Richard Garriott rejects idea that Shroud of the Avatar is a ‘flop’, says the game will run ‘forever’

    
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Shroud of the Avatar has long been an odd bird in the MMORPG crowdfunding space. Driven by the eccentric Richard Garriott, it raised large sums of money and managed to be one of the first nostalgia-driven MMOs to make it from Kickstarter to launch – several times, we’ll note. And yet today, Eurogamer went so far as to call the game an apparent flop, citing its low Steam numbers and the layoffs we covered a few weeks ago.

Garriott has rejected the idea that the game is “on the ropes.” To Eurogamer, he reiterated Portalarium’s party line that the majority of players play off Steam and that the playerbase is “in the many thousands but not in the many tens of thousands of monthly active users at the moment.” He also rebuts the claim that half the team was let go, stating that the company went from more than 20 to a “little under” that now, not counting contractors.

So what the heck is going on over there? Garriott says Portalarium has struggled with marketing, spending on publicity that didn’t materialize; the company is “trialing new marketing internally” to try to tap into the “millions” of Ultima fans who still don’t know his new game exists.

And even if that doesn’t work, Garriott isn’t giving up. “We have total confidence we’ll go through all five episodes, come hell or high water,” he says, suggesting he’ll keep the game running “forever” and that SOTA will “keep [him] busy for another year or two for sure.”

Still concerned? Here’s a palate cleanser; MOP reader Kabalyero sent this video of a player emerging victorious from the game’s Obsidian Trial.

We explored the game last night as well:

Source: Eurogamer, Twitter. Thanks, Kabalyero!
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camelotcrusade

I think he forgot to add “Many people are saying they’ll play this game. There’s a lot of people out there.” Etc. etc.

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Songs for Children

Does anyone know the deal with the SOTA Facebook page? Fourteen-thousand likes but very few shares and comments seems sketchy to me. I scrolled through the comments on a few posts; none of them were even remotely critical of the game. Are the admins just deleting everything they don’t like?

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IronSalamander8 .

I played Ultima 2, 3, 4, and 5 like mad on My Commodore 64 and even have the U4 certificate somewhere but after those games I didn’t much attention to his stuff, I played Ultima 1 & 6 a bit but not the other games.

An odd claim that it will run forever, even if it was doing well (I haven’t been watching the numbers so no idea if it’s flopping or not), but he’s always been an odd one.

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Caleb Cranson

Aside from the game being a flop, so was their latest “begathon” in honor of “Lord British’s” birthday. To put things in perspective the 2017 begathon raised over $100k this go around it was only about $43k. I think folks are finally waking up to the fact that the game is toast.

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Victor Didra
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Caleb Cranson

My apologies, I forgot they continue counting up until midnight. Not that it matter’s, that extra $11,000 isn’t going to help things much.

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Victor Didra

I don’t know what they are paying employees but I’d have to imagine that 11k is something like 2 more person months of polish, so that’s a good thing!

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Kevin McCaughey

Why is RG rich? I never heard of him before except in terms of “the very famous Richard Garriot”. But I never knew what he was famous for except being famous. Wasn’t he in Hawkwind or something? Is that what I remember him from. He would have made a few dollars there for sure but not $30M.

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thalendor

He was the creator of the Ultima Series and one of the founders of Origin Systems. Of course, Ultima’s heydey was over 20 year ago now and Origin Systems was bought out by EA (probably where his money came from, at a guess) something like 25+ years ago now and was disbanded as a division of EA in the early 2000’s. He’s done some other stuff since then, but that’s what he’s most famous for, so depending on how old you are/how long you’ve been into gaming, it’s very understandable to not have heard much about him

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Vicarious Fan

don’t forget he won the $28 million lawsuit with NCSoft. Aside from that he’s been rich from the very early days of video games so he has some major built up wealth.

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Raleigh-St-Clair

It’s quite delusional to say any game will run forever, let alone one that recently cut a small-ish dev team in half. Blaming marketing* is quite weird too, especially when you consider the game was called persistent and would no longer wipe 500-something days before launch… and tens of thousands of people who owned the game didn’t show up. They also didn’t show up at launch. What good is marketing for them when they, uh, already own the game? They didn’t show up, it would seem, because they didn’t like the game, first and foremost. This honest take, of course, won’t penetrate the reality bubble that seems to exist to this day around Portalarium HQ. *Speaking of marketing, where has the 700K from the SeedInvest campaign gone?

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Sargonnax

I played many of the old Ultima games and Ultima Online for the first seven years it was out. I have some great memories from that time and the experiences my guild had in UO, but I didn’t really see anything in SOTA that really made me want to jump back in. The marketing for the game has been poor and even the website doesn’t help the game as it is now.

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kgptzac

Blaming the lack of marketing sounds awfully like deflection to me. Also I’m pretty sure I’ll live longer than this game’s lifecycle. Does it mean I am more than immortal? :D

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athiev

If the game has four or five thousand unique logins a month while it is fairly new, then it is surely a flop. It rates well below WildStar on Google Trends, as well. Good on Garriott that he plans to finish it (to some definition of “finish” at least) and leave it online for his whales. And good for anyone who’s enjoying it. But this was the definition of not with a bang but with a whimper.

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Jack Pipsam

I tried playing it around launch using my Kickstarter copy of the game, I made it like two weeks before getting bored.

Haven’t really heard much since, the Steam updates for the game went from like a 4 gig update every 12-hours or day to like barely any now at all.

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Victor Didra

They listen. There was a large outcry and so they are making the updates more consolidated. This began in April and got serious in May.