The first time I heard of 38 Studios was during my first multi-boxing experiment in World of Warcraft. During that time of my WOW career, 38 Studios acquired one of my all-time favorite add-ons, Azeroth Advisor. If you never used it, you missed something I thought was very special.
Like many gamers, I was pulling for Curt Schilling and his company. What gaming enthusiast hasn’t dreamt of developing their own game some day? I sure as hell have daydreamed about it. Personally, I think that’s one of the reasons MineCraft is such a huge hit. The sandbox environment is ripe territory for would be game designers to build mini games to share with others.
Politics and drama about what did or did happen aside, it’s a tragedy all the way around. People are out of jobs, some after having relocated to work for 38 Studios. And someone’s dream has died a very public death, one that will be dragged out in the media for years to come. It will serve as a point of reference for what not to do and bear the brunt of tasteless jokes.
The amount of money invested seems staggering. We know from indie game successes that it is possible to develop a game for much less. I’m certainly the type of player that appreciates all the bells and whistles but for goodness sake, this scenario seems to have been a slice of Little Caution topped off with Pie in the Sky frosting. Note to self that if I ever have millions to risk, it would be safer to do a Dollywood version of my Steampunk idea and NOT the MMO version. *smile*
I was impressed by the number of sales reported for Reckoning (1.3M). My household contributed 2 to the number. I wasn’t very interested in playing the RPG. I considered it paying it forward to get the MMO out the door. To now read that they needed 3M in sales to break even is mindboggling. I can only name a couple of IPs I’d expect to have a prayer at that number and an unknown IP isn’t going to be among them.
38 Studios’ sudden demise, so close in proximity to the underwhelming performance of SWTOR and the resultant layoffs, should serve as a warning. World of Warcraft is an aberration, one that is not likely to be repeated in the MMO space for a long time to come, if ever. No studio should be banking on millions of subscribers to break even. Hell - has any subscription MMO of recent history reached 3 million within the first month after launch, let alone retain that many? Just seems like these budgets are banking on obtaining upwards of 2 million subscriber mark and were financially structured that way but are failing hard.
Sad news all the way ‘round. I was pulling for this studio and their game.