RE: virtual nation building

From: Reason (
Date: Mon Feb 25 2002 - 03:52:28 MST

> Thank you for the references. Now I've got to find the time to look into
> this some more.
> I wasn't thinking of making money by playing such a game, BTW, but rather
> along the lines of programming such a game. You say it cost $1
> million to
> get Everquest going? Have they made this back? What are their
> financials - any idea?

Hard to say, I don't think Verant are public. 300,000 people at $10/month is
not too shabby, however. But bear in mind that there are all sorts of major
maintenance costs associated with running an MMORPG; tech team, support
team, community building, monitors, billing, planned upgrades, etc, etc.

I'm guessing at the $1,000,000 as being dev costs (typical scalable
high-traffic business app costs $250,000 to $500,000, and then the same
again for the graphics and clients and excessive testing associated with an
MMORPG). In reality it could be more, and certainly every upgrade released
by Verant probably topped $1,000,000 again.

There are certainly a bunch of low-key, semi-single person or small crew
projects out there. The typical process is to build during an open alpha
test, acquire a community playing the game for free, then shop to a
publisher who will help you out with billing and distribution. That's how
Dark Space did it; having tried them out some time ago, I'd say they deserve
the success.


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