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Reader Comments (8)

Posted: Jun 6th 2008 9:26AM (Unverified) said

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Richard Garriott jumped off the Tabula Rasa train really fast. Surprised his name is still linked to it.

Posted: Jun 6th 2008 1:53PM Anatidae said

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I am sorry to say this, but I really don't like Richard Garriott. Well, from a producer standpoint.

The guy strikes me as being a lot of hot air with yesterdays ideas. He gets all this credit for UO, but other than the intellectual property (which I will admit Ultima is a big gold star for Richard) I think that the great online ideas came from the other team members.

If you want seriously interesting insights into games, Ralph Koster is one to check out. I don't always agree with his direction, but I almost always agree with his reasoning. If I were still in the game development space, I would want that guy on my team.
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Posted: Jun 6th 2008 12:22PM Ravious said

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This was an excellent post and a good reason of why I RSS to Massively. Peering behind the corporate curtain of any major MMO developer is pretty tough now-a-days. Thanks for doing just that.

Posted: Jun 6th 2008 12:32PM Triskelion said

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I agree.

Nice piece Massive.
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Posted: Jun 6th 2008 4:55PM (Unverified) said

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From the article: "Last quarter, TR had 1.2 billion Won in royalties coming into NCSoft. Now, this quarter, TR only has 49 million Won attributed it -- a QoQ loss of 104%."

You can't have a loss of greater than 100%, unless the royalties starting being paid out by NCSoft, rather than being paid TO NCSoft, so I presume this should mean a loss of 95.9%.

Posted: Jun 6th 2008 9:26PM (Unverified) said

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One has to look at the MMO Sci Fi genre to see the problem
is obvious http://www.mmogchart.com/Chart8.html
The fantasy based MMO's knock the socks off the SciFi MMO's

Even games like SWG can't compete with the likes of
WOW.

I'm just curious to know which subscribers NCSoft was thinking
to attract to TR.

If they make TR a free to play with microtransactions they hooked me.

Beam me up Scotty!

Posted: Jun 7th 2008 5:31PM (Unverified) said

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There's more to see in that quarterly. For instance, we all knew that Robert Garriott, Richard's brother, was CEO of NcSoft Austin until earlier this year. Supposedly he was "promoted"--but no one really knows what he's doing now.

But I didn't know that Robert Garriott was also on the Board of Directors of NcSoft! That puts him even higher in the decision making and resource allocation of RGTR. When you sit on a board, you're supposed to be looking after the interests of the investors in the company. And nobody knew better had hard Richard was working, and how much Richard was working, than Robert.

If you go back to the public disclosures section of the NcSoft site--May 17, 2001--there is a release about how much cash they gave the brothers for rights to use their name and the IT. 43 billion won--about $43 million dollars.

Also, the brothers shared 6% of the company at one point in 2005 (Yahoo financials). The company "cap" is about 20 million shares, so the company gave them about 1.2 million shares in addition to the cash. Depending on the price when the stock was sold, this could be between $50-$100 dollars in stocks/options.

And none of that was development costs. That was just paid to the brothers as compensation. Development costs were on top of that.

As we know, the first version of TR was thrown out after over two years work in 2004. Auto Assault cost $14 million, so it's reasonable to think the first version of TR cost about that much.

From 2004-2007, add in about $20M for the second version of TR.

From the cost of buying the Garriott "name brand" (cash and stock) and development of the two versions, you're looking easily at $150 million in total outlay for the brothers and their project-- likely more.

Are you thinking "biggest flop in video game history"?

The accountant in this story during the conference call said they'd need between 10-15 million dollars to break even for maintenance costs in 2008. So far in 2008, TR has brought in $1.8M in revenue. Divide that by three months and you get $600 thousand per month.

At that rate, they'll be lucky to see $7.2 Million for the whole year of 2008.

Not only have they lost big, they're still losing big.

Do the Garriotts have anything to say except--"My dad's an astronaut"--?

Posted: Jun 9th 2008 9:43AM (Unverified) said

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yes, it's time to speak frankly: TR is a failure.

it might well be a good game, but that's largely irrelevant - it had the funding and the ambition to be a mass market game, competing with WoW, and they've produced, with all that funding, a niche market game (albeit one which might be very good, i honestly don't know).

paying blockbuster rates to get art-house produce is a definition of failure in the film industry - and with TR we've seen the MMO industry's first Heaven's Gate-standard bomb.

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