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Discussion in 'UHall' started by Gameboy, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. Gameboy

    Gameboy Sage
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    So I was told that UO has about 8k in subscriptions. I know how they know or if it is even right. I have this fear 8k is not a lot though, and will this nix my 5 year plan to play?
     
  2. Tazar

    Tazar Guest

    lol Someone's fooling you...
     
  3. Gameboy

    Gameboy Sage
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    I hope so.
     
  4. Triberius

    Triberius Firefall Moderator | LotRO Moderator
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    Multiply it by about 8 and you'll come closer to the mark...
     
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  5. Gameboy

    Gameboy Sage
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    That's a bit better.
     
  6. Raptor85

    Raptor85 Certifiable
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    64k subs? close but i think a little high, 8 is a little low but seeing the pop on all shards i'd be surprised if we have more than 50k left, with probably around 35k or so actual players. It was "quoted" around 2009 the number of subs was around 100k and ingame pop has dropped pretty dramaticly since then, though those numbers were never solid to begin with, EA stopped officially releasing their sub count when it dipped below 100k back around 2007ish
     
  7. Ezekiel Zane

    Ezekiel Zane Grand Inquisitor
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    I'd be surprised if there's 20,000 people playing and 30,000 or so total subscriptions. Honestly, it's anyone's guess.

    Maybe when EA's yearly report comes out someone can decipher the numbers and make a more educated guess.
     
  8. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    I would put down big money that UO will still be around in 5 years. At minimum there will come a time when the game stops getting developed but is still running, and at that state the game costs practically nothing.
     
  9. Gameboy

    Gameboy Sage
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    Updates and expansions are still being done?
     
  10. Petra Fyde

    Petra Fyde Peerless Chatterbox
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    yes. Publish 74, revamp of Wrong, Jan 31st 2012, publish 75 currently in development and we just started a new story arc that completes on the 15th anniversary.

    As for 8k users. That might be the population of Atlantic shard alone.
     
  11. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    heh in theory anyway.
     
  12. Velvathos

    Velvathos Lore Keeper
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    I wish this game had 8 million subs to be honest.. It deserves it..
     
  13. Gameboy

    Gameboy Sage
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    I'd settle for 250k or something like that.
     
  14. SugarSmacks

    SugarSmacks Guest

    8000 x $12 (average price of a sub) = 96000$ a month x 12 = 1,152,000 a year

    Now figure EA being the way they are probably wont put more than 20% back into the game so thats $230400

    Divided by the average cost of a dev member i would guess about 40,000$ = 5.76 dev members ......thats pretty close actually it only gets worse when you see they then make those devs work on other games so in fact
    you are not getting 20% but actually closer to 10% of what you paid

    So they are giving you 10% of the product you paid for, but you think they are doing a "great job".

    This is called sapping the life out of a game for every dollar it is worth.
     
  15. Ezekiel Zane

    Ezekiel Zane Grand Inquisitor
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    If they dropped the subscription free back to $10 and could get the active accounts back up to just 84,000, then Ultima Online would generate more than $10 million a year for EA/Mythic.
     
  16. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    [email protected] for a programmer? You live in India? That's closer to help desk wages. Programers aside, think degree'd, skilled animation artistS that could likely work for Disney. Think stock/retirement, building maintenance, insurance, ... an endless list ...
     
  17. Wizal the Fox

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    Trying to extrapolate the total number of subscriptions by just examining US shards is a sure way to get it wrong, because a HUGE number of subscriptions come from Japan, where the Ultima franchise is extremely popular.
     
  18. Ezekiel Zane

    Ezekiel Zane Grand Inquisitor
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    I doubt there's any developer, at least not front-line ones, making only $40k per year. Probably more like $75k. Also, there's got to be at least 9 or 10 people working on UO full-time. There's what six people up front we all know well, Jeff, Messana, Bleak, Phoenix, Grimm and Kai. There must be at least that many we don't know.

    It's probably a fair guess to say that Ultima Online still has at minimum 20,000 active accounts. At $9.99/mo that means UO generates at least $2.4 million per year.
     
  19. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    They aren't doing the things that need to be done if they want it to last 5 years. A decent new website, much improved graphics, then we'll talk. Especially if they have much improved graphics.

    But there's too much happening in the next five years to be that certain. Too many new MMORPGs, plus the potential MMORPGs like one based Kingdom of Amalur which was developed by people who played and loved UO and love sandboxes. This isn't 2005 or even 2009.

    Too much of what's being done right now is just there to keep existing players around, and you can't rely on them too much. People leave all the time.
     
  20. Raptor85

    Raptor85 Certifiable
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    75k a year would be a damn good salary for any non-senior development position in the games industry, you always hear the high salaries quoted when the truth is a bit less glamorous, most positions are around 40-50k a year with only the leads in the 70-90k range. The "known" people on the team are more than likely the more senior positions and they're probably shared between projects, not just UO, the college grads hired in to do the grunt work would make far...far less than that. Software industry pay in general, not even just w/ games, is actually pretty crappy when you take into account the hours/training involved, at least until you're above around 10 years experience. With the bandwidth and support costs being as minimal as they are in UO, and the cost per month per account so high, they could hire enough programmers alone to re-write the entire client in 6 months and still turn a nice profit, but of course that would cut into their quarterly earnings and piss off the shareholders......how DARE they invest in the future...they need a smaller profit NOW!
     
  21. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I think there are quite a few more than what you mentioned, plus people like Jeff and Kai have their salaries shared between other teams (remember Jeff is the Ultima Franchise producer, not UO producer).

    Transfer tokens, expansion packs, boosters, the people who pay $12.99 a month instead of doing gametime codes (and yes there are people who pay month-to-month) could all push the revenue way up. And now EA is not having to have a third party be involved with the gametime store, so that's even more money for them.
     
  22. SugarSmacks

    SugarSmacks Guest

    A billion dollar company/corporation does not pay this, im sorry they dont, i have worked for one and know they pay "median" wages they actually pay people to check other wages around the country then pay right down the middle.
    I wouldnt mind arguing the cost of benefits as in extra cost in relation to the employee but im pretty certain i hit the wages on the head.

    9 or 10 working on UO? Are you serious? Look around man it sure isnt 9 or 10 its more like 5. If you want to say 10 then fine 10 but thats 10 people working on UO and Warhammer and whatever other game.
     
  23. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    Not sure how it breaks down, or how many games are are assigned to that studio, but at last count, i'm thinking there were over 200 people at that one studio alone, not to mention UO related still in Redwood, and then there's Intl. offices, w/o even touching on Asian. Lots of people behind the scenes that never get mentioned. Isn't there like over 40 in PR?
     
  24. SugarSmacks

    SugarSmacks Guest

    You are looking at EA as a whole and assuming the resources of the whole will be used for this game. There is truth and the unfortunate reality here. They are a billion dollar corporation, those resources are going to be used first to whatever is their
    highest income producing games. It will then be filtered to the less but still profitable games. EA is a mammoth, i remember playing their games on my commodore 64 back in 85, their game selection and accountability and ownership would probably
    astound the average individual. Now you want to assume they are going to take Ultima which is profitable but what, a million dollars a year to a billion dollar company isnt a lot.

    The fact is they have put this game in the position where they are going to drain it for what they can profit wise before they do whatever with it. Selling it off at that point will be possible but unlikely due to the possible franchise affiliates with the Ultima
    brand so its hard to say what they will do.

    To EA, Ultima is a commodity, ready to be traded or sold, and as soon as they see it to be less proftitable than the trouble or potential trouble it may cause, it will be.

    To say there are 10s of thousands of people still playing kind of surprises me. You say Japan, ive been on japaneese shards, most even luna is empty. Most players own mulitple accounts now, which makes every player loss even that much more damning.

    I guess everyone has their opinion on population, but look at Malas ....empty on most shards. The only reason Trammel and Felucca arent is because they cant drop half the houses that are supposed to.
     
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  25. Raptor85

    Raptor85 Certifiable
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    funny that you mention EA games on the C64, i have quite a few myself (w/ the old "ECA" logo that shifts colors while loading, heh). Anyways, why i find it funny, is even back then the ECA mark was starting to be known as the "mark of death" for any company that published under it, as it would essentially guaranteed a few sucessful releases at the price of essentially destroying the studio....every major studio that signed with EA has been utterly destroyed by it in the end, no losses will EVER be quite as bad as Origin systems and Westwood Studios though, almost every single game still coming out TODAY is based off gameplay mechanics pioneered by those two. (I still feel a little insulted as well with EA re-using the name origin for their ****ty online distribution system, killing origin wasn't bad enough now they gotta go and dance on it's grave....)
     
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  26. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    All they need to do to keep the game around for 5 more years is keep the existing players, and I am quite certain that there are a core of unalienable die-hards that simply wont quit till the servers shut down that could keep the game going for many years. The costs for UO have got to be really low.
     
  27. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    If they couldn't figure out how to keep the existing players when there was 250,000 players, 200,000 players, 150,000 players, 100,000 players, and even 75,000 players, what makes you think they've cracked the magic code to player retention now when they have far fewer resources and revenue than they did back in the good old days?

    I agree there is a core of hard-core players who will keep their accounts open to the end, but unless they are generous enough to take on the account payments of that group of players who are constantly leaving and returning, I doubt they are enough to keep UO alive. And given that UO development staff has only shrunk in the last three years, not grown, even though UO is supposed to be "widely profitable" according to the guy who is over BioWare, I'd say the revenue is not as much as some think it is.

    UO was profitable in 2009, it had it's biggest expansion ever in nearly 10 years, and yet EA took the opportunity to gut UO's team and get rid of some really well-liked personalities on the team using the excuse of Warhammer and some other games crashing and burning or failng to meet financial expectations. Don't think that EA holds UO in some kind of high esteem.

    EA has had opportunity after opportunity to grow UO, and they choose not to. If they had kept the Stygian Abyss team around, think about where UO could have been by now, content and client-wise.

    We shouldn't even be talking about EA, because according to the two guys who run BioWare, they make all of the decisions about UO and not EA. Makes sense - UO is barely a drop in the bucket when it comes to BioWare's financials. EA accountants are not going to notice UO when it's got Mass Effect, Star Wars, and Dragon Age running interference.
     
  28. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    UO can be sustained at lower numbers than what we currently have is what I'm saying. UO will not attract many new players. That's just how it is. It will attract some because it offers an experience no other games do, and not just in systems, but in a nostalgic presentation.

    I honestly don't think any amount of content would have gotten us a super amount of players. UO is simply not the kind of game most people want. That big awesome expansion did not grow the player base in any noticable way.

    I know you think people don't play because of content/systems problems, but I just have to disagree.
     
  29. Vlaude

    Vlaude Lore Keeper
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    Then who's decision was it to move the UO store and all accounts to Origin?
     
  30. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    That decision was made before BioWare officially became a label and officially took control of the Mythic games.

    Staffing, game direction, those are clearly controlled by BioWare according to those guys. They even laughed at the notion that EA makes decisions about UO.

    The thing that is confusing though, is that BioWare doesn't act like it. The guy who runs BioWare Mythic and reports to the "two Doctors" claims he's proud to be running BioWare Mythic. And yet, with all of the problems that all three games have had over the past year, the account migration to Origin, the websites that take forever to get a new design, etc., I don't see him talking to players. I don't see him out there trying to sell all three BioWare Mythic MMORPGs plus the MOBA.

    Think about this for a moment: Eugene Evans http://www.gdconline.com/aboutgdc/advisoryboard.html#evans , the guy who is over BioWare Mythic, came out of marketing. He was a Mythic VP of marketing and business development.

    And yet is he out there marketing the three games that his livelihood depends upon?

    Sort of - he gave an interview to PC Gamer http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/10/12/bioware-mythic-war-not-in-any-danger-from-swtor-but-not-going-f2p/ to make it clear that Warhammer was not threatened by Star Wars:
    Stop and ponder that for a moment: The guy who is in charge of all three Mythic MMORPGs came out of marketing, and yet the last thing he's really said about any of them in the past year is to state that Warhammer wasn't in danger of being canceled when Star Wars launches.
     
  31. Vlaude

    Vlaude Lore Keeper
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    Citation?

    My point is, EA keeps its fingers on the pulse on the business end of things. They probably have higher expectations than BioWare or Mythic. So game direction (which I don't think there was any confusion about) won't matter if it isn't things that keep EA from pulling the plug. Publishes, appeal to new and returning players, micro transactions, these are all things meant to keep the game going and preserve jobs. Expansions, boosters, major updates, those are things UO may never see again. So yes, EA should be included in the discussion, even concerning game development.
     
  32. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    BioWare didn't become a label until last August - if you're talking about the "two Doctors" coming out and saying they were fully in charge of UO and laughing that people thought EA was still micro-managing UO, it was in an interview from September or October of 2011. When BioWare became a label last August, BioWare Mythic and the other BioWare studios moved under the BioWare label. Previously, BioWare Mythic and the other BioWare studios reported to EA Games . Now BioWare Mythic reports to BioWare which reports to EA Labels. In other words, prior to the reorganization last August, the "BioWare" part of "BioWare Mythic" was just branding and Mythic was reporting to a non-RPG label. Last August, it actually began to mean something more and Mythic was reporting to the people who run all of the RPGs within EA.
    To be honest, your example is something that was applied to the entire company and has nothing to do with UO as an entity. Nobody said "let's migrate UO, Camelot, and Warhammer to a new accounting system and store through Origin.com. And by the way, we're going to bring along Star Wars, Battlefield, Sims, EA Sports, and everybody else."

    Although the thought of all of the other games having to migrate to a new accounting system and store because of UO, Camelot, and Warhammer is humorous :) (For the record, Star Wars beta players were pancakes about Origin a while before we found out that UO was being migrated).
    The BioWare doctors said it's their decision, said they run the show when it comes EA RPGs, and they specifically mentioned UO.

    So I place the blame on BioWare. They are even scrubbing Mythic from the Mythic MMO websites - it's gone from Camelot, Warhammer, Ultima Forever, and the Warhammer arena game websites. Mythic will probably not be there when UO.com is relaunched.

    If you want to continue to blame EA, I can't blame you. But the guys who run BioWare said it's their call and I take them at their word.

    It's just that their call so far has been no direction for any of the Mythic games.
     
  33. Vlaude

    Vlaude Lore Keeper
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    Oh, you ;)

    I'm not saying Mythic made the decision and everyone followed them. EA made the decision for everyone, including Mythic, and left them no alternative. Have you noticed the amount of complaining it's caused? But you said BioWare makes ALL the decisions, which I think is humorous :) What if BioWare decided to take everything off Origin because they feel it would satisfy customers more and help improve overall quality? Do they really get to make all the decisions about every aspect of UO? NO! And the decisions EA does make affects game development, because they keep everyone in a stranglehold.
     
  34. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    You're mixing decisions about how EA collects money for the entire company, with decisions about the design and direction of a specific game that has little impact on EA's finances. You might as well argue that EA switching it's secretaries from HP to Dell computers or EA supporting iPhones over Blackberries for its executives, or buying computer desks from Office Depot instead of Office Max keeps UO in a stranglehold or affects UO's future.

    When the guys who run BioWare say they are in charge of UO, they aren't talking about being in charge of how subscription fees are collected or what desks the UO developers use in their offices. They are talking about UO itself.

    Because BioWare is now a label, an incredibly successful label I might add, they don't have to pull a Richard Garriott and go beg the CEO for EA for $100,000 for UO. UO doesn't have to suffer because some prick running EA Sports is engaged in turf wars with other EA divisions and trying to interfere with UO to advance his own group. There are only 1-2 people between the guys who run BioWare and the EA CEO and they have some of EA's most expensive and successful games out right now.

    Given that Star Wars is EA's most expensive game ever, and the massive success of the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series, if anything, other labels/divisions within EA are probably more concerned they'll lose resources to BioWare rather than the other way around.

    Now that I think about it, It's weird to think that UO is a part of a group that other divisions/labels have to fear losing resources to.

    Star Wars losing 200,000 accounts in a single month when Guild Wars 2 or Titan comes out is going to get the attention of EA executives. Dragon Age 3 getting poor reviews is going to get the attention of EA executives. UO's graphics direction or it's new player experience or the website redesign are not going to get the attention of EA executives.

    It's all BioWare at this point as far as whether or not UO will be around five years from now. Switching from UltimaAccountRegistrationMoneyCollection.com to Origin.com is not going to decide if UO makes it to 20 years.
     
  35. Vlaude

    Vlaude Lore Keeper
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    It's good that BioWare has gotten a longer leash. Realistically though, EA would rather close BioWare down than watch it grow its own legs and become a competitor. But I still think BioWare decisions, and in turn decisions by the devs about game development all harken back to who they are making money for, because EA sets the expectations higher than they would. This is why we see things like cost cutting left and right, micro transactions, delays turning into lost causes. Even if the only attention EA gives UO is checking monthly or annual numbers, it still has its dark cloud over everything, as always.
     
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