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The Secret World: 200k Sold, Funcom to Shift Focus for the Future

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  • Stx11Stx11 West Hills, CAPosts: 415Member

    I will always wonder how many copies TSW would've sold if it had been designed and released as a Co-Op RPG. The story, atmosphere, puzzles, and some of the game mechanics were outstanding but most of my friends and I felt it really played better as a solo/small group game.

    Same thing actually applies to SWTOR as well. Co-Op RPGs (especially real ones as opposed to pure-action) seem pretty much non-existent. It seems like an untapped market and I hope that FunCom explores it as they have some very talented Designer/Storytellers on staff.

  • TeknoBugTeknoBug Calgary, ABPosts: 2,156Member


    Originally posted by tom_gore
    Sad to hear. Back to creating WoW clones, everyone. This is the punishment for trying to be original.No wonder they had such a smooth launch. 
    Apparently creating WoW clones isn't working either, lots of MMO's in the past 5 years trying to copy WoW has crashed and burned and the latest one doing that now is SWTOR.


    The MMO market in the western world isn't very strong.

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  • AdiarisAdiaris RomePosts: 381Member
    Originally posted by Mardukk
    Originally posted by Adiaris
    Originally posted by Mardukk
    Originally posted by Adiaris
    Originally posted by eric_w66
    Makes me sad that a mediocre game like GW2 sells so many copies whereas a game with a story and definitely new and interesting world sells only 200K. GW2 is what, learn 5 skills in a few levels, farm PQ's, rinse, repeat. How is that "fun"? I can see why they don't charge monthly fees, there's nothing there worth paying for beyond the box price (if that).

    You're right. Google quests and gear grind at end game is where it's at. How silly of people to like something different from you!

     

    I don't see how others don't see that this is really bad for the genre as a whole.  They jump up and down with excitement over the failure of a game that does things a bit different and actually has a different setting than fantasy/asian.

     

    I think we will eventually see less and less game companies bother with MMO developement.  So have your party now but don't bitch when you run out of stuff to do in your current MMO and want something slightly different in the future.

    I think there's many things you don't see. For a one, how TSW was a great idea but horrendous execution by a studio known for just that. Having great ideas and dumping on them. 

    Secondly, you don't see that I never anywhere said I'm happy it failed, I'd rather it have worked better than say - insert wow copy here - for the very reasons you state.

    The third thing you don't see is that I could make your very same argument for your, well let's call it opinion, of GW2. 

     

    Wha?  I like GW2 and I'm playing both games.  Both games are great for the genre.

    Yeah you seem really broken up about it....

    I'm not in the habit of crying for failed releases, given the market, it would be a pretty depressing experience.

  • wizyywizyy Novi SadPosts: 629Member

    I think it has done quite well for its niche setting.

    Let's face it, people, not many people like dark and depressing, lovecraftian, filled with the weirdest possible creatures, world.

    Funcom had a gold mine with the Robert E. Howard's Conan world but didn't do it justice.

    TSW, in my opinion, has been developed more carefully, but is still plagued with plenty of issues that are distracting to the players, most glaring one being pretty bad combat animations.

  • BurntvetBurntvet Baltimore, MDPosts: 2,950Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by bcrankshaw
    Originally posted by Burntvet
    Originally posted by bcrankshaw
    Originally posted by Burntvet

    Why was the title of this article not: "Funcom laying off 50%, Getting out of the MMO development business".

    Those being the two most important takeaways from that release.

    Oh, and FC wrote off $35 mil on the value of TSW because it is tanking.

     

    Interesting, but what do you mean they "wrote off $35 million". How do you value an MMO, is this predicted subscriptions?

    They listed it on the financial report as an "impairment charge", which is to say they wrote of that much of documentable value of TSW, which is to say cost of development, value of sales contracts,  value of IP (when applicable), and various other things. The total value FC puts on TSW is anyone's guess, but they certainly chopped off a big chunk.

    They also listed spending $9.8 mil on launch costs, including  marketing for TSW, for all the good it did them.

     

    The long and the short of it is FC got slammed on the non-success of TSW. They are not cashflow positive as a company, and won't be for a while, if ever. And thus the "around 50%" layoffs, which is a ton.

    The whole financial report sounded as if deperately trying to find some positive bits in a sea of punishment.

     

    Okay thanks for the update, but I would consider the cost of development of TSW a Capex cost which would have been expensive. But surly knowing  the nature of Subscription based revenue Funcom couldn't have expected  to recover that Capex expenditure in the the first few months. But surly they will get there?

    It is a fine line, as a capex, between developing an MMO (which is production for a game company) and say the pure R+D in the pharma industry.

    In making an MMO, you can more easily determine value through direct development costs and marketing expenses, as opposed to doing some pure R+D deal, and then having to determine value through downstream sales/revenue methods. And I'd be interested to see where they got the $35 mil wrtiedown number myself.

    In short, it probably does not matter much, as long as they don't get bit by the auditors, and let's not forget this is a non-US company, so the EU/specific country laws may be particular.

     

    As to the second point, I have a hard time seeing them get this game into the black any time soon:

    -Assuming a 60% return to FC on the box price (which considering the lack of physical copy sales is probably realistic) you are talking in the neighborhood of $6-$7 million. Then it is about the retention rate for month 2,  at 50%, you are talking ~ $1.5 mil a month, plus the cash shop. Minus expenses. That said, I don't think they'll be keeping 100k people for the long term.

    With those kind of numbers, it will be a LONG while (2-3 years?) until they payoff the initial investment, which is likely in the $50-$70 mil range when counting the marketing and launch expenses.

    They simply needed to sell more boxes.

     

  • shavashava Somerville, MAPosts: 282Member Uncommon

    Funcom IMNSHO fails to produce games that are entertaining to a mass audience in this mass hit-driven MMO market.

    And not only that, but they fail to produce sustainable, reliable fun games for an audience that seeks niche entertainment.  

    If you can't do one of those two things in a way that doesn't make you look like a monacled money-grubbing git, you can't stay in business.

    IMO, TSW was a wonderful ambitious project -- like an online horror LARP with hundreds of thousands of players.  However, to provide the level of grooming for the player base they were planning to provide with the ARGs and such -- these put a huge load on customer service, if you can imagine -- they would have had to sustain a huge subscription base too.  Similarly to sustain the quality through expansions with the voice talent and such.  They didn't aim low.  

    I'm extrapolating that they cut corners in other places as Bioware did in SWTOR, although I'm not sure how many of those were naive -- Funcom at least has scars from previous -- often bad -- MMO launches.

    They wrote their own engine to avoid paying the exhorbitant fees the licenses cost for scaling the good game engines for hundreds of thousands of subscribing players -- which is a task pretty much like writng an operating system from scratch, very expensive and complex.  This probably resulted in many of the player complaints regarding the combat system, synch problems, and so on.

    People say they put story first, but you need to understand:  story was more within their control.

     The game engine is many millions of lines of code, and the best game engines are produced by software engineers who valued as the best in any field -- paid and revered as highly as the best engineers at Microsoft or any operating systems company or database or networking or graphics company in the world -- because a game engine is ALL of those at once, integrated to work on a PC with any idiot's hardware through Direct X or whatever -- it's a modern miracle of entertainment infrastructural software most of you never think about.

    SWTOR made one mistake -- they picked an off-brand third party engine (Hero Engine) that limited them badly, probably because they had never made an MMO before and the price structure looked attractive coming into a new market -- and story was more important to them.  If EA had been involved that early in the process, EA would have knocked them up against a wall, Sith style, and ungently corrected their behavior.

    Funcom made a different arrogant mistake, they rolled their own.  How hard could it be?  In a subscription model world -- it's very hard.  You have to maintain that huge infrastructure for a dev shop, which  you can't afford to lay off (which they are probably now doing, btw -- or how not?), and you run with it, and you own all your own choices and mistakes and all the work of maintenance.

    Herp derp.  Time to pay the piper and the pocket's got a bit of lint.

     

  • BhorzoBhorzo Toronto, ONPosts: 192Member
    Originally posted by Adiaris
    Originally posted by JeroKane
    Originally posted by Kenze

    haha  GW2 had 400k concurant users during just the headstart to TSW's only 200k SOLD.

    Those are some telling numbers.

    ArenaNet has also spend a significant amount of money on Advertising. Which will cut heavily on the profit of the box sales.

    It's always a double edged sword my friend.

    Ah yes all those TSW banners everywhere were probably spaces donated charitibly by the media....pfft. Neither game has really gone all out with traditional ATL marketing really. 

    There were no banners, and there was no advertising, on any sites other than those like MMORPG.com. There were no significant ads on Gamespot or IGN or anywhere else for that matter.

    Then you have games like Rift which were on TV, youtube, and all the gaming sites - even the non-MMORPG gaming sites.

  • BhorzoBhorzo Toronto, ONPosts: 192Member
    Originally posted by Kenze

    so many excuses! fail is just fail

    die hards need to stop being apologists for crappy dev failures

    survival of the fitest applies to MMOs too.

     

    How did the *devs* fail? The devs did their job and did what they said they would do. There was a lot of fail in this launch, but it had nothing to do with the devs.

  • BhorzoBhorzo Toronto, ONPosts: 192Member
    Originally posted by Dunkare

    wow, this is bad. the game is so much fun, im still enjoying it a lot. i just hope they dont shut it down before i got to finish the story at least :P

    (yea, im a slow player)

     

    Games that were/are doing worse are still around. So I doubt this game will get shut down anytime soon. The money they lost is already gone. From this point forward they can only MAKE more money and be profitable.

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member
    Originally posted by Bhorzo
    Originally posted by Dunkare

    wow, this is bad. the game is so much fun, im still enjoying it a lot. i just hope they dont shut it down before i got to finish the story at least :P

    (yea, im a slow player)

     

    Games that were/are doing worse are still around. So I doubt this game will get shut down anytime soon. The money they lost is already gone. From this point forward they can only MAKE more money and be profitable.

    Money they "lost" have to be paid back to whoever loaned them. Funcom is not in preety financial shape.

  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,758Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Bhorzo
    Originally posted by Dunkare

    wow, this is bad. the game is so much fun, im still enjoying it a lot. i just hope they dont shut it down before i got to finish the story at least :P

    (yea, im a slow player)

     

    Games that were/are doing worse are still around. So I doubt this game will get shut down anytime soon. The money they lost is already gone. From this point forward they can only MAKE more money and be profitable.

          Unfortunately that is not true...They can lose alot more money onit by having to pay a dev team to not only maintain it but improve it.......Also alot of other costs involved with MMOs that are not free once the game launches.....I dont think it will shut down but they will msot likely have to act soon on some type of bettter income model for the game.

  • Einherjar_LCEinherjar_LC MelfiPosts: 1,055Member Uncommon

    I feel badly for those about to lose their jobs as TSW was a good concept.

     

    I followed this game for years, one of the first to sign up on the official forums.  I was totally pumped for this game right up until they decided to add the cash shop.  I lost all interest after that.  That turned me and many I know off from the game.  The sub plus cash shop model screams double dip and players are tired of being nickle and dimed to death.  I'm sure I and my friends were not alone in this thinking.

     

    I hope Funcom can turn it around somehow.

     

     

    Einherjar_LC says: WTB the true successor to UO or Asheron's Call pst!

  • ThorqemadaThorqemada BerlinPosts: 1,277Member Uncommon

    I have not read through the thread but so far i understand Funcom now wants to develope games for the next oversaturated market burning through smaller amounts of money for an even more questionable roi?

    Money is where everyone else is not!

    "Torquemada... do not implore him for compassion. Torquemada... do not beg him for forgiveness. Torquemada... do not ask him for mercy. Let's face it, you can't Torquemada anything!"

    MWO Music Video - What does the Mech say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF6HYNqCDLI
    Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0x2iwK0BKM

  • ThorqemadaThorqemada BerlinPosts: 1,277Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Rawiz
    Hope they at least fired Silirrion from AoC, because that guy single-handedly ruined that entire game and made a small AO-like "only for true fans" -game. He cost FC much, much more money than those regular garbage coders did, however I bet he still has a job.

    I bet they fired people from around him, sent the few community managers there are (in the company)  to answer questions, while that guy is sunning his testicles by the lake. Not to mention they fired THE only community manager who actually had some interaction with the remaining, miserable playerbase, Waldgeist.

    Those community managers are doing exactly as bad job as Silirrion has done for 4 years, perhaps one of them will be the lead dev soon?


    As long as you blame the wrong person you will never get your game fixed.
    Gaute Godager delivered AoC they way that it tanked in the first month and he resigned.
    The players cried for changes, gear progression, pvp ranks etc.
    Silirrion delivered what was asked for and if he has a fault that is he takes much to much for true what a vocal minority yells out and what the left over fans of AoC mark in surveys.
    I think he has become a wiser person over it but is very short of the ressources to fix that damned game.
    The surest way to destroy your MMO is to let players have to much to say - understand their motivation etc. he has good reads about it.

    Funcom is done, it does simply not matter anymore...

    "Torquemada... do not implore him for compassion. Torquemada... do not beg him for forgiveness. Torquemada... do not ask him for mercy. Let's face it, you can't Torquemada anything!"

    MWO Music Video - What does the Mech say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF6HYNqCDLI
    Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0x2iwK0BKM

  • carpalcarpal InHell, TXPosts: 99Member
    What do you expect?  This is Funcom, a company that refuses to listen to its fan base, its obvious the developers don't play the game much, they dont' hire a "game" team that plays and provide feedback, and they don't include features in their games that are expected tools for the players to socialize and play.  This game has very little social interaction and feels like a solo game.  I tried to and wanted to like this game, but its just another Failcom game.  The company should move on, cause their developers are so technically and visually gifted, yet clueless to understanding what the community wants, and inept at making the proper changes till its too late and the fanbase already leaves.  
  • Ambros123Ambros123 Neverneverland, TNPosts: 877Member
    Originally posted by fenistil
    Originally posted by Bhorzo
    Originally posted by Dunkare

    wow, this is bad. the game is so much fun, im still enjoying it a lot. i just hope they dont shut it down before i got to finish the story at least :P

    (yea, im a slow player)

     

    Games that were/are doing worse are still around. So I doubt this game will get shut down anytime soon. The money they lost is already gone. From this point forward they can only MAKE more money and be profitable.

    Money they "lost" have to be paid back to whoever loaned them. Funcom is not in preety financial shape.

    Not to mention didn't their stock plummet around mid Aug...bout the time TSW launched?  Don't really see things getting better for em.  World of Darkness is in development which could put some seriour hurt on TSW,  Granted that is quite down the road but when it does arrive it might not bode well for TSW.

  • ZigZagsZigZags Modesto, CAPosts: 328Member
    Originally posted by MMOwanderer
    Originally posted by Coolit
    I think timing was TSW biggest problem, if it had launched in a quarter without GW2, MoP etc they would have done much better.

    Sort off, but i think the big problemwas that, not only was it a niche game from the start, it had very little adverstising. Most people don't seem to even know about, compared to something like even TERA, much less TOR and GW2.

    No wonder it didn't sell much, IMO.

    And sorry about Funcom. Alot of people are going to lose their jobs i bet.

    Why are people surprised? Funcom has a history of failing. That's the biggest problem with the people who hype up games on this site, they completely ignore the track record of the companies behind the games they throw their money at.

    Now: Skyrim
    Later: ?
    Played: M59, UO, EQ, Runescape, DAOC, SB, EQ2, WoW, EVE, Darkfall, AoC, FFXI, FFXIV, WAR, SWTOR
    BOYCOTTING: EA/BioWare/Origin/SOE

  • gamesrfungamesrfun Red Deer, ABPosts: 127Member

    Funcom has no chance of staying afloat in its current situation. 

    It has too much debt to just cut the company down to 75 people.  Debt servicing 10's of millions of dollars cannot be fun.

  • OG_ZorvanOG_Zorvan Fresno, CAPosts: 615Member
    Originally posted by Bhorzo
    Originally posted by Kenze

    so many excuses! fail is just fail

    die hards need to stop being apologists for crappy dev failures

    survival of the fitest applies to MMOs too.

     

    How did the *devs* fail? The devs did their job and did what they said they would do. There was a lot of fail in this launch, but it had nothing to do with the devs.

    I agree with this. It's the suits and the management ( i.e. the company owners and the Game Director ) who are responsible for the game's failure.

    I also, however, am guilty of saying "devs" as an all encompassing descriptor for a failed game's company. I think many do that because it's just easier to type "devs" and be done.

    EA CEO John Riccitiello's on future microtransactions: "When you are six hours into playing Battlefield and you run out of ammo in your clip, and we ask you for a dollar to reload, you're really not very price sensitive at that point in time...We're not gouging, but we're charging."

  • CelciusCelcius Posts: 1,001Member Uncommon

    Funcom really just needs to stop trying to make MMOs and go back to making adventure games like "The Longest Journey". They have not had much success with MMOs and they have a terrible track record.. (AO,AOC,TSW) 

    Can't say I am the least bit surprised by this.

  • XasapisXasapis VolosPosts: 5,561Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Celcius

    Funcom really just needs to stop trying to make MMOs and go back to making adventure games like "The Longest Journey". They have not had much success with MMOs and they have a terrible track record.. (AO,AOC,TSW) 

    Can't say I am the least bit surprised by this.

    And who you'd rather see making mmorpgs? EA?

    There were and still are very few innovators in the mmorpg industry. Funcom is one of the last. With very few exceptions pretty much everyone else plays it safe.

  • JeroKaneJeroKane OsloPosts: 5,353Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Celcius

    Funcom really just needs to stop trying to make MMOs and go back to making adventure games like "The Longest Journey". They have not had much success with MMOs and they have a terrible track record.. (AO,AOC,TSW) 

    Can't say I am the least bit surprised by this.

    Come on man! Funcom one of the few dev houses left that tried to do something different. While every other dev house out there keeps playing safe hanging onto the WoW formula.

    I mean.... after the total dissaster and most expensive fiasco in MMO history with SW:TOR, I would have thought people would start waking up and see that continuing copying the WoW formula is pointless.

    /shrug

  • MuratReisMuratReis Seattle, WAPosts: 73Member
    System and community focused MMOs! Finally....!
  • GaladournGaladourn AthensPosts: 1,052Member
    I hope more and more companies that try to copy WoW fail. This way only those inspired few will remain in the market and hopefully will produce quality MMO games that may at last break the Wow mold....
  • IllyssiaIllyssia LondonPosts: 1,524Member
    Originally posted by JeroKane
    Originally posted by Celcius

    Funcom really just needs to stop trying to make MMOs and go back to making adventure games like "The Longest Journey". They have not had much success with MMOs and they have a terrible track record.. (AO,AOC,TSW) 

    Can't say I am the least bit surprised by this.

    Come on man! Funcom one of the few dev houses left that tried to do something different. While every other dev house out there keeps playing safe hanging onto the WoW formula.

    I mean.... after the total dissaster and most expensive fiasco in MMO history with SW:TOR, I would have thought people would start waking up and see that continuing copying the WoW formula is pointless.

    /shrug

    Actually in the gaming developer industry awards recently SWTOR got top awards...

    http://gdconlineawards.com

    Going free to play likely just fits with where EA want to go with the game now. Shifting gears means changes in the team. But the game has a solid core of players, an the hybrid model will likely mean a growth as players can get a lot of milage with f2p.

    Funcom failed by being too niche, but SWTOR is Star Wars and the game is a good one that EA/Bioware can build into something substantial. There is a ton of content in WoW, but it has been arround for nearly ten years after all. MMOs take time, and unfortunately Funcom don't have a big IP to pull players in here.

     

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