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Tabula Rasa Free Early

The Tabula Rasa Website has word that Tabula Rasa is subscription-free as of right now, about a month earlier than was planned when closure of the MMOFPS was announced (thanks Massively). This offer is open to new players as well as those who have played the game already, though there is no indication that the plan to close the game down at the end of February has changed. On a related note, the Interview with Auto Assault's Scott Brown on Ten Ton Hammer talks with the NetDevil designer about plans to kill Tabula Rasa, since Scott worked on Auto Assault, another MMORPG shut down by NCsoft for underperformance. While he doesn't have all the facts at hand, he doesn't understand why you would shut a game down: "So basically what happens is the game doesn’t meet expectations and people start trying to figure out how the game is going to make a profit. In the case of Auto Assault, NCsoft opted to just close the game versus running it with a smaller team. I don’t have any insight into the situation, but it looks like they did the same sort of thing with Tabula Rasa. On the other hand, with the original Jumpgate we just scaled our team back until it was profitable. I really don’t understand why you’d ever shut off a game, in my opinion."

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38 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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38. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 21, 2008, 14:09 Prez
 
There's just too many MMO's, most nearly identical to one another, and inexplicably developers keep churning them out.  
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37. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 21, 2008, 13:39 wtf_man
 
The last numbers i saw tabula rasa was generating 1.5m a quarter.

The question is, are those numbers still accurate, or have they gone way down due to people canceling?

That's 500k a month, minus the overhead of paying the employees, building lease, and utilities (including electricity and bandwidth). 5m a year only covers 100 employees @ an average of 50k a year, which doesn't include benefits, taxes, and the rest of the overhead (Lease, utilities, hardware, software, etc.), and you have to remember that there are more employees than just the devs. Paying benefits alone (medical, dental, life, unemployment taxes, etc.) would reduce that number to covering under 50 employees at an average of 50k a year.

The overhead takes a good chunk out of that 500k / month, and if the subscriber numbers have dropped way down, maybe even with a scaled back team, maybe it still isn't profitable at all.

We don't know... we're not bean counters at NCSoft.

Maybe this "Free to play until shutdown" is to see how much market interest there is, and maybe NCSoft will change their minds if enough people play... or come up with a different business model (ads, micro transactions, whatever). Although that would be a weird way to test the market, since it implies failure and an ultimate shut down... consumers may not even bother.

This comment was edited on Dec 21, 2008, 13:59.
 
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36. Re: Tabula Rasa purpose Dec 21, 2008, 13:31 VultureMAN
 
Hellbinder
You know I suspect you are the one who doesn't know RG.
Not from his D&D days back in Clear Lake, nor from his Dev days of Ultima over on 360. And certainly not from sushi and Bulgogi lunches over at Korea House. Funny I don't remember a Hellbinder there when I visisted.

But that just shows your insights into the game are also mostly uninformed, since you like to attack strangers on the Internet. There is a good reason the art director finally quit and went off to do chilren's books. And many other on the team over the years had reason to give up when they did the work but the Leads did not. PersonallyI always though Ricahrd put more work into his houses and community events here in Austin, than he did since the Ultimas. But it was clear in the Beta and on the forums that TR was nothing of substance and had all too much PR spin based on General British.
"General" I mean reallly did not every SF gamer think of Supreme Commander Derek when that title was announced?
 
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35. Re: Tabula Rasa purpose Dec 21, 2008, 12:46 Hellbinder
 
TR was a failure that was re imagined into a even worse failure. Seriously Garriot had an idea and wanted to play with runes again. The DEVs tried to make up an MMO ruleset around that. They threw in instancing after GW showed what could be done. They empphasized the SF because RG thought fantasy was overdone and he wanted to go to space. So congrats everyone who supported TR, you got Richard into space. The game, the Koreans, and the players were always second in TR's publishing.

Oh look another slander spewing babbling idiot who doesnt have a clue what he is talking about but still likes to slime people he actually doesnt know.

This site is full of little piss-ants who have accomplished nothing in their own lives who love to spew sewage they made up about people who have really lived.

You dont know how much time and effort Richard put into this game. I am sure he cares very deeply for the game and put a lot of blood sweat and tears into it. The game also is just not a bad game. It simply missed itsw window of opportunity

So climb back into your hole of wsewage and shut up.
 
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34. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 21, 2008, 12:25 Hellbinder
 
The last numbers i saw tabula rasa was generating 1.5m a quarter. It is one thing to shut down a game that "isnt meeting expecations" it is quite another to shut down a game generating 5m a year in revenue just because you wanted wow.

You will already have recouped a lot of your 50m production cost by sales with that level of playerbase. Surely the game and staff can be run on 3-4m a year even with added content packs. generating 1m in pure profit

I know my numbers are simple but the industry is getting totally ridiculous. Nothing short of 10's of million in revenue is worth the time. You cant look at each product according to its own merrits and self sustaining value.

Pretty sad.
 
The Whales name is Bob.
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33. Re: Tabula Rasa purpose Dec 21, 2008, 11:25 VultureMAN
 
TR was a failure that was re imagined into a even worse failure. Seriously Garriot had an idea and wanted to play with runes again. The DEVs tried to make up an MMO ruleset around that. They threw in instancing after GW showed what could be done. They empphasized the SF because RG thought fantasy was overdone and he wanted to go to space. So congrats everyone who supported TR, you got Richard into space. The game, the Koreans, and the players were always second in TR's publishing.

 
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32. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 21, 2008, 11:20 wtf_man
 
I didn't mean give everything away for free. The publisher can keep the IP, rights to the source, engine, whatever. Just give the developer the right (for no or nominal costs) to continue to support the game and run the servers out of their own pocket. Then any profits made by that developer could be shared between them with first rights to renew a long-term deal should the game somehow turn itself around. Zero further risk for the publisher as far as I can tell..

I don't think it's that simple. I am not a lawyer, but I think the IP has to be transferred. If, say, some people get a burr up their ass and file a class action suit against the game... They are going to sue the publisher, not the developer.

My point is, I don't think what you are asking publishers to do is as easy as you think.

But in any case... if a way was found, I wish any development studio luck if they succeed in talking a publisher into giving them the reigns.
 
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31. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 21, 2008, 10:36 theyarecomingforyou
 
City of Heroes and Guild Wars is MUCH better then TR ever was.
+1

TR was a disaster from the beginning. I wouldn't have bought it if the online play was free, let alone pay for it. Roll on Guild Wars 2.
 
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30. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 21, 2008, 06:48 Ruffiana
 
If it does, it will be the first time that a new MMO in the same genre has killed an established MMO. Seeing as how people are still playing Ultima Online, Everquest, Lineage...

5+ years of content, updates, and community is much harder to destroy than you seem to think.

There's more of a chance that CO and DCU could increase the number of people playing CoH...especially if they're pushed out too soon.
 
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29. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 21, 2008, 06:43 Ruffiana
 
As for outright "give it away", I kind of doubt that would happen... Publishers have been known to sell off IP at a much later time (Like Interplay did keep it's neck above water, and like when 3DO got liquidated), if they can.

I didn't mean give everything away for free. The publisher can keep the IP, rights to the source, engine, whatever. Just give the developer the right (for no or nominal costs) to continue to support the game and run the servers out of their own pocket. Then any profits made by that developer could be shared between them with first rights to renew a long-term deal should the game somehow turn itself around. Zero further risk for the publisher as far as I can tell.

I guarantee, a developer who's spent 4-5 years making an MMO only to see it flounder and is suddenly looking at shutting their doors will figure out how to make a profit with any number of players.
 
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28. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 21, 2008, 00:55 The Half Elf
 
City of Heroes and Guild Wars is MUCH better then TR ever was.

BTW I was in the beta and did a trial.. how the hell do I reactivate either of those accounts via the links given on the TR site?

This comment was edited on Dec 21, 2008, 00:56.
 
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"I've never seen a feature like this before. It warms your ass. It's wonderful" -Walter Bishop
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27. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 21, 2008, 00:52 Umbragen
 
The real sad fact: it's the best game NCSoft has.  
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26. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 21, 2008, 00:51 LittleMe
 
I'm pretty sure you could also give me a much longer list of MMOs that have failed.

Most businesses fail not too long after starting up.

http://www.gaebler.com/Small-Business-Failure-Rates.htm
http://www.smallbiztrends.com/2008/04/startup-failure-rates.html/

I presume publishers look at these games as a risky investment but also potential for large returns. This is part of their business model.

Another aspect to think about is the 401k retirement system here in the U.S. has pumped a *lot* of money into business investments like this. Perceived value is often more important than actual value. So often investors will reward a company with real wealth (stock value) on the hopes that the game will succeed. This slants companies to think more in the short term and do things that don't seem to make sense, but do because stock values are so volatile.

This comment was edited on Dec 21, 2008, 00:55.
 
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25. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 20, 2008, 22:38 Jerykk
 
I could give you a list of 10 MMOs that have been out for quite awhile and have NOT failed.

I'm pretty sure you could also give me a much longer list of MMOs that have failed.
 
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24. MMORPG disco Dec 20, 2008, 22:13 space captain
 
burn, motherfuckers, burn  
Go forth, and kill!
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23. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 20, 2008, 21:44 Kxmode
 
Seriously. I know you want to roll in a constant stream of cash but the fact is that the market is heavily saturated and most MMOs inevitably fail. So stop making MMOs please.

I could give you a list of 10 MMOs that have been out for quite awhile and have NOT failed.
 
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22. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 20, 2008, 21:11 The Half Elf
 
Dear NCSoft,

Follow in SOE's footsteps and make a PlayNC pass that includes Tabula Rasa and Auto Assault. As it stands right now with Champions Online, and DC Universe, City of Heroes/Villains is gonna be the next game to take a dive.
 
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"I've never seen a feature like this before. It warms your ass. It's wonderful" -Walter Bishop
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21. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 20, 2008, 21:05 adocat
 
I looked at this game several times and the first thing that popped into my mind was: FAIL.

I've read enough talk about the poor developers and how to be profitable. How about more talk about all the poor schmucks that dished out hard earned money on a game that doesn't work or very little play value......
 
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20. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 20, 2008, 20:24 Jerykk
 
The solution to all this is very simple: STOP MAKING MMOS YOU DUMB WANKERS!!!

Seriously. I know you want to roll in a constant stream of cash but the fact is that the market is heavily saturated and most MMOs inevitably fail. So stop making MMOs please.
 
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19. Re: Tabula Rasa Free Early Dec 20, 2008, 20:01 wtf_man
 
It's a shame those risks can't be tranfered somehow to the players and developers, as they're the ones who are most affected. Maybe if publishers were more willing to completely hand off the operations to the developer free and clear and let them take the risk of trying to keep the game running out of their own pocket. If the publishers are already washing their hands of the project and accepting it as a total loss, then why not?

Actually, that sort of happened with Turbine, Microsoft, and the AC Franchise. Turbine had to come up with some cash to buy the IP from Microsoft, though. Even a shut down project's IP has some worth. Of course Turbine's motives had little to do with AC since they shut down AC 2... it had more to do with the IP of the Turbine 2 engine, so MS couldn't make any claims on DDO and LoTRO.

That said, I'm sure if Destination Games(?) came up with some cash for the IP of Tabula Rasa, NCSoft would give them a decent break on the price, since they are going to abandon the project anyway.

As for outright "give it away", I kind of doubt that would happen... Publishers have been known to sell off IP at a much later time (Like Interplay did keep it's neck above water, and like when 3DO got liquidated), if they can.

This comment was edited on Dec 20, 2008, 20:03.
 
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