Top reason why SB might fold as fast as the XFL
Though its really a combination of several unfortunate events.
Fact: To break even (and we will be nice here) SB will require 50,000 subscriptions. 80k to even start recouping development costs. 100k+ to recoup dev costs and include new content minus bug crushing.
Why Shadowbane might fail reaching the magic quota:
1. First and foremost, publishing woes. Im not going to get into the who dumped who fiasco, but not having a publisher this far into development does not bode well. Also you are testing the market with a smaller publisher. Proven MMORPGs respectively have Sony, EA, and Microsoft behind them. This is a risk factor.
2. PvP in other MMORPG’s has proven to be a niche market. Now i know you will say that other games were not designed around PvP, but that doesnt change the fact that you have another untested variable at hand. You cannot compare it to an FPS, FPS’ are a) free and b) are another genre.
Dwelling on this untested idea might berate some here… (“well you have to try it out, someone has to take a risk first, yada yada”) but think about it. Every year baseball teams with unproven relievers and unproven outfield (out of the blue) will say “Well, if we get good production out of our relievers, and our outfielders, we will be able to compete” True! I completely agree. Unfortunately, every team says this, and for 1 out of 10, it works. For 9 of 10, its a hollow statement. Any development team will say the same thing.
3. Competition. Not only is SB competing with 3 well-developed MMORPGs, it also has to battle AO (which will probably be released first) and DAoC. Another untested variable of this market, how much of a transfer niche is really available? Indications are that AC suffered in some small part due to this, even with microwhore behind it. (so we add an unproven manager to the equation for our baseball scenario)
4. Intangibles. I hate to say this (I really do) but might SB fans be a bit too fanatical about their game? Ive always considered games that are truly strong enough to stand on their own rarely require a vocal player base to fight for its virtue. They are more of “to each their own”. AC players are a good example (a bit fanatical compared to your EQ player) Subspace players. Allegiance players.
Downturn in game sales, economic slowdowns. I just see lots of issues at hand.
Overall, how will SB handle this? Depends. If Wolfpack publishes it independently, I think SB is surely done. Publishers not working directly with their own money are far more likely to wait and see and let a game hit stride. Even if they do (and they’ll need a publisher with some pockets), there are considerable problems at hand. Without, no matter what their intentions are now, they didnt get rich by being stupid. Like the XFL compared to the NFL, SB could be that way to the EQ’s and UOs. (though admittedly SB having a fighting chance due to the fact that it should be as good if not better in terms of quality) That doesnt mean there wont be growing pains. Will they have the stamina to watch the draining bank accounts? Time will only tell, but the outlook isnt exactly cheery.
It’s worth noting that the reaction of the Shadowbane community can be summed up neatly by the first response over in the original thread:
I’m glad you know everything about MMORPGs, the computer gaming industry, and WP’s financial state, but I honestly don’t care.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t immediately blamed for this gloom and doom. Since, according to Anarchy Online’s defenders, I (personally) am responsible for the destruction of all things green and bountiful. As this poster put it:
Look, Lum is a sad little troll. If you ever read his “broken toys” essay, you’ll realize he’s got a lot of baggage he is carrying around with him (no cheap joke here). He doesn’t like to see others succeed.
He has a rant site. Sometimes he forgets this, and tries to do actual news, but they always come back to rants. The only postive comments go towards the downtrodden and victimized, because that is what he identifies with. Most of his writers fall into the same category. It is nice they have a voice somewhere, but you really need to have perspective to avoid thinking the sky is falling reading their stories.
Unfortunately, it is going to be those most dissatisfied by their beta experience that are going to violate the NDA, and those who are happy the least likely to do so. Many of these people may be using bad computers, or bad connections, or just hostile because they really wanted biggir gunz. There is even no proof that the posters they get are even in the beta at all – they could well be fanboys of another game they feel they must defend, or even “plants” from another company trying to drive down the release of a competitor.
They have posted one positive game review in the past half year – for Dark Age of Camelot. This week, they posted a very slanderous article against it, with no real specifics, just a lot of generalities that different aspects now suXXor. They did not include any of the responses from the maker refuting those statements.
Take nothing at lums at face value. Truths can be found there, but it should never be assumed.
I used to feel the same way Kazson. The slander they have put out against AC in the past 6 months compared to what was actually in the game really made me take a fresh look at it; I kept wondering why I wasn’t running into any of the catastrophically bad bugs or hating all the new content they added. Then I read his “broken toys” essay, and it all became clear.
They can be funny, but you should never form an opinion about something based off of what appears in a Lum site rant.
It ALL BECOMES CLEAR NOW!
More later once I emerge from my SECRET UNDERGROUND LAIR to WREAK HAVOC ON THE CUTE AND INNOCENT puppies JUST TRYING TO SUCCEED IN THIS COLD, HARSH WORLD.