Amalur IP worth $20 million - Analyst

Wedbush's Michael Pachter estimates value of 38 Studios' gameworld, says 38 Studios unlikely to find buyer after The Old Republic "fizzled."

If troubled times at 38 Studios result in the company needing to sell off its Amalur intellectual property--which includes upcoming MMO game Project Copernicus--the company can expect to get $20 million for it, according to comments made by Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter to Joystiq.

38 Studios could cash in Amalur for $20 million, according to Pachter

"Nobody is buying MMOs after [Star Wars: The Old Republic] fizzled," he said. "I think value is low, probably $20 million or so. There is just no demand for game assets right now, as THQ proved when it tried to sell the Warhammer MMO. I think [Electronic Arts] could step in, since they are the publisher, so you might see some alternative way to get [38 Studios] some bridge financing."

In February, THQ said it was "actively looking" for a partner to help bring its Warhammer 40K MMO game to market. Those attempts proved unsuccessful, as the company a month later revealed the game had become a single-player title with an online multiplayer component. More than 100 staffers were let go as a result.

As for Star Wars: The Old Republic, just yesterday, BioWare announced restructuring plans at the developer, resulting in an unspecified round of layoffs to the team behind the sci-fi MMORPG. Earlier this month, EA announced the game's subscriber base as 1.3 million, down from 1.7 million in February.

Electronic Arts published 38 Studios subsidiary Big Huge Games' Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning in February, but the company has been silent regarding a potential future partnership for Project Copernicus.

"Nope--never been an announcement on that," EA corporate communications vice president Jeff Brown told Joystiq. "We don't have any new announcements to make regarding 38 Studios. We enjoyed working with [38 Studios founder Curt Schilling] and his team on their first game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Like game fans all over the world, we look forward to what 38 Studios creates next."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

150 comments
jmc88888
jmc88888

Don't forget that they all become big ball and chains.  We start playing them because they're 'games' to have fun.  After awhile for many (I'd guess probably a majority) they stop being fun, and become a chore.   Chores are not a game.

 

It's like you have to continue to pay that money, and play the same game, constantly, to keep up. 

 

Gotta love those games which prey upon you when you are asleep.  Can't go to sleep, otherwise you can be attacked, got to log in, in the middle of the night, or even every two hours.  Sponsored by Ambien who will be in your future after a few years of disturbed sleeping patterns. 

 

Some even set it up so you can buy 'protection' for an added fee.  Which of course then pushes some people even harder because they have to compete against those that buy the protection.

 

(Whether or not is a 24 hour gameplay style game) If you don't constantly play, one falls behind rank wise because the game still is online for 24 hours (24 hour availability is different from 24 hour gameplay), and one starts to get that feeling that all your hard work is going to waste. 

 

Of course if you don't pay, the same thing occurs.  So if you want to keep what you have built you are forced to pay and play.  Otherwise you lose all that hard work.

 

On top of this you have level caps, where it becomes a game where people want to level higher because some have been there for awhile, but other people just got there and want to take a breather.  So it becomes a game of giving people more of what they want while trying not push other people too hard.

 

All and all it's a psycho setup when you step back and think about it. It pushes people to a low level form of insanity and preys upon it (to pay back their creditors and pay out dividends to shareholders and bonuses to execs).

 

People need to learn moderation with these sorts of games, and in the absence of it, companies numbers and their asinine 'models' are inflated because they think the unsustainable is normal and sustainable.   With these high level errors, you get massive misallocation and next thing you know you get a whole bunch of people getting laid off due to 'models behaving badly', not due to the lowly workers who are doing their job.

 

These games thrive when people lose themselves in the process and ask people to live in this fantasy world forever (which none will ever truly be...the end comes someday...both IP wise and user wise...unless we are going to start having WoW accounts being willed to a younger generation...rofl). 

 

Eventually the fantasy world starts to have some of the same pitfalls of the real world.  With just about any MMO you'll see people that start groups or whatnot where they champion stopping playing the game so they can get on with their lives. 

 

Of course one can not care about rank, and just play a little here or there.  Nothing is wrong with that.  But if the vast majority become this (and slowly they are), how many MMO's are they going to buy/play or justify paying a monthly expense for?  How many MMO's would exist if most people played two hours a week and didn't want to pay a monthly fee?

 

Add that in with what everyone says about them mostly/in large part copying the gameplay of WoW and you see that we are in a situation where there are too many chiefs trying to run the same tribe working on building pyramids. 

 

It is sort of funny though, part of the whole reason to set up these games in this way is to keep them from having the time to play other games....so they pay the monthly fee.   So part of the reason for their 'success' is also a leading cause for their eventual 'failure'. 

 

Yep, and more and more companies are going to take out loans to enact this madness.  Insane.

Quezakolt
Quezakolt

Maybe am the only one who cant wait for ffxiv v.2 ! ;)

thedudeman1027
thedudeman1027

I'm sorry but ToR still has 1.3 million players, that's far from fizzling. Bioware even said they could make their money back if the only had 500,000 players per month and they have 2.5 times that, the next patch will introduce a group finder which will likely bring back or bring in a lot of players. And its only been out for 7 months so people are jumping the gun on whether it fizzled or not.

Arther-la-Blunt
Arther-la-Blunt

For some reason, all this talk about MMOs makes me want to go back to playing WoW.

Vastano
Vastano

He brings up a good point about MMOs, but for the most part, this, just like every other opinion of any analyst, is just wind.

I think TOR has kinda fuzzled, but I think the reasoning is that MMO devs are (possibly) afraid to shake things up, gameplay-wise. TOR didn't break away from the basic WoW formula. Pre-CU SWG was amazing until they went for the WoW formula. Champions also opted for the same formula - but with a slight action twist.

You end up playing similar gameplay, just with a new face.

With TESO coming up, it sounds like they're altering the existing formula...But I won't hold my breath.

Parker82
Parker82

Michael Pachter is just talking head. He doesn't base things on facts.... Wii HD anyone?

cheamo
cheamo

I don't even think it's that high since it's not even worth $60 to me.

Joshuatree25m
Joshuatree25m

I don't know who to believe anymore, the media says one thing, analysts says 20M one week and 30M another week for Reckoning, and Curt Schilling says they sold over 1.2 million copies. Wouldn't it make more sense to report from the guy who knows? I thought the point of journalism was to find the truth and report it.

deathblow3
deathblow3

wow this analyst guy is stupid amalur isn't a mmo so why compare it to starwars?

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

But hey...maybe Marvel Heroes will make me change my mind.

Differently from DC Universe Online we will be able to play with our favourite heroes instead of cloning them.

Sure counts for something. :)

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

Well, hope 38 studios survive somehow. KoA was a good game. Not outstanding but good in many ways.

 

Personally have my reservations about MMOs...somehow to me they never feel like a complete modern game. I've tried a few and none make me want to come back for more.

Can't bear monthly fees to play a barely OK, incomplete feeling game.

boyd62
boyd62

Sigh yet another MMO clone, TOR, fails to keep up with costs and dumps its staff in an effort to recoup its 100 million dollar plus investment, of a game that is essentially an average MMO within the Star wars universe.

 

the simple truth is, that MMO genre is flooded with clones, and elder scrolls is not going to do anything new or different or intriguing when it comes out. it will see the same initial sales, then crash as the consumers leave due to lack of content, gameplay, and other features that are just copy and pasted from previous games.

 

The other simple truth, is that the monthly sub fee for MMOs is dead. Outside of a couple of games which have a fanbase, the sub fee does not allow investors to recoup profits fast enough to offset the risk. The next great thing will most likely come from a smaller studio, and be something different enough to keep peoples attention. the only thing to rival that will be blizzards new game, since they have a very loyal fanbase.

sonicare
sonicare

The problem with MMO's is there seems to be a new one coming out every 4 days.  They're not bad, but honestly, the monthly fee gets annoying.  I just cant justify paying 15$ every month for the same game. 

maxwell97
maxwell97

To be fair, I don't really blame publishers for playing it safe with MMO design. There's not room for many in the market, and they require a substantial financial commitment in hardware and support to keep them running. It has to be almost a sure thing, which is why EA went with TOR - both WoW and Star Wars are proven winners, yet still the game has apparently under-performed. An important lesson to take away from this is that free markets are smarter than politicians. The government of Rhode Island invested $75 million in a company that no one else would touch, and is likely worth about one quarter of that.

DEATH775
DEATH775

They should made it like Demon Soul or Dark Soul

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Who's gonna pay $60 up front and $15 a month to mash goblins at this point?  The genre is beyond dead - companies are literally asking people money for the privelege of dead-eyed grinding and listening to 14 year-old wannabe comedians in the chat channels.  Best of luck with that.

JimB
JimB

Developers make one or two good single player RPG's for example Knights of the Old Republic and Never Winter Nights then for some reason they feel they have to make them MMO and the fizzle. I don't want to play a game that is strickly an MMO I would prefre a game that allows a mulitplayer feasture so friends you know can play the games with you.

Crossel777
Crossel777

A lot of people try to deny it but The Old Republic is essentially just a WoW clone.  It always was and thats why it will always be living in the shadow of a successful game all it's life and never to achieve a subscriber base that is comparable.  The lack of innovation in MMOs isn't the only reason though.  Part of the appeal is that millions upon millions play these game.  People don't want to split up all over the damn place.  They want to go where the millions reside.    Theres only enough room for 2-3 MMORPGs in this industry.

ItchyIsVegeta
ItchyIsVegeta

the market is simply over saturated with MMOs.  The next MMO that is a good game will succeed when they port it over to a console, yet deliver the same experience.  Notice I said good game, so DC Online and Final Fantasy 11 doesn't count.

p_k_r_
p_k_r_

As others have said, the problem with MMO's nowadays is that developers stopped trying to push the envelope. The last revolutionary in the franchise was WoW - which came out 8 years ago. Since then everybody has been playing it safe, adding small features here and there, but generally keeping the same old formula. The "niche" gaming studios have tried breaking this trend, but thanks to the overly-hyped up "AAA" MMO's that change will never be widespread. 

 

It's time for the suits to allow the devs to go back to the drawing board and re-think some key concepts of the genre, otherwise MMO's are not going to escape this rut they've been stuck in recently.

 

PS. And here's hoping Guild Wars 2 doesn't prove as big a disappointment as SWTOR was. 

shadowmage101
shadowmage101

isnt skyrim coming out as a MMO ? I think that will raise the popularity. My problem with MMO's is that you have to pay monthly, I'd much rather just pay once for the whole game and that is done.

nyran125
nyran125

theres only 1 MMO worth playing and thats WOW,its established, its got everything you need in an MMO, no reason to really play any others that offer the exact same thing..

 

i dont play games that have sub fees, EVER. im not buying into that culture. I dont understand why people are happy to pay an Internet fee each month plus a bunch of sub fees on top of your net fees. If every game goes the sub fee way, it would get too expensive to play games. So ive flagged supporting it and i wont.

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

if MMOs didn't require monthly pay, they'll probably have more subsribers

alpha_unit97
alpha_unit97

In my opinion, what puts people off MMO's is the lifeless, dreadful turn-based combat systems. I would play if it weren't for those.. 

paladinjedi
paladinjedi

MMO-s, the way they are right now, have failed. The only still standing reason (beyond some eye-candy :) ) they don't fall completely is because people make friends, chat and socialize. That is the current MMO-s's value, not the game mechanics, not the story etc.

 

I thing the best formula is games who have a strong single player campaign, with full voice acting, cinematics, intelligent story, immersive dialogues and romances etc., and offer a good multiplayer experience in the same universe.

 

While keeping the eye-candy. :)

kakotan
kakotan

I myself want to see the MMO genre fall and more games like D3 and T2 come out, we have had 13 yrs of MMOs, no one can create anything good anymore, they always try to compare it to something else, If Blizz can make the rwmah work in D3 to create revenue for it self, i see that as the future of the online gaming where the player base creates the the revenue for the company's making them

Salt_AU
Salt_AU

I could almost guarantee that Blizzards new MMO Titan will absolutely set new records for the MMO industry.  Why?  Because Blizzard understand the market, they polish their games unlike any other developer and they've had 8 years fine tuning the most successful MMO ever, 12+ if you include the development period of WoW.  Titan, when it releases, will be huge.

aqkamboh
aqkamboh

Nice info and its to much costly and stand at very good place........

Salt_AU
Salt_AU

The Old Republic fizzled not because its an MMO or belongs to the genre.  If fizzled because its a poorly designed game.  The MMO industry will be far better off when the current generation of game developers learn that the playerbase doesn't want nor does it need another World of Warcraft, it already has one.  At the moment the MMO industry is stifled by lack of originality and its hurting.  Guild Wars 2 have at least taken a step to stand on its own merit and thats nothing but a positive.  I also think that if GW2 succeeds, and I believe it will, it will generate a new lease of life into the genre.

Dustious
Dustious

 @thedudeman1027 your math is a little off 2.5x 500k = 1.3 million? The fizzling aspect is equated by the loss of 400k subscribers from launch to present (under 6 months since release)

YoBrandino
YoBrandino

They are referring to their Project Copernicus which is in MMO in the Amalur world. 

McGregor
McGregor

 @ItchyIsVegeta I agree. I think the next successful MMO will have to be on a console. Honestly, something like KoA as a multiplayer on a console would be awesome, you can quest solo, and even defeat a few bosses, but in order to get to the really good loot, you have to team up, they could even follow a "guild wars" model, where you can hire AI players to help, if you don't want to play with real people.

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

 @ItchyIsVegeta I'm not very optmistic with MMOs as well but still have some hope in Marvel Heroes. Sadly very little is known so far.

FkThisName
FkThisName

 @p_k_r_ Revolutionary, LOL, Blizzard is incapable of doing something new.  Wow, copied from other MMOs, Starcraft, same,

Diablo, same.

The last revolutionary MMO was SWG

ProjektInsanity
ProjektInsanity

 @shadowmage101 Bethesda couldn't even handle keeping a console game stable, I have serious doubts as to whether they can handle an MMO.  Beyond that, it appears like it will be another generic entry into the genre.  I could be wrong, it might somehow draw fans, but the reaction I've seen from most ES fans suggests nobody wants an MMO; instead they'd like an ES 6 with more substantial improvements (especially to combat) than Skyrim offered.

psx_warrior
psx_warrior

 @kakotan

 I really think the future of rpgs is games like Skyrim that have an open world feel to them where you can do what you want.  I've gotten sick of all the mmo stuff all the time on pc.  Would be nice to get a lot of single player stuff tailor made for pc that isn't on consoles to justify me supporting the platform.  I had to buy a ps3 and wii to get the single player experience because of all the focus on mmos on pc.  Yeah, they've got strategy, but come on.  How about something tailor made for pcs that aren't mmos or rts games.

paladinjedi
paladinjedi

 @chilly-chill I concur. They should definitely make either KOTOR 3, or KOTOR 1-2 (the 5 year period between KOTOR 1 and TSL). Just imagine: perfect cinematics, an Amalur-Jedi Academy combination combat system, rich in content&options romances...

ProjektInsanity
ProjektInsanity

 @Salt_AU I agree with your statement "when it releases, will be huge."  I'm actually not so positive that it will have the staying power WoW did.  It might, IF they're innovative enough to recognize the need for change.  Despite what the haters say, Blizzard is a fantastic developer, and their products, as you say, win me over because they're polished like none other.

 

The one problem I see is that their subsequent attempts in a genre: StarCraft 2, Diablo 3, while amazing in their own right, don't really push the bounds of innovation.  Combine that with the fact that gamers seem increasingly fickle and the market is crowded with titles, giving gamers increasingly more options to choose from.  The result I see is that even Titan, which is guaranteed to be an initial success, will wane after a year or two if there isn't something really genre-redefining about it.  I loved MMOs at one point, but I think most people are sick of the standard MMO.  Heck, I love Diablo (as a universe, much more than WoW), and I'm very doubtful that many people are going to be playing D3 10, or even 5 years from now like its predecessor.  The gaming scene has changed.

jwmakoto
jwmakoto

 @Dustious If you're going to nitpick, 2.5 x 500k = 1.25 million. So he was pretty much right on with his comment, maybe you should be the one breaking out the calculator ;)

 

Check again if you don't think every MMO loses subscribers after launch. If SWTOR is still losing subscribers at the end of the year, then perhaps everyone can point and laugh, however as it is right now, it's performing above expectations (though granted, not to what some had *hoped*)

dangermouse2k
dangermouse2k

 @FkThisName This is absolute blasphamy, Warcraft 2 defined RTS in it's age, and Warcraft 3 redefined the genre even further. Meridian 59 may have been the first 3D MMO, but World of Warcraft redefined the genre. Dungeon crawlers--hell, I believe the Diablo series all but invented the genre. So I disagree with you when you say Blizzard being "revolutionary" is laughable.  And your last sentence--after I read it I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

BuBsay
BuBsay

 @psx_warrior  @kakotan The Witcher 2 would like to have a word with you about there being no good RPG's tailor made for PC.

 

And personally I'd like to see a return to RPG's in the style of Dragon Age: Origins that were extremely open ended but clear in terms of story and very very heavily character driven rather than Skyrim, which while was massive and I still play regularly has almost no character drive and a very disjointed sense of story.

psx_warrior
psx_warrior

 @BuBsay

 Uh, yeah, you're right.  My bad.  Should have thought about that a little more before I posted it, but the rest of my comment still stands.

BuBsay
BuBsay

 @psx_warrior I don't really understand what you mean by the Xbox version holding the PC version back.

 

The PC version came out over a year ago, it only came out on Xbox a few weeks ago.

psx_warrior
psx_warrior

 @BuBsay  @kakotan

 I don't disagree with you at all.  Not a bit.  I agree whole heartedly. I only used Skyrim as an example because I haven't played Dragon Age, and Witcher 2 is only one game.  Not only that, but the 360 is probably holding the title back.