Derek Smart says he’s working on partnership deals to revivify 2009 MMORPG Alganon


A year and change ago, we covered the strange case of MMO Alganon, and now it’s back in the news.

We’ve been covering the game for about a decade now; it made headlines for a major controversy back in 2010, when the game’s president, David Allen, was pushed out of the company. According to Derek Smart, who replaced him, Smart “fired” Allen, arguing that he himself had a better plan for the game’s business model. Allen retaliated with a lawsuit, accusing Smart of a “smear campaign” (the suit was settled in 2010 and the company walked back some of Smart’s statements).

The game itself then muddled along without much of anything to distinguish it besides an expansion in 2014. Then, in 2017, Smart told Steam players that the game’s low population hadn’t justified development. A month later, the game went offline for what Smart initially characterized as a server maintenance and migration. But as it turned out, there was more to it: Smart’s company, 3000AD – which operates Line of Defense – had taken over the game and was in the process of replacing and moving the ancient servers with plans for a new release. At the time, he was adamant that contrary to news reports, the game was not sunsetting, just offline.

Not much has happened in the last year, but as MMO Fallout noticed, Smart did recently post an update on Steam. In November, he apologized for the “long silence” and wrote,

“There are quite a few exciting things going on and which I can’t disclose at this point; but only to say that Alganon WILL be coming back. And this time with a worldwide release via an established MMO partner. There’s quite a bit of consolidation (e.g. see gamigo buying Trion Worlds) going on in the gaming space, especially in MMO space. So things are a bit touch and go for the most part. I have a LOT of money invested in Alganon, and part of recouping that investment is to relaunch it via a third-party partner and in the best way possible. We’re working on that.”

And just a few weeks ago, he clarified that he’s “working with several parties on partnership deals which would see a territorial release as well as targeted marketing for its eventual relaunch.”

“The game has not been sunset or I would have announced it as such,” he reiterates. “It’s coming back as soon as everything that I’m working on completes. Yes, it’s taken some time, but that’s how these things go.”

Source: Steam via MMO Fallout
Update March 5
Smart has posted another update on Steam, explaining some of the challenges of getting an older MMO moved and back online.

“In the case of Alganon, aside from the fact that it was never deployed outside of the US, was never localized, doesn’t support cloud servers etc, it’s a massive undertaking to transition. I bought it from the investors because, like all my games, my goal is to bring it back online and keep it going until the wheels come off because it can pay for itself in the long term. The biggest challenge is that you can’t just launch an MMO game these days. It’s a lot more challenging, astoundingly costly, and without marketing you’re just asking for trouble while delaying the inevitable. It’s why I chose not to relaunch it myself; but instead seek out international partners so that it can be re-launched in key territories, marketed appropriately etc – and with much fanfare. And through all that, we can also do some cosmetic revisions over time because some of the visual assets do need some minor updating.”

Unlike a lot of developers, he also offers up some cold hard stats. “FYI. At the time I took it offline, the game had about 250K unique accounts, and a pretty decent DAU/MAU,” he says. “Sure it wasn’t lighting up charts, bank accounts or anything, but it was doing OK – considering that it was at the stage where we barely touched it, except to reboot the master/auth servers once in awhile. But, like SOTA and similar games, it had a dedicated user base.

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