The Daily Grind: Are you hopeful about crowdfunded MMOs?

    
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Uh, no.

A few years back, we were all discussing the frankly dizzying amounts of money going into crowdfunding MMOs. Speculation ran rampant that this was the new model for developing games. And yet now, between titles like Greed Monger folding early in the development process, titles like Pathfinder Online facing an uncertain future, and other titles cancelling partway through their Kickstarter campaigns… suddenly the future of crowdfunding seems far less bright.

So what do you think? Are you looking at all of the MMOs that are out or on the horizon and still thinking that that crowdfunding is going to be the way of the future for video games? Do you think that the failures are part of the growing pains of the model? Or do you think that this is an inevitable consequence of crowdfunding?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Daisame
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Daisame

I better be. I gave a bunch of money to Star Citizen. =) I HOPE the gamble pays off.

Mark Jacobs
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Mark Jacobs

Siphaed Giggilybits Mark Jacobs In my case, it really boiled down to a few big reasons:

1) As Siphaed said, there are big trade-offs in going with a publisher/VC. Our game was, IMO, too risky for most pubs/VCs because we are not looking for a big win. A lot of people use a baseball analogy (single, double, triple, etc.) to describe the game/company potential for a monetary win. Camelot Unchained is a not a grand slam/home run kind of game. We are a niche game that is sticking to its pre/post KS principles about staying a niche game. Most pubs/VCs are not very interested in singles/doubles, especially if they come with risk. Making an MMORPG is a lot of risk so a single/double is even less interested.

2) I hate strings and VCs/pub money generally comes with lots of strings. Sometimes the VCs/pubs can be easy to deal with but, I just wanted to spend a few years focusing on one game, and not worrying about the next game or some other way to make money. And that’s one of the main strings, where do you go from here? Plus, I’m not in love with always chasing the “next big thing” and that’s something that VCs love (and I don’t blame them). 

3) We would have had to lay out a long-term plan for other games to get VC money. Unlike the film industry, the vast majority of game-based VC is investment in the company for the long-term, not a one-off deal for a particular project. Those deals do happen, but they are in a very small minority. That would have meant giving out a lot of information to a lot of people and frankly, I’d prefer to keep some of my ideas to myself for now. :)

4) Making the VC rounds is a PITA. If we were in California, I might have considered it a little more seriously, but being in Virginia, I would have spent a ton of time/money/effort, doing the rounds in California, NYC and possibly Boston. I wasn’t looking forward to that, especially because of (3).

So, those are the biggest reasons.

Thanks for the kind words. I’m pretty proud that the two MMORPGs we launched at Mythic are two of the highest rated MMORPGs in history. Both also made a lot of people happy and that’s not a bad thing. :)

ZenDadaist
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ZenDadaist

Crowdfunding bubble has burst. Perhaps it won’t get to quite to the same degree as the dot.com bubble bursting however :p

The concept has saturated; more and more people are becoming skeptical of it. Too much crap out there, too many failures. What happens with Star Citizen will be a major determining factor in the future of crowdfunding for online games. And to be honest, I’m not at all hopeful about it.

The exception to this is Camelot Unchained but as a smaller game it’s under the radar, and I’m not sure how much of a confidence boost to the KS system would arise in the general gaming public if CU does well.

Overall It’s a pity – the KS model allowed more niche ideas to potentially see the light of day, instead of just the next profit-milking AAA franchise. And don’t get me started on big rich corporations turning to crowdfunding…

JakeDunnegan
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JakeDunnegan

Perfect Hero I’m sure the fact that an MMO can easily take 5+ years of development has nothing to do with the fact that there’s only been one released so far. /eyeroll.

JakeDunnegan
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JakeDunnegan

sray155 LOL – true enough.

BigMikeyOcho
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BigMikeyOcho

Estranged This is why it feels wrong when bigger publishers use crowdfunding, too.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

Perfect Hero Elite: Dangerous was crowd-funded, and fits most definitions of an MMO.  Project Gorgon is a mostly complete game before being successfully crowdfunded.  I won’t use that-one-game for fear of summoning he who must not be named, Those are just two that qualify, without me even really digging very deep.

iridescence
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iridescence

DahkohtLewin That’s true but at least when a mass market MMO fails to live up to the hype you’re probably not out much money (unless it’s one of these early access things which carries the same risks as crowdfunding).

DahkohtLewin
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DahkohtLewin

Having a publisher and an experienced corporation means nothing about having business sense and spending money any more wisely than a crowd funded one.
I can start to list off the AAA mmos published by corporations that were forced out the door very unfinished , still late , that had blown their budget on voice acting and other inconsequential items that did nothing for longevity or actual mmo gameplay.
Just saying the track record for the past decade of “published” mmos is pretty piss poor in my book and having 100 million plus , and 27 Vice Presidents putting their hands in development hasn’t seemed to do very well.
Mass market mmos have bored me to tears , at least with crowd funded mmos on the horizon I have some hope.
Before there was none.

Estranged
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Estranged

I may be crazy, but I feel like he has lit a fire under their hind ends.