Author Topic: Blog vs anonymous source  (Read 14759 times)

Rae

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Blog vs anonymous source
« on: March 19, 2013, 06:47:43 PM »
http://unsubject.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/city-of-heroes-villains-putting-claims-to-the-test/

I can't get this to open on my phone,  but this dropped into my inbox today.  It's a response to the anonymous source who spoke out about CoH being in profit.
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JaguarX

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 07:30:39 PM »
good unbiased by the numbers and stuff that can be verified information. Exactly what I was looking for so I can see clearly what might had actually happened and or why.

Segev

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2013, 07:54:06 PM »
Definitely a bit sobering, but paints a well-structured picture of the situation. Still, there's hope in it, as well. The big take-away is the article's conclusion that where CoH/V was failing was in bringing in new blood. It makes an interesting claim about numbers and advertising around Going Rogue, but I have to admit, GR came out during the span of time I'd fallen away, myself, and I never heard of it until I came back, so I question the "advertising blitz."

I'm not saying the article is bunk; it's got some very good, if not heartening, points. But I think, speaking at least for the Phoenix Project, we can learn from what is said there and make sure we focus on building as well as maintaining the community, and perhaps resolve the population-trend problem that CoH/V seemed to be facing. Still, it is sobering but healthy to examine the situation that CoH/V was in, and make sure we can avoid those pitfalls. Our newer technology will likely help, but in the end, it's going to have to be about the community constantly working to grow. We will be behind the effort, but it's going to have to be something our players, our audience, our fans, you, all of us work to do as this goes forward.

Because, we are heroes, and that is what we do.

Illusionss

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2013, 08:53:44 PM »
The takeaway message: NOT ADVERTISING YOUR GAME IS STUPID.

Had CoX gotten the advertising revenue it needed AND DESERVED, we might not be in the abysmal situation we're in now. "Advertising blitz," my posterior.

Although peeks at Plan Z's progress give me hope! Would it NOT BE ironic if we ended up with a better, thriving game in the long run, because NCS declined to give CoX any media coverage. Hah, that would be delicious.

TonyV

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2013, 08:57:44 PM »

JaguarX

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2013, 09:18:18 PM »
...But laced with a lot of personal opinions.  For example, the fact that he divided claims up into "Verifiable," "Unbelievable," and "Unverifiable" should be a clue that he's not just presenting information, but forming opinions on it.

I would take issue with several of his claims.  For example:

First of all, he's filed this under "Unbelievable."  Really?  Not unverifiable?  He has absolutely no idea what the operating costs were, low, high, or otherwise.  He guesstimates an average of US$50k and points out that the average salary "in the gaming industry" was $80k.  What he completely neglects is that not everyone at the studio was "in the gaming industry," and not all salaries in the industry add up to that average of $80k.  There were also marketing people, accountants, administrative assistants, HR people, community relations people, possibly a janitor, maybe even some part-time or contract people that were part of that 80-person staff.  Plus, I hate to say this, but people like story writers, artists, and less techie people are notoriously underpaid in the industry; I assure you that they weren't making $80k or even $50k.

This also neglects the fact that of those 80 people, probably a small minority of them, I'd guess 30 or 35 of them, were actively working on City of Heroes, with maybe another 5 to 10 headcount that could be thrown in as shared resources.  Half the studio was working on the new project.  So let's take a more reasonable average, say $40k per person average, times 40 people, and that comes up to $1.6 million total.  Even if you throw in an extra 42% for benefits, that comes up to around $2.3 million total.  Even using his figure of $10.4 million in revenue and using, I dunno, another $2 million as the operations budget for the game, City of Heroes would be pulling in around $6.1 million in profit, a nice little sum.

He also mentions:

WHAT marketing push?  The only ads I saw were on the City of Heroes web site itself.  Were there any print ads?  Was there some huge Internet marketing campaign I missed?  My local Gamestop didn't carry any boxed copies of Going Rogue, and it was supposed to be one of the pre-launch goodie partners.  I've heard from various people who worked for Paragon Studios that they were provided virtually no marketing budget, and what little they got was fought for tooth and nail.  The notion that there was a "sizable" marketing push around Going Rogue and/or Freedom is laughable.

Also, he presents a graph showing the 2012 revenue of the game.  There are two huge glaring problems with that graph.  First, while he notes that earnings reporting was discontinued in Q3 2012, the graph doesn't visually really discern that.  That short, stubby little $5 million bar only represents half a year (or three quarters, if he meant that it was discontinued after Q3; he's a bit unclear on that), whereas all of the other bars represent a full year.  Second, he completely ignores one of the main points of contention between Paragon Studios indirectly and most of the Save CoH leadership, which is that NCsoft was cooking the books, shuffling numbers around, to make CoH look more unprofitable than it actually was.  Not necessarily illegally, mind you; they may have been doing things like billing costs shared among all of their studios and/or games disproportionately against CoH's bottom line in order to make other games look better on the bottom line.  Or maybe they were doing something illegal, I'm not sure.

What I do know is that I have heard the same thing from multiple sources that MMORPG.com reported, which is that people who were in the financial know at Paragon Studios have reported that CoH was more profitable following the release of CoH: Freedom than before, and the game was making a lot of money for NCsoft.  Without access to the actually book and financial data, it boils down to a he-said/she-said scenario.  Do you believe the former members of Paragon Studios, or do you believe NCsoft?  Personally, I believe the former members of Paragon Studios.  The people I've talked to have no incentive to lie at this point, most of them have new jobs.  There was no reason for whoever MMORPG.com talked to to talk to MMORPG.com and tell them what they said; in fact, under the NDA and/or severance package they were under, they were likely risking financial loss by doing so.  NCsoft, on the other hand, has a direct financial and public relations interest in making everyone believe that they are operating in a fiscally responsible way even if they aren't.  So who do you believe?

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Unsub or think that he's out to destroy anyone's reputation or anything.  I just think that he's like the rest of us: He has access to a very small amount of data, data that at least some people (myself included) believes is suspect, and is trying to suss out the truth.  He raises some valid points, makes some invalid points, and more than anything else, proceeds upon assumptions that may or may not be true without recognizing those assumptions.
I'm talking about the charts and stuff. The commentary of course it's biased and didn't pay attention to it. I don't think someone could write an unbias no conflict of interest article or written works if the prize was 200 million dollars. But personally at this point I only belive charts and stuff that can actually be verified and not hearsay. Maybe the game was profitable after f2p in greater amount maybe it wasn't. Haven't seen hard fact or chart for or nay either side yet and thus just speculation. Even the definition of profitable have dozens of meaning within same organization
Just came from meeting about whether or not a move actuslly saved money or not, equipment purchase. Ask one guy of organization they will say hell yeah ask another they will say its a waste.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 09:25:43 PM by JaguarX »

TonyV

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 09:31:00 PM »
I'm talking about the charts and stuff...But personally at this point I only belive charts and stuff that can actually be verified and not hearsay.

This is what I'm talking about too, and was addressed in my post above.  What do you mean, "can actually be verified"?  By looking at the NCsoft investor relations reports composed by NCsoft, released by NCsoft, and disseminated by NCsoft?  That has been a major point of contention, the claim that these reports do not accurately represent the state of City of Heroes and/or Paragon Studios.

JaguarX

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 10:00:45 PM »
This is what I'm talking about too, and was addressed in my post above.  What do you mean, "can actually be verified"?  By looking at the NCsoft investor relations reports composed by NCsoft, released by NCsoft, and disseminated by NCsoft?  That has been a major point of contention, the claim that these reports do not accurately represent the state of City of Heroes and/or Paragon Studios.
Yeah I heard. I have a feelung there will never be a straight answer on the finance of cox. Thud I'll just go by what was taken as fact without question prior to the closing incident. After that just looks like hearsay. On one hand the call of contention seems too coincidence with closing thus when there wasn't any prior. If they van show proof of contention maybe so but in that regards only have the finance people if ncsoft. Wish an actual third party would, professional finance preferred unaffected by the game, and not newpaper or magazine or media would take a look and see. I have a feeling that something isn't right but without solid evifence its just a feeling.

Ironwolf

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 10:25:42 PM »
This article hits all the myths and some facts.

The other side of the low point in 2011/2012 was the NCSoft had to buy out some folks and also run the servers for 3 months for free. Added to that is severance and shutdown costs.

You really need to look at one question: What was the advertising budget?

Since Black Pebble (I think it was) said he was a one man show and didn't have enough budget to even have a booth at a game convention.............the budget was nothing - under $100k.

Can't keep a multi-million dollar product afloat on a 1% advertising budget.

JaguarX

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2013, 11:48:43 PM »


You really need to look at one question: What was the advertising budget?



Now that is the question that have my number 1 attention out of all questions dealing with this.

Golden Ace

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 12:11:02 AM »
The takeaway message: NOT ADVERTISING YOUR GAME IS STUPID.

Had CoX gotten the advertising revenue it needed AND DESERVED, we might not be in the abysmal situation we're in now. "Advertising blitz," my posterior.

Although peeks at Plan Z's progress give me hope! Would it NOT BE ironic if we ended up with a better, thriving game in the long run, because NCS declined to give CoX any media coverage. Hah, that would be delicious.

I can't recall ever seeing the game advertized.   I was always curious about that.

JaguarX

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 12:17:43 AM »
I can't recall ever seeing the game advertized.   I was always curious about that.
I think even with a quarter of advertising that normal games get it would of been a monster or at least had a fighting chance of being one.

Hell, I never heard of the game I just happen to come across it in a store and thought it looked neat and found it was good shared it with a friend. So out of my purchase it turned to two. Now if it was advertised more eyes. But that is just me. Just that so many serious gamers that I know never even heard of COX. Some heard about it after the closing and some of them said they would have definately tried it out if they knew it existed.

Hopefully Plan Z can get some advertising, at least in the gamer mag website. That cant be too expensive and maybe a general spot on youtube or tv or something in the far term.

Illusionss

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 02:06:02 AM »
I can't recall ever seeing the game advertized.   I was always curious about that.

I saw a blurb for it once. It was when CoV was new, and it was about a half-page in Wizard magazine. IIRC it even had a quote from Mercedes in there, something about how she enjoyed being a villain and it was great stress-relief to run around the Isles doing evil. [truth!] To go along with the text, they had a picture of an Arachnos soldier, think it was a Wolf Spider. At the time I thought that was Lord Recluse and I was like, "cool." I thought the armor was beautiful. It wasn't too long after that I bought CoV. I have always regretted not having saved that page as a keepsake.

So I get in the game and I actually SEE Recluse and I was like, "Oh my."

Also seen in Wizard, a professional concept-art piece of a group of Carnival of Shadows. It was beautiful, printed very small but beautiful. I have never seen it one time anywheres else, and I regret not having saved that, too. Damn it.

Never seen so much of a mention anywheres else other than the odd flash of CoH stuff on "Big Bang Theory."

I call that "setting something up to fail." I don't think NCSoft ever wanted that game to succeed, I think they were surprised it did as well as it did. You don't totally neglect something that you have a big stake in & want to see succeed.

JaguarX

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2013, 03:41:05 AM »


I call that "setting something up to fail." I don't think NCSoft ever wanted that game to succeed, I think they were surprised it did as well as it did. You don't totally neglect something that you have a big stake in & want to see succeed.

Sounds about right.

Classic text book self-fulfilling the stereotype of there is no market for super hero mmos and people only want to play fantasy mmos. But I think COX did better than they expected.

Two games came out around that 2004 time period. One went on to be a great game a hidden gem the other a game where you cant walk into a game store  without seeing a poster for it, or at least in 2005, commericals abound, and cultural reference in any media that even mentions MMORPG and thus became a powerhouse. Same time period same opportunity, one had good backing and sense the other..."Uhhh they expected a product to be big when no one knows of it existance?" It was a miracle that COX got as large as it did. A great feat actually

dwturducken

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 05:01:01 AM »
The biggest factor coloring my opinion of this, or any other, piece about, well, really anything is the source. I in no way hold a blog post to the same journalistic standards that I would an article on a trade news website. Let's face it: any @$$hat with meager word processing skills and an internet connection can throw a blog out there.

This person has done some leg work. I'm perfectly willing to acknowledge that. The presentation is even entertaining. Is it correct? I don't care, at this point. I'm far from giving up hope, but, until the next CtA, I'm keeping one eye here and the other eye on the happenings and goings on over at Plan Z. Quite frankly, with each passing month (and we're coming up on the end of four), Plan Z is getting better and better odds.

I appreciate Rae pointing this out. (I'm not sure why it didn't show up in my Google News bot, but I may not have the settings right for blogs.) After almost four months, I'm just glad someone outside the Titan Network forums cares enough one way or the other to put something like this together, unsolicited.
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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2013, 05:07:50 AM »
As for salaries Tony, you may want to check this out, a salary calculator that will show you what your equivalent salary needs to be in another city.

For example, an equivalent salary in San Jose, CA if you made $25K in Austin, TX is $40.5K.  $4 million does seem a tad low.  Not outrageously so, just a tad.

I would say that article was a pretty fair assessment of the various rumors.
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Blondeshell

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2013, 04:28:18 PM »
There were full-page ads for Going Rogue put in comic books at the time, (I saw one in a back-issue copy of Fringe that I just picked up), and the Complete Collection was available in my Walmart store's shelves. I don't remember seeing much else, though.

srmalloy

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2013, 05:05:04 PM »
I can't recall ever seeing the game advertized.   I was always curious about that.

I remember seeing two-page splash advertisements in comics back in 2004, and I believe I saw a few pushing CoV right around its release, but the advertising choked off hard pretty quickly within a couple months of CoV's release and never came back.

NecrotechMaster

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2013, 05:26:43 PM »
i agree that the main problem was the severe lack of advertising

the only form of "advertising" that coh had was word of mouth from us players to get other poeple to try it but that was about it

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Re: Blog vs anonymous source
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2013, 05:01:35 AM »
I think even with a quarter of advertising that normal games get it would of been a monster or at least had a fighting chance of being one.

Oh hell yes, it would've. 

Just a short in-theater ad, or tv ad or heck, even a bus-stop or magazine ad during the big Super Hero Movie Explosion would've helped heaps.  It's pretty easy to see how out of touch and/or neglectful NCsoft is/was when you realize the magnitude of the opportunity that they missed.  Especially since CoX was casual- and noob-friendly!