Thursday, December 04, 2008

Not A Good Time For Failing MMOs

Tabula Rasa is going the way of the dodo. Age of Conan may be following as well: Age of Conan Servers To Merge, Funcom Sees Layoffs.
Two ominous signs have come recently for Age of Conan fans; developer Funcom went through a round of layoffs, and they announced plans to merge some of the game's servers in order to maintain a "healthy" population. Despite this, Funcom has maintained that development will continue for both the PC version and the upcoming Xbox 360 version of the game, confident that Age of Conan won't follow Tabula Rasa into oblivion. A writer at Vox ex Machina doesn't share that view, pointing to several of the game's flaws as reasons why it didn't maintain the popularity it enjoyed at launch.

Tough economic times call for tough measures, but a little voice in the back of my head keeps telling me these games probably wouldn't survive even in the best of economic times. I wonder which game will be next...


  1. Anonymous8:41 AM

    Yea... I wonder :P

    Of course Funcom and NCSoft are pretty small when compared to SOE and EA. I think those companies can afford to be patient, while the smaller ones cannot.

  2. Anonymous1:11 PM

    Dunno about that one. Although NCSoft may not be as big a name Stateside, you've gotta keep in mind they're based in Asia--and Lineage is huge over there. And both Guild Wars and City of Heroes are big western sellers. I think the closure of Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa has a lot more to do with greedy businessmen looking at the bottom line and nothing else rather than a struggling, small company having to make cuts.

    In terms of Funcom, you'd think they would've learned from the shaky launch of Anarchy Online. Apparently not. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  3. Anonymous2:14 PM

    SOE is backed by Sony.

    EA had revenues of close to ~5 billion dollars (US) last year.

    NCSoft's revenues are about ~$360 million dollars (US).

    They are in different leagues.

  4. Anonymous3:48 PM

    Clearly NCSoft does not have the resources of Sony or EA, but again, they're a long way from going down the road of Perpetual and Sigil. According to this article, they sunk a rough $67.5 million into developing TR and made back a meager 3 mil and change. Ouch.

    What puzzles me is after having spent that much, why totally kill the game? It's not like their investment will magically respawn once the game is axed. At the very least, assign a bare bones support team to the title until those 20k currently playing fizzle out. Anyway, I'm getting off-topic here...

  5. Anonymous7:48 AM

    You're right, NCSoft is not a one trick pony. As to why they shut it down, I guess the numbers were really bad.

  6. Yet AoC continues to chart on X-Fire. Sales are still acceptable.
    Patches are still going into AoC, and survey data being done has shown a marked improvement in AoC since Craig took over.
    Big difference in each of these games.
    (Also, as keeps being proven, Sci-Fi in your MMO equals death)


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