Realtime Worlds collapses

Crackdown creator enters administration following "lackluster" demand for online shooter APB; game to continue operating for foreseeable future.

Realtime Worlds' APB didn't win critics over upon its release for the PC in June, a fact exacerbated by the game's extended development time. It became clear that the game's commercial success would resemble its critical performance by the following month, when the Dundee, Scotland-based outfit announced a reorganization of its resources behind APB and downscaling development of its other projects.

APB will live to fight another day…for now.

Today, the studio's financial travails snapped sharply into focus, as Realtime Worlds announced that it had entered administration--also commonly referred to as bankruptcy. As reported by the BBC, administration firm Begbies Traynor is in the process of evaluating Realtime Worlds' current assets following the "lackluster" demand for APB. The firm noted that its intention is to sell off the company piecemeal or find a buyer to purchase the business outright.

"Our intention is to continue trading the company while we attempt to find a going concern buyer, which will safeguard the future of the business," said Begbies Traynor's Paul Dounis. "We are currently involved in a consultative process with the 200 staff employed in Dundee." A portion of the some 40 other staff working out of Realtime Worlds' Colorado office will be helping Begbies Traynor sell the business.

Founded in 2002 in part by Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings creator Dave Jones, Realtime Worlds gained notoriety in 2007 with the Xbox 360-exclusive action platformer Crackdown. Following on from APB, the studio's next effort was to be Project MyWorld, which the studio described as a mix of social gaming, social networking, and traditional gaming.

While the future of Project MyWorld remains unstated, Realtime Worlds has affirmed on its official Web site that today's developments will not materially impact APB. "APB will continue to run, receive ,updates and is completely accessible. There will be no disruption to the service," a representative of the company said.

Requests for additional comment on the matter were forwarded to the administration firm handling Realtime Worlds' case.

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Discussion

102 comments
gbrading
gbrading moderator

It's sad that they invested most of their time and energy into APB, only for it to turn effectively into CrimeCraft with cars.

stziggy
stziggy

@stakex007 Thank you for informing us on the bankruptcy laws of the UK. That's good to know. I take exception though on the refund part. A good lawyer can convince a jury that Realtime Worlds was aware the game little chance of survival. The issue then becomes fraud, and that negates any EULA. I truly believe that Realtime Worlds knew this game was garbage and had little intention on keeping the servers going. A class action suit might serve warning to the gaming industry. This is not a new scam or new to a court of law.

Shelledfade1
Shelledfade1

"APB will continue to run, receive ,updates and is completely accessible. There will be no disruption to the service" All I can say to that is, who the hell would seriously still want to play this crappy game lol? It's still pre-alpha and its been out for over a month. It's pathetic. This game is going to need several patches to become remotely playable. I'm not waiting that long.

bigstingman
bigstingman

@ wahyudil LoTRO, Guild Wars, soon to be Guild Wars 2, AION, Champions Online, Warhammer Online, Age of Conan...etc.

dlM0kn
dlM0kn

So glad I held off on this game now. They honestly thought they had a winner right out the gate with bugs and not to mention the price tag for what u get? Lower the price all around, add more modes take the time to fix any bugs and I might buy it.

djman24us
djman24us

Sounds like this studio got busted.....

Rhatik
Rhatik

well if they make a crackdown slash apb game for 360 and ps3 they'll have more then enough money with the success of making a awesome game or something like saintsrow with super powers

green_dominator
green_dominator

Why didn't Real Time Worlds after the release of Crackdown start development of a second game then and there?? Making a MMO is big business and a huge gamble so why did they think they would succeed when so many companies fail or just barely get by just like APB seems to be doing..... I'm not trying to bash RTW, I like them because they made Crackdown but still......it has to be said. I wish RTW the best, I normally wouldn't say it but hopefully they get bought or helped out MS??

Ardiendo_1
Ardiendo_1

Crackdown has been a big hit for the Xbox. I'd be surprised if MS didn't do something to ensure that at least that franchise survived.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Before Realtime Worlds dies out forever at least begin the foundation for Crackdown 3. APB bombed but hopefully Realtime worlds can pull out of Bankruptcy. One massive videogame release that ends up falling and making it's money back seems to result in death for a game developer. APB failed and took the company down with it. Before everything is lost write a script for Crackdown 3 and sell it to MS or Bungie. It is unfortunate that Realtime worlds is about to go under.

fLaMbOaStiN
fLaMbOaStiN

Then again AoC could be the next EvE.. EvE's been around for 7+ years and unlike AoC it didn't launch with a huge hype and sub base.. It's taken EvE multiple free expansions and many changes to get them where they are at now; not mention CCP (the current owner) has some awsome customer service.. EvE's now has the #2 biggest sub base if i'm not mistaken; next to WoW which i'am not even gonna mention given everyone knows its been a money maker for blizz.. So yeah theres life after launch i guess.. Anyways, theres money to be made in MMORPG's, if they are done right.. I have a feeling Bioware will not disappoint with SWTOR when its released; and it'll again prove theres money to be made in MMO's.

fLaMbOaStiN
fLaMbOaStiN

@guynamedbilly That's exactly why it failed.. another reason is the rampant use of cheats and bots in this game.. Usually MMO companies rid botters and cheaters asap to keep in good faith with the rest of its subscriber base but RTWs isnt banning known cheaters to this game so its sorta became a cheaters paradise ontop of the fact its buggy/uncompleted/shoddy fps/and poor game play. It however did not fail because it was a MMO.. MMO's can be huge moneymakers if done correctly.. The thing is a lot of companies don't realize is the release is practically everything.. You cannot release a product as unfinished as APB and suspect the subscriber base to stick around for longer then the free 30 days included; and if you do release a MMO like that you have to make sure you make the changes needed within that free 30days in hopes that maybe they will stick around.. APB hasn't done either of those and that's why theres been a mass exodus of the game. AoC release was terrible and the content just wasn't there.. The game is tottaly different now and is rather quite enjoyable, but it is still suffering because it took them over a year to get the bugs fixed and the needed content added.. Believe me with as much hype as that game had they could've delayed it another year, beta tested it more, and added that content then released it and it would've been pretty successful.

iinfinity
iinfinity

actually apb doesent suck, i bought it and really enjoy it

deathstar79
deathstar79

Well that certainly explains why they canceled their GDC Europe panel "APB's Beta Postmortem: And How We Changed Realtime Worlds Along The Way". Clearly they didn't change it properly.

Lord_of_Dark
Lord_of_Dark

Well... It's not surprising. Everyone had high hopes for APB, and it sucked. Also, the quality of their titles has diminished over the years (Crackdown being the only possible exception).

karloss01
karloss01

@ Zombiechopper Crackdown 2 was down by another group and it's sequel is also being done by a the same different group.

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

All the major publishing houses are soo horny for blizzards profits, they assume they can do it on the cheap or cut corners. blizzard sunk in alot of cash/time to develop wow, and it wasnt a polished game upon release either. They built upon a great IP which already had its lore fleshed out by video games and some of the novels And most of what blizzard has is essentially a parody to Games Workshop's Warhammer IP... it just goes to show you that you dont have to be utterly original, you just have to do it better!

zombiechopper
zombiechopper

A well, guess no Crackdown 3 then lol. Sort of a shame really as I really liked Crackdown, though 2 was dissappointing. Generally its a bad sign when a sequel is worse than the original.

Gen007
Gen007

Worst thing with them is that they have a lot of god ideas but also a ton of poor execution.

Marky360
Marky360

wow looks like realtime worlds would have been better of developing crackdown 2 then wasting time on some dumb MMO for the pc

DexCasas
DexCasas

Quite predictable, APB was one of the most expensive games ever made, i guess its the one that sucks the most when compared to the money invested, it might even beat too human on that department.

guynamedbilly
guynamedbilly

Hmm, I wonder why... I don't think this has anything to do with the MMO market because they had no competitors to this game in the MMO market. It's because of poor gameplay, bugs, and pushing a half completed game out the door that they are going under.

Bortson
Bortson

Well they decided to bet it all on themselves. Unfortunately they lost

jamyskis
jamyskis

A crying shame, but it shows how fickle the MMOG market is. The fact is that the market is highly saturated. Unlike single player titles, MMOGs are purchased to be played in the long term and MMOG players don't switch away from their investment that easily. Ask WoW players. This means that a gamer's money often goes to the same provider for long periods of time. At the same time, MMOGs require a higher level of financial investment, which makes maintaining them a financial risk. Admins, maintainers, GMs, support staff and server costs all need to be paid. With all the MMOGs floating around, it's not a good time to try and penetrate the market with a new one, especially one that has a monthly fee. No matter how good it is (or not, in the case of APB), you won't win.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

@steelmouth MMOs on PC(s) is huuuge market.. just see World Of Warcraft.. it's sold almost 13 million copy + monthly subscribers + Expansion Set.. Blizzard got around 100 million every month.. LOL.. :P and again MMOs / FPS / Strategy sucks harder on consoles.. :)

airshocker
airshocker

This is what happens when you make crappy games.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

HAHAHA, this is hilarious. Last I heard they wanted to fix the game or something, now their done? Terrible fate, I feel so sorry for them but at the same time this situation is just hilarious.

steelmouth
steelmouth

not to offend pc gamers but i dont realy thinks pc is profitable if only they gave us apb on the x360 like promised

tatu2004
tatu2004

this is sad feel sorry for David jones he is a great devloper.

tiggerboy
tiggerboy

They should have not wasted their time with APB, and instead made a Crackdown 2 that wasn't garbage. Unfortunately, this is the norm for PC MMOG's, as I can count way more failures and lackluster MMOG's than I can successful ones. To be honest, I am surprised that any game studio still tries their hand at MMOG's with such a high failure rate. Hell, even the free MMO games struggle....

simardbrad
simardbrad

The only reason this company failed is because they wasted money on a game that had no chance in hell of being good. I played the multiple betas and was never impressed. It was so restrictive on what you could do, the world is way too small, the servers are too small and it had nothing to do besides the 7 different types of missions that get repetetive fast. If this game was completely free, more people would play... but paying for this is not happening.

Rakolazagiz
Rakolazagiz

Won't say I didn't saw that one coming.

wahyudil
wahyudil

Are there any new online games that succeed outhere since the launch of WOW?

smoman5000
smoman5000

sucks to go bankrupt, gotta step up the game-making or fall behind.

TheGreyArea
TheGreyArea

This (APB) and Alpha protocol were my biggest personal let-downs this year. I had really high hopes for both games (especially APB... it would've been nice to have played an MMO that cut-through the usual constraints of "tank / healer / ranged" template with a successful platform). It's an even bigger shame to see yet another victim of a difficult industry fail. Corporation or not, it's never good to see artists fail in delivery and continuation of their concepts. I hope they go back the drawing board and reform under better games and an easier economy. shame

Ibacai
Ibacai

Don't believe this won't affect APB. I give the game 6 months to a year, legal stuff getting handled, before it's shutdown.

NoDzombie
NoDzombie

being Scottish, its sad to see a local studio closing down, but i have to say APB is a terrible game, and this is what happens if you make terrible games.....

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

My application for a job was rejected by these guys 2 years ago. Oh well......

Adema83
Adema83

No surprise there, APB was a good concept with poor execution..

Csonic6
Csonic6

the only real good thing in APB is the custization, the other features like car controll and even shooting was lacking at best

Mr_Noddy
Mr_Noddy

Being a Dundonian this sucks not just for the gaming industry (of which my flatmate is part of) but also for the city. The games industry was seen as the next big thing in Dundee. So many of the games companies in Dundee have laid off huge numbers of people in the past few weeks it's a bit of a grim time. :( Saying that if you produce games that aren't very good this is what happens.

Kleeyook
Kleeyook

As expected from MMO from EA. The game is incomplete itself and EA is quite notorious for rushing the development.

Thunderstarter
Thunderstarter

@Vambran: Yeah, they would've made some money off that...OH, wait *looks at Crackdown* >.>

Chiyou
Chiyou

I'm not suprised, that new game they were showing off looked like complete crap.... hopefully the employees will find somewhere better to work