Guild Wars is not a true MMORPG, but it's close. New games such as LOTRO are going to use a percentage of instancing in their MMO because that is the best way to do kick ass quests. My point is, not everyone wants to play WoW. I won't bash it, but it wasn't for me. I understand it is very successful. I personally plan to play Guild Wars until LOTRO or DDO come out.

A word about Guild Wars instancing (OT):

Ok, so I've mentioned many times on Blue's that I've never been a huge RPG player. Never played pen & paper and my first RPG was SWG. I bailed on SWG a long time ago for several reasons, but one big reasons were that the quests sucked arse, and all the good mobs were relentlessly camped by dorks who play these games 12 hours a day. When Guild Wars came out, I wasn't interested in it at all. I don't even like Fantasy games to being with, and I didn't like the fact that it wasn't a "true mmorpg". My plan was to hang back, play BF2 and wait for a good sci-fi MMORPG.

I started to get an itch recently to do some adventuring like I used to in SWG, so I tried WoW and passed on it. I picked up Guild Wars fully expecting it to suck. The game turned out to be simply awesome, IMO. Yes, compared to other MMORPG's, it's simpler, and there is something to be said about having the whole world be persistent instead of instancing everything outside of the main hubs, but it really does work much better than I ever thought. The game, in my opinion, looks simply beautiful too, and makes WoW look like a cornturd.

Last night I went on my first couple large quests, and I was blown away by how fun they were. I was in a group with 5 other players that formed at one of the hubs, and we all stepped into our instanced quest. I now see the whole point behind instancing. Before I didn't really get it, except in concept, but now it all makes sense. There were no campers, no little punk kids to ruin your quest, ganking your loot. They are able to put in cut-scenes (which can be skipped) and have other real-time scripted events happen that simply couldn't in a regular MMO. My description here isn't doing the game any justice, I know, but I can say that this was the best questing experience I have seen. It really can be cinematic that way, and when compared to the crappy search and destroy missions from most games like SWG, Guild Wars seems unmatched.

Now, I will say that I did like the fully persistent world of SWG sometimes. I liked bumping into cool people while out hunting or adventuring, and I liked running into the occasional prick for a good argument. This is why Iím looking forward to seeing what LOTRO has to offer where most of the game is persistent, but will have some instanced elements such as certain quests. Iím not sure if DDO will have instancing, but if it doesnít they are screwing up, IMO. Iíve heard WoW has some instancing of dungeons, but I donít think they are doing gigantic instanced quests like Guild Wars does. Any of you WoW sheeple know?

Anyway, Iíve been dying for an MMORPG article to come up so I can say how much fun instancing can be. Iím really a big fan of it now, especially considering upcoming games that will have a good balance of persistent and instanced content.


---
BF2 Player Name: "MindTrigger"
Guild Wars Level 11 Ranger/Monk: "Oceas Saeco"
"Put a quarter in your ass 'cause you played yourself."
 
--
He cut the possum's face off then cut around the eye socket. In the center of the belt buckle, where the possum's eye would be, he has placed a small piece of wood from his old '52 Ford's home made railroad tie bumper. Damn, he misses that truck.
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16. ... Jan 4, 2006, 18:59 theyarecomingforyou
 
Blizzard may rake in $75 million a month, but I bet they pay out a huge majority of that in server, bandwidth, and development costs.

Yeah, they're probably just breaking even. And Bill Gates is still paying off his mortgage.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Emotinomicon: Emoticons of the Dead
 
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SteamID: theyarecomingforyou
Star Citizen: Blue's News
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15. Re: No subject Jan 4, 2006, 18:55 random.thought
 

I think this is due to:

1. Valve's fascist STEAM protocol and micromanagement. If you mod on the Source engine, you have Valve breathing down your neck.

2. The majority of dedicated Valve fans are of the Counterstrike variety. They don't really have any intention to try other types of gameplay, and certainly not a pay MMORPG, they just want more free Counterstrike or "bonus content."

3. It's extremely time-consuming to make anything but a simple multiplayer mod. It's also difficult to make anything complex with an inexperienced team. It's not impossible, but you have to be realistic with your options and capabilities.

And I think that you're just fucking stupid.

1) Source Engine games don't have anything innately to do with Steam. You don't have to use Steam and many licensees won't. Furthermore, just because a game doesn't use Source doesn't mean it won't use Steam -- look at the non-Source Steam games like Red Orchestra. Also, modding a non-Steam Source game like Vampire won't have anyone breathing down your neck. It's your problem that you're too goddamn stupid to seperate Half-Life 2 from the engine it uses.

2) You don't have to be a Valve fan to enjoy a Source game. Do you have to be an Epic fan to enjoy Unreal Engine games, like Splinter Cell, Lineage 2, or Deus Ex? That's one of the most ignorant fucking conclusions ever made.

3) This wasn't a mod, smart guy.

 
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14. Re: No subject Jan 4, 2006, 18:23 MindTrigger
 

I wouldn't be surprised if Source was related to the problem. Seriously, think of all the content in a full MMORPG if it's done correctly. God knows what the high-res art assets alone would cost to create. This is also why SOE is the only company out there with a "cutting edge" graphics MMORPG, EQ2. They can afford it.

---
BF2 Player Name: "MindTrigger"
Guild Wars Level 11 Ranger/Monk: "Oceas Saeco"
"Put a quarter in your ass 'cause you played yourself."
 
--
He cut the possum's face off then cut around the eye socket. In the center of the belt buckle, where the possum's eye would be, he has placed a small piece of wood from his old '52 Ford's home made railroad tie bumper. Damn, he misses that truck.
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