Thread: MMORPG costs

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  1. #1

    MMORPG costs

    hello just saw a good post over at mmorpg about the cost of keeping the hardware/software of an mmo in terms of money
    so here it is

    WALL OF TEXT
    {fixed the post to be readable}
    I know that people don't work for free BUT the reason there is a monthly fee is for MAINTENANCE remember that...that is the reason they charge us,the labor cost is in the original box price,hence the gaming community exist!also i don't bash wow i like wow(wish it was a bit better but i like it)its just that this post is a good read and good to know why you actually pay a monthly fee,also a good example of this is the FPS servers on famous(for example COD)games where they have servers without asking people for monthly fees!and you might think that 15$is not much money but its money non the less and they don't have a reason to charge it!its not that they take the money,is that they scam you in a sense for me all the money that i spent o wow were put to good use and i am glad that i spent them because i enjoyed wow but the matter remains!

    The post is about Guild Wars 2 and how can arenanet can keep it without monthly sub
    (also something that i didn't knew was that anet creators were the people tha programmed the original battlenet)


    Originally posted by Shinami

    The answer to your question "How is it possible?" Comes from personal experience.

    If a developer optimizes gamecode, one can bitstream a lot of code.
    Bitstreaming means that you make a program consume more client side
    processor resources in order to turn questions the server ask the client into
    "Yes" or "No" questions. The placeholder for YES is 1 and for NO is 0 in binary.
    Bitstreaming is about asking questions, organizing the bits together....and
    sending them as a packet. YES also means (TRUE) and NO also means (FALSE).

    Suppose your connection uses 7,000 bytes per second. One bit equals eight
    bytes. So we have 56,000 bits per second.This was the definition of 56K. The
    truth is that when one used dialup (56K), it wasn't 100% 56K and it by the
    time you did reach the server, you would only have around 1,000 bytes left in the server. (8K)

    What efficient netcoding does is allow more data to be send in less packets.

    Ok, now we go into servers. As a person who modded RYL for netcoding and
    even ran my own MMORPG server for three years that had over 8000 accounts
    registered, we can have a discussion.

    The number of accounts in an MMO is irrelevent. 12 million Worlds of Warcraft
    accounts, or 5 million Guild Wars accounts means nothing to the server world
    outside of bragging rights. What matters is the total amount of players logged
    into the server at any given time. You will never have 12 million WoW players
    or 5 Million GW players logged in at the same time.

    As far as bandwtih goes, every player has a MAX CLIENT RATE. This is the
    maximum amount of bandwith a server gives to a client (one of us playing the game).
    LOTS OF CLIENT-SCAMS exist....A Good max client rate helps with framerate and ping.

    Suppose I have a 100 mbps Upload/Download Connection.Given a Max Client Rate
    of 7,000, how many players can play simultaneously? The answer is
    100,000/56 = 1785.71. In server bandwith you do not ROUND UP, since you
    will RUN OUT. The answer is always an Integer.....1785. Then there is the fact
    I need to keep the connection alive....and use some bandwith for the
    databases...Thanks to multicore computers I can use LESS computers to hold
    the game world. What it means is that the connection can support 1785 players
    before everyone gets disconnected from lack of bandwith.

    Client rate really means if you have 56K upload on your connection, I have to
    use 56K upload on my connection to give to you.If you have a Connection with
    2mbps upload, tough luck. Im limiting you to 56K but its not like dialup since its
    continuous and not 1K out of 7K. 7KB in pure text editing....is enough to write
    56,000 characters....you can write a book per second!

    RYL had five maps....Human Map 1, Human Map 2, Akkan Map 1, Akkan Map 2,
    Caernevoron (the main battle/neutral map split evenly between the two).I
    used to use one computer to run Caernevoron and another computer to run the
    other four maps....with databases accessed from a third computer. Thanks to
    Technology....I was able to actually reach a point I Could build One computer
    and run the entire server with all the maps without it lagging from processing.

    Suppose I installed a monthly fee, you know to preserve the connection
    strength of the server....and I decided to charge everyone $10/month. (Yes, im
    getting into Client-Rate Scamming which many companies do)...

    It means that since the average amount of people who play in my server would
    be around 1000...I would still collect money from all subscribed...So 8,000 x
    10 = $80,000 monthly. Due to the fact a SERVER does not need a video card,
    as its really pure processing.., One can make a well cooled server and put
    in a well cooled room....

    Client-Rate scamming is something that many companies do.
    A lot of companies will say "WE JUST UPDATED OUR SERVERS TO PROVIDE MORE ROOM FOR
    PLAYERS!!!! LOG IN AND HAVE FUN" and you log into the server and find you
    have more lag, and see more players and crowdedness....

    The truth is they DID NOT UPDATE ANYTHING...what they did was lower the
    client rate, so everyone else gets less bandwith.Everyone gets worse
    performance and higher ping due to the crowdedness and the parent company
    makes more money from SUBSCRIPTION FEES. Of course its nice to feel you
    are loved since it helps people undergo a nice placebo effect.

    It requires less than 1% of all the money collected monthly to maintain an
    MMORPG server.Most processes are automated... The first 1 million Guild
    Wars players paid full price for three games + expansion. That is $200. This
    means $200 million dollars....and that along with promotions and their in-game
    store which gives you more options without having a gameplay advantage (like
    more character slots (I have 12) and more storage panels (I have max), really
    did a lot for the game. Before the In-game store came, people had to BUY 2
    copies of Guild Wars, make 2 accounts, unlock everything on both and trade
    between accounts. It was a pain in the ass...Today one can just buy Guild Wars
    trilogy for a second account.

    The point is that thanks to technologies today...Today a Server Computer can
    hold 16 - 24 cores and requires less power to run than servers back then
    that were on one core. You can use one computer with instances of the server
    running on different cores to control different parts of the world and the Entire
    15 server Ragnarok Online world with 50,000 server population can be done
    with one of those server machines and reach near 100,000 people per server
    with no problems.

    In short....any MMORPG that takes 1 month of Fees, has enough money to
    actually keep the servers alive for 8 - 10 years....1 million subscribers who pay
    $50 for the base game and 15 for the first month is 65 million dollars. A year of
    fees..is enough to keep a server running for a lifetime. In short, MMORPGs are
    just moneymaking scams for the most part....to convince you that you SHOULD
    PAY TO PLAY and then make you FEEL GOOD that you are PART OF SOMETHING.

    Before GW 1 came out, everyone said that YOU HAVE TO PAY TO PLAY
    AN MMORPG OR IT WILL DIE. After GW1 came out, everyone said "OH GW IS NOT
    PERSISTENT.SO IT DOESNT COUNT" but Instanced Games take more
    bandwtih to actually run than non-instanced games.....so when GW II
    is released and you have a full persistent game...if it succeeds...

    The world no longer has an EXCUSE to hide behind. No longer will anyone be
    able to defend why a game needs monthly fees to survive.
    This is why I want GUILD WARS 2 to succeed.
    Last edited by antonatsis; 2011-03-25 at 12:43 AM.

  2. #2
    The Lightbringer Lenonis's Avatar
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    you really should format that so it's readable.

    From scanning the mess of a post, it looks like a lot of made up numbers, short sighted assumptions, and QQ.

    I'm sure running a MMO costs far more than you think.

  3. #3
    For people who want TL;DR

    Quote Originally Posted by antonatsis View Post
    In short....any MMORPG that takes 1 month of Fees, has enough money to actually keep the servers alive for 8 - 10 years....1 million subscribers who pay $50 for the base game and 15 for the first month is 65 million dollars. A year of fees..is enough to keep a server running for a lifetime. In short, MMORPGs are just moneymaking scams for the most part....to convince you that you SHOULD PAY TO PLAY and then make you FEEL GOOD that you are PART OF SOMETHING.
    Before GW 1 came out, everyone said that YOU HAVE TO PAY TO PLAY AN MMORPG OR IT WILL DIE. After GW1 came out, everyone said "OH GW IS NOT PERSISTENT.
    SO IT DOESNT COUNT" but Instanced Games take more bandwtih to actually run than non-instanced games.....so when GW II is released and you have a full persistent game...if it succeeds...
    The world no longer has an EXCUSE to hide behind. No longer will anyone be able to defend why a game needs monthly fees to survive.
    This is why I want GUILD WARS 2 to succeed.
    a cash cow is well established brand, business unit, product, or service, that generates a large, regular, predictable, and positive cash flow. Cash cows are often 'milked' for developing, promoting, or supporting new or struggling counterparts.

    Signs of a cash cow

    * * * Product variations
    * * * Customer segmentation
    * * * Pricing flexibility
    * * * Cost reduction
    * * * Targets specific competitor

  4. #4
    Herald of the Titans Amry's Avatar
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    Glossing over the wall 'o text, USD15 per month is cheap for me. Given the frequency of updates, support etc., I don't mind paying the monthly subscription.

    Sure, it'll be great if WoW is free, but if that comes with the necessity of pulling some weird hijinks that would complicate matters / introduce more bugs to the program / makes it insecure or open to exploits, I'd say "no thanks"

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Amry View Post
    Glossing over the wall 'o text, USD15 per month is cheap for me. Given the frequency of updates, support etc., I don't mind paying the monthly subscription.

    Sure, it'll be great if WoW is free, but if that comes with the necessity of pulling some weird hijinks that would complicate matters / introduce more bugs to the program / makes it insecure or open to exploits, I'd say "no thanks"
    You do understand that there has been some F2P mmo's that update more then WoW right?
    And if your going to throw the "Yes, but blizzard put alot of work into their patches" please dont, we all know this is a lie...
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  6. #6
    Herald of the Titans Amry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded5542 View Post
    You do understand that there has been some F2P mmo's that update more then WoW right?
    Assuming that this is true, examples? What's the quality like?

    And if your going to throw the "Yes, but blizzard put alot of work into their patches" please dont, we all know this is a lie...
    Subjective opinion is subjective.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded5542 View Post
    You do understand that there has been some F2P mmo's that update more then WoW right?
    By F2P you mean games with massive amounts of items and perks and shit available through micro-transactions, many of which are required to get your character to max level or are important features of the game that set their game apart from the rest.
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  8. #8
    Over 9000! Arrowstormen's Avatar
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    15 bucks is a small fee. in turn, Blizzard runs stuff like Blizzcon and contests for their players. but ofcourse, the bad stuff got prio over the good, emo all the way!

    MMORPG costs preeetty much to maintain, and i dont think that most of the people that play this game have ANY kind of idea what being a dev contains. i dont know either ofcourse, but that doesnt make you more right. Chris Metzen stated in an interview that most of his day was filled with meetings.

    i believe that Blizzard are running something that is hard to do, and they good at it, forums is forums, and forums QQ for a living.
    Belief can become reality!

  9. #9
    Hardware cost for the server, hardware cost for the storage space, cost for the cooling systems, cost for the generators to keep the servers live for a safe shut down in case of power outage, cost for the generators to keep the cooling system running, cost to build the cooling system, cost to install and maintain the servers, cost of software to run on the servers, cost for the back up servers to store all the information from the servers, DNS registration, network connection hardware (typically requiring fiber to be run through the server farm), and all of this is just to get the servers. The company that I work for has ~4000 users and we have just over 200 servers.

    Add in the cost for customer support, technical support, electricity costs to run the servers, cost for the building that houses the server, cost to develop the game, cost to develop the patches, cost to develop the artwork, cost to develop the quests, story, etc. Costs to enhance and develop Warden and other tools, cost to upgrade server capacities, cost to maintain bandwidth, etc. The costs for a project as large as WoW really adds up, and remember, they have servers all across the US, Europe, Oceania, and Asia.

  10. #10
    you do know... that all the support the company gives, like blizz, 24/7 support, every day of the year, including new years and x-mas and shit... paying those people costs money, and i doubt you'd have that without consistant payment to the developers... and the fee is not much, it's like... less then a pizza per month...

  11. #11
    Stood in the Fire Naus's Avatar
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    Now then no where in that massive hardly readable post did you mention staff. Last time I checked people dont work for free.
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  12. #12
    get a job, cheapskate. Fifteen bucks ain't shit.

  13. #13
    What costs to run MMORPG has little to do with what they can charge for the game.
    Lets imagine that two companies make MMORPG, and one of them has very efficient code and can utilize a lot less servers than the other. Does it mean the company with less servers will charge less money? no. They will charge the amount they can, which is likely to be the same as company with more expenses.

    The worth of any product is what others are willing to pay for it. It does not depend on how much it cost to produce it.

    If Guild Wars 2 is successful, hopefully more and more MMO's will be free to play (after game is purchased). Or maybe WoW will remove the idea of expansions, and add idea of patching to higher levels every two years (so basically you pay monthly, but don't have to buy expansions).

  14. #14
    I did not write this but I remember reading it when it came out. Here is the source to the actual article.

    http://wow.joystiq.com/2008/01/24/ho...llion-subscri/

    Written by Mike Schramm January 24th 2008

    An article on Playfuls.com (which I found via Incgamers) tried to take the news about Blizzard's ten million subscribers from earlier this week, and suss out just how much money they're making. They do what most people would do, which is multiply their $15 subscription rate per month times ten million, which would mean that Blizzard is raking in $150 million a month, or about $1.7 billion a year is gross profits.

    Except that's not right. Because while North American and European players pay about $15 a month, many Chinese and Asian subscribers don't pay monthly-- they pay hourly, at a much lower rate than what other players around the world pay. With 2.5 million and 2 million subscribers in North American and Europe respectively, Blizzard is still making $810 million a year (not to mention the cost to purchase the original game and the expansion pack, which at this point is probably negligible at this point given how much retailers like to take out) in those places. But that leaves 5.5 million players in other countries, and their payment plans aren't as rigidly defined.

    Of course, obviously these are all estimates as well, and they're gross, too-- you have to remember that Blizzard pays a huge group of people money to keep up content, customer service, promotion, and administration, as well as maintenance on what must be a huge number of servers (each realm has at least three or four servers running on it, for each continent and all the instances). And Blizzard has other income coming in as well-- licensing fees, fees from The9 (the company that actually runs WoW in China, and likely collects subscription fees there), transfer fees from players, and so on.

    Don't get me wrong-- Blizzard is still making a lot of net money on the deal, easily into the hundred millions. But it's not as easily as multiplying what you're paying by ten million, because that's just not the case.

  15. #15
    Whle that wall of text was definitely worth the read, I think a big reason blizzard charges a monthly fee is because WoW is pretty much the only thing keeping them on their feet now. Well I guess starcraft is out now too, but WoW is really paying for its self and other games at the same time.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Amry View Post
    Assuming that this is true, examples? What's the quality like?



    Subjective opinion is subjective.
    A PRIME example, would be LoTR, which is now free to play, they do both free patches, then paid patches.
    Runes of magic is okay, very asian feel to it.

    And to the post below yours, not all paid items are max level, there are a few items like XP boosts/bank boosts/ larger bags, it all depends on the MMO.

    And in regards to the blizzard not putting work into their patches, Whats the latest WoW patch giving us?
    two old instances, a few reskinned mounts.

    The closest thing to "New" would be the winged lion mount at this point.
    Also there was a rift video floating around, of a raid, where the raid got turned into deers, and had to run avoiding wolfss, now when was the last time you've seen blizzard do something new and fresh liek this?

    I mean look at the last raid of WoTLK, they went from sunwell, to lul dragon, major step down there, dont you think?
    Look at ToG 5 mans vs say the ICC5 mans, which one had more of a story?

    Dont get me wrong atleast they are adding new stuff, but really, there could be alot more effort being put in, instead of goin HEY GUYS RUN THIS INSTANCE FOR LOOT, how about give use a chain much like ICC, tell the story about the instance, why are we in there?
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  17. #17
    It seems that he completely ignored the fact that you need to pay your costumer service team, your development team, etc. The beauty of monthly fees is that it allows the company to release constant stream of patches and content patches and that it allows them to hire more people for the costumer service that help the costumers.

    The servers maintenance might not cost much, but the employees don't come cheap,considering the minimum wage in USA is 7.25 USD per hour, which means one month of subscription is equals in hiring someone for two hours, assuming that particular person works for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and 4 weeks a month (effectively 20 days), which means 1160 USD each month. So you need 77.33 subscribers to support one employee.
    Now, 7.25 an hour is abominably low and I expect any company running their MMO to pay their employees a lot more, so it is more like 100 subscribers in order to maintain 1 employee.

    He might consider it as a scam, I consider as realistic. His views are flawed since he looks at such one aspect of running MMO, whilst ignoring the others. Ofcourse it might seem like a scam if you only take the costs that are smallest and compare them to the profit margin.
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  18. #18
    For information, Blizzard infrastructure :

    For Europe :
    BladeCenter HS21 Cluster, HT Xeon quad core
    1800x Intel EM64T Xeon E5450 (Harpertown) 3000Mhz (7200 Cores 14400 cores with HT) Based on Velizy (france)

    For US :
    Same cluster, but with 2016 CPUs (8064 cores, 16128 with HT)

    Source : Top 500.org list

    Each CPU worth $900 -> Around $1,600,000 only for european server CPUs. (Not including controller cards, memory, hard drives etc...)
    Last edited by keitaro91360; 2011-03-25 at 04:16 PM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded5542 View Post
    A PRIME example, would be LoTR, which is now free to play, they do both free patches, then paid patches.
    Runes of magic is okay, very asian feel to it.
    LoTR was recently converted to F2P. And it doesn't support your "there are more F2P patches than WoW patches!" when LoTR hasn't had many patches since it went F2P and anything resembling actual content (like the Mines of Moria or Echoes of The Dead) costs money.

    And most of the patched to Runes of Magic are more along the lines of hotfix patches, which both RoM and WoW do at a similar pace.
    And to the post below yours, not all paid items are max level, there are a few items like XP boosts/bank boosts/ larger bags, it all depends on the MMO.
    Reading comprehension, much? I said that the stuff in the store was REQUIRED to reach max level. Like it's impossible to reach max level in LoTRO without buying one of the expansions or grinding an obscene amount due to the severe lack of questing content.
    I mourn the loss of a man of true vision and talent. You were my idol, Mr. Giger.
    You gave faces to my dreams and nightmares and sparked my imagination throughout my entire life. You will be missed.

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  20. #20
    The Lightbringer Lenonis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded5542 View Post
    Also there was a rift video floating around, of a raid, where the raid got turned into deers, and had to run avoiding wolfss, now when was the last time you've seen blizzard do something new and fresh liek this?
    Like the 5 man in WoTLK where the group gets turned into skeletons and has to fight the boss with a whole different set of abilities? Or in Ulduar where you have to use vehicles to go through the first area and fight the first boss.

    Or....maybe.......in Karazhan where you have the Opera event. Where you fight a wolf. And turn into little red riding hood. And have to run away and avoid the wolf?

    You seem to have a very short memory.

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