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You can pretty much disregard hardware and bandwidth costs. They are next to nothing today. With a sub base of 200k your main expense is customer support and possibly development.
Originally posted by bobfish Assuming you are investing your own money and don't need to pay back external investors. 200,000 at $12.99 would bring in around $1.5 million a month revenue after operating and payment provider costs have been taken off. So if you spent $15 million on development and infrastructure, you'd need to maintain 200,000 subscribers for ten months to break even. This of course exclude costs involved in on-going development work (bug fixes, new content, etc) and anything you'd need to spend on marketing. You also have to take into account that players churn, you can expect to keep your average subscriber for four months, so you'd need to factor that in too. Realistically, you probably wouldn't make a profit for two years, if you can maintain those numbers.
you forgot box sells.
To be completely blunt. It seems simply because you haven't done it and aren't aware of what all is involved.
"25 employees, paying them an average of $70,000 (my opinion, is on the high-end, but im just guessing that number. im probably wrong). works out to 1.75 million per year (excluding benefits. or maybe with benefits)."
Now multiply that total by 1.4 and you have what the employer actually spends.
"You could probably drive down the cost of labor by hiring out of the tech school diploma mills."
If a fresh out of school game designer or game programmer could do the same quality work as industry veterans, no one would hire industry veterans, no?
"I would think since such a game would not be going after AAA status, a $19.99 digital box price with a free trial (30 days?) would suffice."
If you're offering a 30-day free trial, who will be buying the box?
That 19.99 client is going to cost you money to get to them, even if it's just the CDN traffic, marketing and ecommerce costs... which brings us to the billing system and billing team.
"i dont think 500,000 initial buyers is a stretch. as previously said, the genre has millions ready to jump to the next game"
Those millions have to know about your game. This costs money.
Your game has to be something those millions want. This often costs a LOT of money.
"The only problem would be churn"
Which would require a marketing team and advertising to combat. You can create the most engaging content in the world but if you don't have the people and resources in place to get the word out and get it out effectively, no one is going to know it exists.
Again, a successful MMO can be made for 5-15 million. I don't dispute that at all. It has been done before. An MMO with the goals you have set is maybe possible but not at all probable. For a team that has never brought an MMO to market before, it's impossible.
There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein"Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre
There are ALOT of different factors involved, so it's hard to predict with any accuracy. You've got to factor in your Develpment Budget....what terms you get that money on... what you realisticaly can achieve with it....and don't forget your Operations Budget...which not huge compared with Development will eat up some percentage of your monthlies. You'll also want to figure in some budget for marketing and advertisement.
If it's impossible to be proffitable with 200K subscribers...then ALOT of online ventures are in trouble....that's actualy pretty decent numbers.
Honestly though, I think your better off to start smaller and simpler though. An MMO is a pretty big project for a startup to tackle. You might be pretty off starting with a single-player or co-op game first. An online multiplayer co-op game may be an interesting first project....something like World of Tanks is a good example (although wagaming.net is obviously alot bigger company now).
That gives you the opportunity to work out some of the kinks as a business, get used to the operating model (if you aren't already).... and if it's good you may actualy be able to build up something of a fan base/following....and that could also help you do better with financing. A company with some sort of successfull track record is going to have alot easier time attracting investment.
I have no desire to make an MMO, the thread was to sort of get opinions of others. Could a MMO made on a small budget with 200,000 subs after the initial falloff can be deemed a success or if 1,000,000+ subs and a budget larger than The Fellowship of the Ring is the new standard.
Originally posted by Swollen_Beef I have no desire to make an MMO, the thread was to sort of get opinions of others. Could a MMO made on a small budget with 200,000 subs after the initial falloff can be deemed a success or if 1,000,000+ subs and a budget larger than The Fellowship of the Ring is the new standard.
This is an entirely different question.
By the devs/publishers/investors: If it hit its target goals then, yes, sustaining 200k subs would be aucess, I don't think it's possible to NOT be successful at 200k subs. The scenario (small budget for a 200k sub MMO) is, hiwever, improbably almost to the point of nearly impossible.
By gamers: Most gamers don't give a damn about subs, only that the game world is healthy. Most of the entrenched gamers (ex: MMORPG.com forum posters) have already given up on the 1M thing years ago, and have never expected numbers like that froma low budget indie, so 200k could easily be seen as a success.