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Former Employee Spills the Beans

ParagonianParagonian Member UncommonPosts: 30

 

This is definitely worth reading through. A guy that not only worked for Turbine for 2.5 years but has always been an actual LotRO player has thrown caution to the winds and is openly fielding questions about working at Turbine:

 

http://massivelyop.net/2015/03/04/former-lotro-employee-dishes-out-behind-the-scenes-secrets/

 

Far too many of us are completely unsurprised by what he's revealed so far. It's pretty much exactly what we expected.

 

 

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Comments

  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member LegendaryPosts: 8,856

    http://massivelyop.net/2015/03/04/former-lotro-employee-dishes-out-behind-the-scenes-secrets/

     

    I think some of the stuff a lot of people know already.  Some companies will do or say anything to make their game look successful.  Deleting negative posts about the game.  Having employees agree to not say anything bad about the game if they get fired. Developing an inner circle of players who swear that the game is the best game ever in the history of gaming and has zero problems.  Hiding their current player numbers.  It goes on and on.

    "We all do the best we can based on life experience, point of view, and our ability to believe in ourselves." - Naropa      "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."  SR Covey

  • HorusraHorusra Member EpicPosts: 4,140
    hopefully another ex-employee that can only get a job at McDonalds from now on.
  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Member RarePosts: 4,303

    SoM was a mistake in so many ways.  It guaranteed the game was already in maintenance mode as it was a tiny and pointless didn't really qualify as an "expansion".

     

    I'd be curious what his thoughts are in terms of lifetime accounts.  My guess is that it hurt them badly in terms of future revenue.  The people buying them would likely have spend a LOT more over the lifetime of the game.

     

    I always considered LOTRO a failure considering how massively popular the IP is.  It wasn't a massive failure until SoM hit.

  • cheyanecheyane Member EpicPosts: 6,410
    Scary reading the amount of money that was flushed down the toilet is shocking. I guess other companies have even worse stories but  this was such spectacular mismanagement and waste.
    image
  • RamlachRamlach Member UncommonPosts: 39

    Interesting read. Makes me sad though, LOTRO was the first theme park mmo I really got in to.  It was a great game and thoroughly enjoyable at launch, and i still had a great time with it through MoM.

    As soon as Mirkwood launched though, my love of the game, and great guild i was with all started falling apart and people started leaving. 

    Sad really I love the IP, but this game unfortunately no longer does it justice.

  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 27,320
    Originally posted by cheyane
    Scary reading the amount of money that was flushed down the toilet is shocking. I guess other companies have even worse stories but  this was such spectacular mismanagement and waste.

    I agree. I always thought that game companies needed to be better at what they did with their money.

    I also always felt the game was floundering. The few times i met Turbine folks at the PAX events they always seemed "not right", not happy". At first I attributed it to all the work going into PAX but that never really felt right to me.

    What a shame.




  • MalaboogaMalabooga Member UncommonPosts: 2,977

    LOTROs problems started with MoM, radiance and legendary items.

    SoM was just what came out of that.

    Radiance was so bad that they had to get rid of it and publicly apologize to the players when it switched to F2P.

    Legendary items stayed and many of us wondered wtf for as they were as bad as radiance (but i guess not as bad in Turbines eyes)

  • KonfessKonfess Member RarePosts: 1,666
    Originally posted by Horusra
    hopefully another ex-employee that can only get a job at McDonalds from now on.

    Why, Hopefully?  What has he done to not deserve to work again in game development?

    Pardon any spelling errors
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    As if it could exist, without being payed for.
    F2P means you get what you paid for. Pay nothing, get nothing.
    Even telemarketers wouldn't think that.
    It costs money to play.  Therefore P2W.

  • MisterZebubMisterZebub Member LegendaryPosts: 3,584
    Originally posted by Konfess
    Originally posted by Horusra
    hopefully another ex-employee that can only get a job at McDonalds from now on.

    Why, Hopefully?  What has he done to not deserve to work again in game development?

    He spilled the beans. Horusra is obviously a Hobbit and wasting good food is a dreadful sin to the furry footed, pudgy little guys.

    In other news, hey guess what, working for a business isn't always fun and games and sometimes your bosses seem to have their heads wedged firmly up their rectums. I'm not sure why this is shocking news simply because this guy happens to be talking about an online gaming company. Buy outs, sell outs, mergers, management infighting, staff rivalry, people in positions of power they don't actually deserve, throwing money at problems in the vague hope that this will make them magically go away rather that treating the core problem, E.G. idiots running the company into the ground, etc. These are problems every company faces. Why people seem to think creating and maintaining an online game should be a paradise filled with glitter farting unicorns and Neverland innocence is beyond me. At the end of the day its a job, a business venture, and for many a headache. If it was fun it wouldn't be called work.

    "You have kept me at your beck and call for fifteen years. I shall never again do what you demand of me. By every rule of single combat, from this moment your life belongs to me. Is that not correct? Then I shall simply declare you dead. In all of your dealings with me, you'll do me the courtesy to conduct yourself as a dead man. I have submitted to your notions of honor long enough. You will now submit to mine."

  • BruceYeeBruceYee Member RarePosts: 1,662

    This article is pretty fantastic in the way that it confirms the suspicions so many people had over the years.

  • Starbuck1771Starbuck1771 Member UncommonPosts: 375
    Originally posted by Horusra
    hopefully another ex-employee that can only get a job at McDonalds from now on.

    Actually Mr.Troll he works for another game company now.

    image
  • jdnewelljdnewell Member UncommonPosts: 2,237
    Originally posted by MisterZebub
    Originally posted by Konfess
    Originally posted by Horusra
    hopefully another ex-employee that can only get a job at McDonalds from now on.

    Why, Hopefully?  What has he done to not deserve to work again in game development?

    He spilled the beans. Horusra is obviously a Hobbit and wasting good food is a dreadful sin to the furry footed, pudgy little guys.

    In other news, hey guess what, working for a business isn't always fun and games and sometimes your bosses seem to have their heads wedged firmly up their rectums. I'm not sure why this is shocking news simply because this guy happens to be talking about an online gaming company. Buy outs, sell outs, mergers, management infighting, staff rivalry, people in positions of power they don't actually deserve, throwing money at problems in the vague hope that this will make them magically go away rather that treating the core problem, E.G. idiots running the company into the ground, etc. These are problems every company faces. Why people seem to think creating and maintaining an online game should be a paradise filled with glitter farting unicorns and Neverland innocence is beyond me. At the end of the day its a job, a business venture, and for many a headache. If it was fun it wouldn't be called work.

    Well said!

  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 27,320
    Originally posted by MisterZebub
    Originally posted by Konfess
    Originally posted by Horusra
    hopefully another ex-employee that can only get a job at McDonalds from now on.

    Why, Hopefully?  What has he done to not deserve to work again in game development?

    He spilled the beans. Horusra is obviously a Hobbit and wasting good food is a dreadful sin to the furry footed, pudgy little guys.

    In other news, hey guess what, working for a business isn't always fun and games and sometimes your bosses seem to have their heads wedged firmly up their rectums. I'm not sure why this is shocking news simply because this guy happens to be talking about an online gaming company. Buy outs, sell outs, mergers, management infighting, staff rivalry, people in positions of power they don't actually deserve, throwing money at problems in the vague hope that this will make them magically go away rather that treating the core problem, E.G. idiots running the company into the ground, etc. These are problems every company faces. Why people seem to think creating and maintaining an online game should be a paradise filled with glitter farting unicorns and Neverland innocence is beyond me. At the end of the day its a job, a business venture, and for many a headache. If it was fun it wouldn't be called work.

    I don't think anyone thinks what you put down.

    What I do think is that, even though "work is work" and sometimes management isn't that great or employees might not pull their weight, or that not every decision is a good one, they (we) hope that we will be at a good company and be successful.

    It's sad to see people pour in their all, even though we are all flawed, and not be successful. And for the players it's more sad as they just want to be part of something that is good and fun and successful.




  • gervaise1gervaise1 Member EpicPosts: 6,387

    Guy doesn't come across as "disgruntled". Saddened perhaps that what - in many ways was and still is a "solid" game had so much hardship.

    And he implied the team worked wonders - and from what he wrote you would have to concur.

    Interesting point made above about the lifetime subs. I think you have to remember that LotR launched after DDO - and DDO failed - I can remember discussions about 100k - I seem to recall they announced 100k sales and the assumption was that subs after the first month were lower. The whole we expect you to do the same content more than once fiasco.

    So I think the aim with the lifetime sub was that Turbine were trying to "lock in" a decent playerbase from the start all of whom had paid the equivalent of was it 6 or 12 months? (Think the cost was $125 but did that include the box?) And that money would obviously fund the devs whilst they developed an xpac etc. etc.

    Whether f2p was a "deal with the devil" is a moot point; being bought by WarnerBros though was probably a no brainer. As Mark Jacobs said to people who were complaining about Mythic "selling out" it was either that or lay off all the staff and not finished WAR (what they were working on at the time).

     

  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,777
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by MisterZebub
    Originally posted by Konfess
    Originally posted by Horusra
    hopefully another ex-employee that can only get a job at McDonalds from now on.

    Why, Hopefully?  What has he done to not deserve to work again in game development?

    He spilled the beans. Horusra is obviously a Hobbit and wasting good food is a dreadful sin to the furry footed, pudgy little guys.

    In other news, hey guess what, working for a business isn't always fun and games and sometimes your bosses seem to have their heads wedged firmly up their rectums. I'm not sure why this is shocking news simply because this guy happens to be talking about an online gaming company. Buy outs, sell outs, mergers, management infighting, staff rivalry, people in positions of power they don't actually deserve, throwing money at problems in the vague hope that this will make them magically go away rather that treating the core problem, E.G. idiots running the company into the ground, etc. These are problems every company faces. Why people seem to think creating and maintaining an online game should be a paradise filled with glitter farting unicorns and Neverland innocence is beyond me. At the end of the day its a job, a business venture, and for many a headache. If it was fun it wouldn't be called work.

    I don't think anyone thinks what you put down.

    What I do think is that, even though "work is work" and sometimes management isn't that great or employees might not pull their weight, or that not every decision is a good one, they (we) hope that we will be at a good company and be successful.

    It's sad to see people pour in their all, even though we are all flawed, and not be successful. And for the players it's more sad as they just want to be part of something that is good and fun and successful.

    I'm pretty sure a lot of gamers think this is breaking news and the nut has been cracked. Some deep truth has been revealed. Blood is in the water and the drama sharks will feed all over this. Anyone who did testing for Turbine during his stint at the company, especially during Moria knows there were a ton of QA issues at that time. Any QA team has a hard job, if it even exists, but I never got the impression this was a division filled with A-Team members.

    Turbine has never been good at listening to their community. Or at best they've cherry picked things. They've had horrible follow through with game systems (hobbies, housing, LIs, and PvMP). This guy was a pvmp fan and Turbine has never given a lot of love that way. He even admits in the article that, at the very best, the interest peaked at 7% of the player base. Then goes on to lament about P2W under Warner. Well who did the pvmp players expect to pay for their share of the game. They're a niche portion of the player base and their share is going to cost them more.

    Turbine has been fraught with leadership issues since the beginning. The lack of good leadership shows in how the game has a sort of design by committee mish-mash feel to it sometimes. Still LotRO has turned out to be a pretty decent game and it's still fun. I wouldn't say the game isn't successful either. According to those weird data sites it's at least as successful as EVE, Rift, EQ2, and its peers of that time period.

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  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Member RarePosts: 4,303
    I find his posts to be very refreshing.  Nothing shocking really, but it's only something someone with no interest in returning to the industry could say openly.
  • MisterZebubMisterZebub Member LegendaryPosts: 3,584
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by MisterZebub
    Originally posted by Konfess
    Originally posted by Horusra
    hopefully another ex-employee that can only get a job at McDonalds from now on.

    Why, Hopefully?  What has he done to not deserve to work again in game development?

    He spilled the beans. Horusra is obviously a Hobbit and wasting good food is a dreadful sin to the furry footed, pudgy little guys.

    In other news, hey guess what, working for a business isn't always fun and games and sometimes your bosses seem to have their heads wedged firmly up their rectums. I'm not sure why this is shocking news simply because this guy happens to be talking about an online gaming company. Buy outs, sell outs, mergers, management infighting, staff rivalry, people in positions of power they don't actually deserve, throwing money at problems in the vague hope that this will make them magically go away rather that treating the core problem, E.G. idiots running the company into the ground, etc. These are problems every company faces. Why people seem to think creating and maintaining an online game should be a paradise filled with glitter farting unicorns and Neverland innocence is beyond me. At the end of the day its a job, a business venture, and for many a headache. If it was fun it wouldn't be called work.

    I don't think anyone thinks what you put down.

    What I do think is that, even though "work is work" and sometimes management isn't that great or employees might not pull their weight, or that not every decision is a good one, they (we) hope that we will be at a good company and be successful.

    It's sad to see people pour in their all, even though we are all flawed, and not be successful. And for the players it's more sad as they just want to be part of something that is good and fun and successful.

    I'm sorry but I disagree that "no one" thinks what I wrote. I've seen way to many complaints that games are an art form and therefore should be sacrosanct from any of the bullshit a business has to put up with.

    Daily I see people here carping about quality quality quality, but I've yet to hear any of them mention anything about costs, budget, expenses, infrastructure. Its like these gamers seem to think the MMO studio is akin to the magical realms they create, instead of what they are, a job. A job where the profit margin is the yardstick on which everything else they do is measured.

    I do however agree that most MMORPG gamers want a world where they can frolic and tune out the real world for awhile. And that with the exception of a few assholes, most people don't like to see people put effort into something only to fail. I don't see anything wrong with that, but I do take exception to those players who seem to think their entertainment comes without cost. And the brunt of that cost falls upon the shoulders of the people who create and fund that venture. Its not fair to simply discount such a thing because players want to forget about the man behind the curtain and only enjoy the marvelous whizbangs the spectacle of the wizard brings them.

    "You have kept me at your beck and call for fifteen years. I shall never again do what you demand of me. By every rule of single combat, from this moment your life belongs to me. Is that not correct? Then I shall simply declare you dead. In all of your dealings with me, you'll do me the courtesy to conduct yourself as a dead man. I have submitted to your notions of honor long enough. You will now submit to mine."

  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 21,554
    Originally posted by MisterZebub
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by MisterZebub
    Originally posted by Konfess
    Originally posted by Horusra
    hopefully another ex-employee that can only get a job at McDonalds from now on.

    Why, Hopefully?  What has he done to not deserve to work again in game development?

    He spilled the beans. Horusra is obviously a Hobbit and wasting good food is a dreadful sin to the furry footed, pudgy little guys.

    In other news, hey guess what, working for a business isn't always fun and games and sometimes your bosses seem to have their heads wedged firmly up their rectums. I'm not sure why this is shocking news simply because this guy happens to be talking about an online gaming company. Buy outs, sell outs, mergers, management infighting, staff rivalry, people in positions of power they don't actually deserve, throwing money at problems in the vague hope that this will make them magically go away rather that treating the core problem, E.G. idiots running the company into the ground, etc. These are problems every company faces. Why people seem to think creating and maintaining an online game should be a paradise filled with glitter farting unicorns and Neverland innocence is beyond me. At the end of the day its a job, a business venture, and for many a headache. If it was fun it wouldn't be called work.

    I don't think anyone thinks what you put down.

    What I do think is that, even though "work is work" and sometimes management isn't that great or employees might not pull their weight, or that not every decision is a good one, they (we) hope that we will be at a good company and be successful.

    It's sad to see people pour in their all, even though we are all flawed, and not be successful. And for the players it's more sad as they just want to be part of something that is good and fun and successful.

    I'm sorry but I disagree that "no one" thinks what I wrote. I've seen way to many complaints that games are an art form and therefore should be sacrosanct from any of the bullshit a business has to put up with.

    Daily I see people here carping about quality quality quality, but I've yet to hear any of them mention anything about costs, budget, expenses, infrastructure. Its like these gamers seem to think the MMO studio is akin to the magical realms they create, instead of what they are, a job. A job where the profit margin is the yardstick on which everything else they do is measured.

    I do however agree that most MMORPG gamers want a world where they can frolic and tune out the real world for awhile. And that with the exception of a few assholes, most people don't like to see people put effort into something only to fail. I don't see anything wrong with that, but I do take exception to those players who seem to think their entertainment comes without cost. And the brunt of that cost falls upon the shoulders of the people who create and fund that venture. Its not fair to simply discount such a thing because players want to forget about the man behind the curtain and only enjoy the marvelous whizbangs the spectacle of the wizard brings them.

    Indeed.

    Without major investment money the vast majority of MMORPGs would never have gotten made. Hate the suits all you want but without funding - no games.

    The harsh reality is that video game studios are a business first and foremost whose goals are to be profitable and see their employees earn steady paychecks - this is paramount in every business.

    The fact that game studios employ creative folks that often think and work outside of standard business constraints is a challange in itself when there are hard deadlines to meet and strict bottom line to adhere to.

    Making MMOs is not easy, its not glamorous and its usually an extreme financial risk.

     

     

  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 27,320
    Originally posted by MisterZebub
     

    I'm sorry but I disagree that "no one" thinks what I wrote. I've seen way to many complaints that games are an art form and therefore should be sacrosanct from any of the bullshit a business has to put up with.

    Daily I see people here carping about quality quality quality, but I've yet to hear any of them mention anything about costs, budget, expenses, infrastructure. Its like these gamers seem to think the MMO studio is akin to the magical realms they create, instead of what they are, a job. A job where the profit margin is the yardstick on which everything else they do is measured.

    I do however agree that most MMORPG gamers want a world where they can frolic and tune out the real world for awhile. And that with the exception of a few assholes, most people don't like to see people put effort into something only to fail. I don't see anything wrong with that, but I do take exception to those players who seem to think their entertainment comes without cost. And the brunt of that cost falls upon the shoulders of the people who create and fund that venture. Its not fair to simply discount such a thing because players want to forget about the man behind the curtain and only enjoy the marvelous whizbangs the spectacle of the wizard brings them.

    I think if you have read any of my posts you will ALWAYS see me mention "costs, budget, expenses, infrastructure, etc" and I've seen many others (on this site) say the same thing so I'm not sure why you think no one does.

    I'm in the arts and I will, when talking about the arts, mention "costs, budget, expenses, infrastructure" when talking about the arts as arts are a business and most people who are serious about the arts want to make their money from being in the arts.

    So games being an art still doesn't divorce them from having to sustain themselves "somehow".

     

    I can however agree with your point highlighted in yellow.




  • Asm0deusAsm0deus Member EpicPosts: 2,979

    He is not really spilling anything anyone that played DDO or LoTro didn't already know. 

     

    There even was a schism at some point in the ddo forums where a bunch of people left and the ddovault was created so peeps could discuss things without Turbine cubing everything.

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  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 27,320
    Originally posted by Asm0deus

    He is not really spilling anything anyone that played DDO or LoTro didn't already know. 

     

    There even was a schism at some point in the ddo forums where a bunch of people left and the ddovault was created so peeps could discuss things without Turbine cubing everything.

    In truth, I worry about Turbine as they really haven't done anything of merit or note in quite a while. Lord of the Rings Online seems like it is in maintenance mode and though Dungeons and Dragons online is coming out with seemingly good stuff, that is an old game. 

    It just seems like there is nothing new happening with them.




  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 16,547
    Originally posted by Horusra
    hopefully another ex-employee that can only get a job at McDonalds from now on.

    Yes because nobody wants to know the truth ,we rather have devs feed us a bunch of BS all the time.Not that i needed him to tell me anything,i already have a very good idea how these businesses operate and most others should realize it as well.

    The team was too small to work on 3 games,just as i pointed out recently that Daybreak is far too small to expect anything good from them ever again.

    The only surprise i have is the talk of around 85k subs,were they not bantering around a million or something like that,i mean i don't remember exact numbers but as he said they were painting a very successful picture.

    The thing that doesn't makes sense,well unless i guess you figure they started the console version long ago while doing well,but why invest into the console when i see very little added profit there.I guess their long term goal is DLC and you can expect that to be VERY weak content,like lucky if it's a week of game play.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • reeereeereeereee Member UncommonPosts: 1,636
    Originally posted by MisterZebub
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by MisterZebub
    Originally posted by Konfess
    Originally posted by Horusra
    hopefully another ex-employee that can only get a job at McDonalds from now on.

    Why, Hopefully?  What has he done to not deserve to work again in game development?

    He spilled the beans. Horusra is obviously a Hobbit and wasting good food is a dreadful sin to the furry footed, pudgy little guys.

    In other news, hey guess what, working for a business isn't always fun and games and sometimes your bosses seem to have their heads wedged firmly up their rectums. I'm not sure why this is shocking news simply because this guy happens to be talking about an online gaming company. Buy outs, sell outs, mergers, management infighting, staff rivalry, people in positions of power they don't actually deserve, throwing money at problems in the vague hope that this will make them magically go away rather that treating the core problem, E.G. idiots running the company into the ground, etc. These are problems every company faces. Why people seem to think creating and maintaining an online game should be a paradise filled with glitter farting unicorns and Neverland innocence is beyond me. At the end of the day its a job, a business venture, and for many a headache. If it was fun it wouldn't be called work.

    I don't think anyone thinks what you put down.

    What I do think is that, even though "work is work" and sometimes management isn't that great or employees might not pull their weight, or that not every decision is a good one, they (we) hope that we will be at a good company and be successful.

    It's sad to see people pour in their all, even though we are all flawed, and not be successful. And for the players it's more sad as they just want to be part of something that is good and fun and successful.

    I'm sorry but I disagree that "no one" thinks what I wrote. I've seen way to many complaints that games are an art form and therefore should be sacrosanct from any of the bullshit a business has to put up with.

    Daily I see people here carping about quality quality quality, but I've yet to hear any of them mention anything about costs, budget, expenses, infrastructure. Its like these gamers seem to think the MMO studio is akin to the magical realms they create, instead of what they are, a job. A job where the profit margin is the yardstick on which everything else they do is measured.

    I do however agree that most MMORPG gamers want a world where they can frolic and tune out the real world for awhile. And that with the exception of a few assholes, most people don't like to see people put effort into something only to fail. I don't see anything wrong with that, but I do take exception to those players who seem to think their entertainment comes without cost. And the brunt of that cost falls upon the shoulders of the people who create and fund that venture. Its not fair to simply discount such a thing because players want to forget about the man behind the curtain and only enjoy the marvelous whizbangs the spectacle of the wizard brings them.

    Where have you been for the last 4 years?  Since SWTOR launched cost has been one of the main themes discussed on this site.

  • olepiolepi Member UncommonPosts: 1,280

    It's kind of a running joke that the government is wasteful, and that private industry is much better at containing costs, etc.

    I was on a high-tech project that had over 200 people for 3 years work on it, before it was canceled. We estimated a loss of $800 million dollars. Teams in the US and Europe worked for years, before somebody realized it just wasn't going to work.

    Waste, mis-management, unrealistic goals, failure to follow progress, rivalries, executives jockeying for position. This happens all the time.

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  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 27,320
    Originally posted by olepi

    It's kind of a running joke that the government is wasteful, and that private industry is much better at containing costs, etc.

    I was on a high-tech project that had over 200 people for 3 years work on it, before it was canceled. We estimated a loss of $800 million dollars. Teams in the US and Europe worked for years, before somebody realized it just wasn't going to work.

    Waste, mis-management, unrealistic goals, failure to follow progress, rivalries, executives jockeying for position. This happens all the time.

    Was this a "game" project or just something else in technology. Because "wow" what a massive waste! And didn't anyone realize it wasn't going to work? Even at the halfway point?

    Or, was it just research? Because that at least would make some sense.




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