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Daily Column

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It's the calm before the "Con". GDC is next week, which means MMOG news is slow. Oh, but Blizzard is throwing a party in Paris, Marvel Universe is officially canceled and Warhammer Online might see a few classes drop by the wayside.

Make no mistake, the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2008 isn't BlizzCON, but with no dates set for a BlizzCON 2008 and no word as yet whether it will happen this might be your only chance to get your Blizz on this year.

"The 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational is a two-day event bringing together the company and gamers in a convention atmosphere, featuring Q&A panels with Blizzard Entertainment developers and hands-on opportunities with the company’s latest games. The Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational also showcases the skills of top eSports gamers from around the world as they compete in invitational StarCraft, Warcraft III and World of Warcraft Arena tournaments."

Spiderman, spiderman, does whatever a spider can, except make his way into a MMOG. Microsoft has once again scrapped a title that many (including the staff at Ten Ton Hammer) expected to be a hit.  

While talking to MTVBlog Shane Kim, head of Microsoft Game Studios had this interesting bit to say about the demise of Marvel Universe.

"“I don’t know that that’s the right way to put it. For us we look at our priorities and all of the things we have to do. It’s a tough space. It’s a very competitive space. And it’s a space that’s changing quite a bit. …When we first entered into the development and agreement of the development of ‘Marvel Universe Online,’ we thought we would create another subscription-based MMO. And if you really look at the data there’s basically one that’s successful and everything else wouldn’t meet our level or definition of commercial success. And then you have to look [and say]: ‘Can we change the business model for that? Is that really viable given how far we are in development? And so forth. Does Marvel want to do that?’ There’s a whole bunch of factors.”"

I take this to mean that with the exception of World of Warcraft, there is no MMOG on the market that Microsoft would consider a success by their standards. I'm astonished. Blizzard claims that they can produce a MMOG in three years for $50 million. Let's suppose that Microsoft can do the same thing (which they probably can't, but for sake of numbers we'll assume that they are capable). 250,000 boxes sold at launch would return $5 million approximately to the publisher. With churn, let's hope for a 150,000 subscriber base (note, I'm going very low to show some numbers here) would bring in $2.25 million per month gross. In a year they still aren't close to recovering their investment.

Now, assume a Marvel Comics intellectual property and 500,000 boxes sold at launch and 300,000  subs during the churn. That throws $10 million back at launch and $4.5 million per month in gross revenue. Remember that there are large ongoing costs to running a MMOG. The money still isn't back in a year, but we're close.

Personally, I think Marvel Universe would have done better than my scenario "B", but that is pure speculation based on the strength of the IP alone.

What do you think? Tell me in the Loading... forums.

Do you feel the need to contact me personally with naughty pictures? Here's my E-mail.


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- John "Boomjack" Hoskin and the Ten Ton Hammer Team

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Hoskin 0
Dissecting and distilling the game industry since 1994. Lover of family time, youth hockey, eSports, and the game industry in general.