Not That The Timing Is Meaningful Or Anything

Sanya Weathers on MMOs and the cult of celebrity.

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19 Responses to Not That The Timing Is Meaningful Or Anything

  1. Hatch says:

    To be fair I saw a lot of statements made by MJ that never came to fruition. Not that I was posting hate for the guy, or that I wished him ill, but I did cancel my Warhammer subs based on it’s failure to meet my expectations. Expectations he helped set up when speaking about Warhammer.

  2. Gx1080 says:

    Theres a point in there. After all, WAR didnt failed only because of Mark and he wasnt the only one that put a lot of hype in that game *cough*Paul Barnett*cough*

  3. geldonyetich says:

    Usually you have to wait until you’re a famous MMO developer to generate irrational stigma. I’ve done it just by leaving copious artifacts of my over-rationalization about haphazardly. I’m ahead of the game.

    (That’s subtle irony humor, folks, not an arrogant declaration of my awesomeness.)

    Anyway, another fun article from Sanya. Granted, she apparently doesn’t have a very high opinion of me, considering she referred to me as “The Moron.”

  4. Nerd Rage says:

    Not that the timing of WAR’s release was meaningful or anything either. When it launched it was the #3 game sold by Amazon that week. #1 and #2, Wrath of the Lich King pre-orders, and the collector’s edition thereof. When the collector’s edition pre-order of your biggest competitor is outselling your game, you are going to have problems regardless of how many of your promises you deliver.

    (Not that I’m defending WAR, just noting that even in a best-case scenario with all promises fully realized, it was going to struggle.)

  5. geldonyetich says:

    Now that I’ve cudgeled my caffeine vibrating brain cells into reading the rest of the article, I have to say that I found this to be an interesting:

    The MMO industry is very, very small. Once you are in, and once you’ve gotten past the entry level part of your career, you know everyone else. Literally.

    Is Sanya living in the past? She’s posting on MMORPG.com, a site that lists a ton of MMORPGS, and she says “the MMO industry is very, very small” and she met everybody important already.

    Seems more like a convenient belief structure to make life a bit more bearable, when the hard truth is that the MMORPG industry is huge now.

    * To the point where they’re largely stomping on each other’s toes to find a niche of MMORPG players who aren’t so bored of all the clones that they’ll immediately move on to the next game inside of a month.

    * To the point where even Sony Online Entertainment is pushing a Free To Play agenda because they know that $50 + $15/mo subscription fees are so 1990s.

    * To the point where the very article Sonya has wrote has been pierced in several places by Free2Play game Ads.

    But then, enigmatically, Sanya states the problem:

    We lack… perspective. The ”veterans” are in their late thirties, and our “wizened ancients” are around the half century mark.

    And that’s precisely it. A lot of us are sitting back there with our brains fossilized thinking a few 1990s niche titles, leading up through clones and into World of Warcraft, are the entirety of the MMORPG world. Yet, they barely scratch the surface of just how many MMORPGs are out there. We lack… perspective, indeed.

    We turn our noses up at Free2Play games because we don’t want to realize just where things are now: a grossly over saturated MMORPG industry to the point wher it’s really not a big deal to make an MMORPG anymore.

    Anyway, her eventual point is good:

    Let’s not cry for multimillionaires who fall from grace. […] Old game people don’t retire, anyway, they just recharge and make new games. […] One person doesn’t make an MMO. Two hundred people make an MMO.

    She probably should have just said that up front rather than padding things out with things to pick apart.

    (Alright, that’s enough spam from me. I’ll keep off this comment thread for a couple days and let things peculate. As least as long as I’m not being called out – it doesn’t take a lot of thinking to realize that prodding someone over-caffeinated into borderline OCD territory is likely to produce a response.)

  6. Gx1080 says:

    “The MMO industry its small”. Lets disect that for a moment. Excluding Korea and Europe (big, massive chunks of the industry), the MMO industry in the US its small, because companys come and go, but the guys that have a curriculum wide enough to be trusted with a presupuest of 7-8 numbers and their sidekicks, i mean, co-workers arent that abundant.

    Basically, ignoring Europe (the land of EVE Online, soon to be the land of PlanetSide, etc and its huge) and Korea (sorry, but we are going to make a WoW clone cheaper than you and Free to Play) its just a mistake.

    But saying that “$50 + $15/mo subscription fees are so 1990s” its a miss. Free to play games are important and are a part of the industry, but the “big guys” arent going anywere because: a)They are the biggest (biggest world, high grapthics, etc) and b)They produce more money than the Free to Play games and c)Your statement goes next to “forced grouping its the answer”.

  7. Jeff says:

    Well written and insightful. I’ve always liked Sanya’s stuff. I can’t wait for the day when she’s free to speak her mind on what happened.

  8. Gx1080 says:

    Oh did i said PlanetSide? I meant EarthRise, sorry about that.

  9. Jeff says:

    geldonyetich :Now that I’ve cudgeled my caffeine vibrating brain cells into reading the rest of the article, I have to say that I found this to be an interesting:

    The MMO industry is very, very small. Once you are in, and once you’ve gotten past the entry level part of your career, you know everyone else. Literally.

    Is Sanya living in the past? She’s posting on MMORPG.com, a site that lists a ton of MMORPGS, and she says “the MMO industry is very, very small” and she met everybody important already.
    Seems more like a convenient belief structure to make life a bit more bearable, when the hard truth is that the MMORPG industry is huge now.
    * To the point where they’re largely stomping on each other’s toes to find a niche of MMORPG players who aren’t so bored of all the clones that they’ll immediately move on to the next game inside of a month.
    * To the point where even Sony Online Entertainment is pushing a Free To Play agenda because they know that $50 + $15/mo subscription fees are so 1990s.
    * To the point where the very article Sonya has wrote has been pierced in several places by Free2Play game Ads.
    But then, enigmatically, Sanya states the problem:

    We lack… perspective. The ”veterans” are in their late thirties, and our “wizened ancients” are around the half century mark.

    And that’s precisely it. A lot of us are sitting back there with our brains fossilized thinking a few 1990s niche titles, leading up through clones and into World of Warcraft, are the entirety of the MMORPG world. Yet, they barely scratch the surface of just how many MMORPGs are out there. We lack… perspective, indeed.
    We turn our noses up at Free2Play games because we don’t want to realize just where things are now: a grossly over saturated MMORPG industry to the point wher it’s really not a big deal to make an MMORPG anymore.
    Anyway, her eventual point is good:

    Let’s not cry for multimillionaires who fall from grace. […] Old game people don’t retire, anyway, they just recharge and make new games. […] One person doesn’t make an MMO. Two hundred people make an MMO.

    She probably should have just said that up front rather than padding things out with things to pick apart.
    (Alright, that’s enough spam from me. I’ll keep off this comment thread for a couple days and let things peculate. As least as long as I’m not being called out – it doesn’t take a lot of thinking to realize that prodding someone over-caffeinated into borderline OCD territory is likely to produce a response.)

    Yeah there are a ton of MMO’s out there. Most probably don’t seserve the first M.

    I think she is referring to the more established MMO world.

    SOE, Turbine, EA/Origin RIP/Mythyc RIP/Bioware, NCSoft. You can add funcom. I’ve been up all night I may be missing a few. The ones that attend the big conventions.

  10. Gx1080 says:

    So you are saying that Failcom counts but any Free to Play company doesnt? lol.

  11. currency says:

    And as Murphy Goode so eloquently says, we take our wine seriously. Ourselves not so much…Life is REALLY short guys…

  12. Jeremy Preacher says:

    It’s probably accurate to say that for the purposes of that article, Sanya was only referring to US-based companies. It’s not that I don’t know people elsewhere, but the folk I see at cons are generally at least Stateside.

  13. geldonyetich, Gx1080: she’s talking about the number of people out there working on MMOs, and their degree of separation from each other… not budgets, profits, number of games, any of that.

    If a person with a couple of years’ experience working on MMOGs is connected by a single degree of separation… that’s a small industry. That really is pretty much the situation; if I am looking up any random MMOG developer on LinkedIn, chances are excellent that they are a 1st- or 2nd-degree contact. Someone very new, or sequestered (like, say, a majority of folks at Blizzard), might be a 3rd degree contact.

    Whether it’s actually very small or not, it certainly FEELS small: how many strangers you meet, how well everyone knows you, etc. living in a small town, as opposed to living in Manhattan.

  14. Stabs says:

    I find myself somewhat sceptical that internal office politics played as much of a role here as Sanya implies. Brad Mcquaid was responsible for a game that launched very very badly. Mark Jacobs ran a MMO that massively failed to live up to the promises he made in public.

    If a sports team gets relegated and the manager gets sacked afterwards it is not internal backbiting. It’s because he failed to do the job.

    I can see how if you’re in the industry it seems like they fell because of people putting the knife in but in most of these cases anyone who promised what they promised and delivered what they actually delivered would lose their job. Possibly some internal backstab was the pebble that set off the avalanche but tbh the mountain was about to come down regardless.

  15. Blake says:

    Stabs :
    If a sports team gets relegated and the manager gets sacked afterwards it is not internal backbiting. It’s because he failed to do the job.

    This. Jacobs and McQuaid, your two examples, both were fired (left for better opportunities) because they utterly failed. They promised the world. Arrogantly so, and both flamed down to earth.

    You do not get to keep your job, or your status, when you run something as huge as they did into the ground. They didn’t even come close to delivering what the promised and thus have paid the price.

    Personally I hope that Barnett is shown the door right behind Jacobs, as his over-the-top attitude was just as bad (still is). WAR can recover from the horrible launch it had, but not if the same team leads it.

  16. geldonyetich says:

    GX1080:
    But saying that “$50 + $15/mo subscription fees are so 1990s” its a miss. Free to play games are important and are a part of the industry, but the “big guys” arent going anywere because: a)They are the biggest (biggest world, high grapthics, etc) and b)They produce more money than the Free to Play games and c)Your statement goes next to “forced grouping its the answer”.

    We’ll see – the way I look at it, it has more to do with supply and demand. There so many games on the Internet now versus when they first came about that it’s rather inevitable the price should have dropped.

    When the price point of a solid WoW clone is no box price, $0/mo + optional micro payments, the people left to buy your game at full price are mostly those who haven’t heard of for cheaper alternatives.

    I’d like to say that the reasons why those games are so cheap is because they suck, but I’ve played a few that are actually about as high quality as even a more expensive endeavor.

  17. Sanya says:

    @ Geld

    1. Hahahahaha. Totally forgot that was you.
    2. At the time, you were suggesting that I should continue to rant and bitch and moan for free instead of taking an interesting and paying job in my hometown working with people of whom I’d grown fond – a job where I would put my money where my mouth was, and attempt to prove that a CM could give people factual information.
    3. There is no three.

  18. Bonedead says:

    Wrong, 3 is always Profit.

  19. geldonyetich says:

    @Sanya
    I don’t think I was specifically referring to you or customer service at the time, but rather I was on my usual, “I wish people would make games that were fun instead of merely profitable” bender. I just had chosen a bad context at the time. ;P

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