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Realistic Finances for a game like CoT?

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jtpaull
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Realistic Finances for a game like CoT?

I am a financial analyst and my curiosity drove this quick excel analysis of how much a game like this might realistically make. Since I am not associated with any MMO, I don't have anything close to "hard" numbers. Just what my thoughts/opinions are. If anyone has a better idea...I'm all ears.
Inputs:
-estimated 5% lifetime retention of all new players. I realize some will last 3/6/9/12 months or years, I used this as an average (hopefully its conservative)
-$45 upfront cost, includes 3 months of free VIP membership, $15 per month sub cost
-I did not use the Kickstarter donators in the upfront cost of the game, but I did add them to the monthly sub numbers at the 5% subscription retention.
-estimated release in 1/1/2019 with 4,000 new players in the first 3 months, 2k in Jan and 1k for Feb and Mar, (so no sub cost at all during that time because of the 3 free months of VIP with purchase) and these are BESIDES those who donated to the kick-starter and second chance that will get the game for free. 500 new players each month for the remainder of the year, then 250 a month starting 2020 and after that forever. I hope those numbers are much higher...again, I was trying to be conservative.
-I estimated only 30% of FTP players buying from the cash shop, averaging $1/month each year forever
-This doesn't have the income from the Kickstarter or any costs/expenses as that I have no idea of.
-this takes into account when players join, so 30% of players buying the game in june that don’t sub after the initial 3 free VIP months would add 6$ to that years cash crop.
So, given all of that information...I really hope I am being super conservative. I'm not part of the MWM team and have 0 idea what their projections are or what the industry average is for games like this. This is 100% curiosity so if you have any different suggestions I would love to plug them in just to see.

I would have added more detail below but formatting it before saving doesn't keep that format, it scrunches everything together.

Year, Total, # of subs, # of FTP, Total Players
2019, $509,828, 551, 7949, 8500,
2020, $305,670, 738, 10949, 11688,
2021, $341,141, 888, 13949, 14838,
2022, $378,401, 1038, 16949, 17988,
2023, $415,661, 1188, 19949, 21138,
2024, $452,921, 1338, 22949, 24288,
2025, $490,181, 1488, 25949, 27438,
2026, $527,441, 1638, 28949, 30588,
2027, $564,701, 1788, 31949, 33738,
2028, $601,961, 1938, 34949, 36888,
2029, $639,221, 2088, 37949, 40038,

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

Grimfox
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I have a few personal

I have a few personal opinions to modify your results.

I think there will be more initial buyers. I'd guess about 15000.

I expect there to be a roll off from that point.

For the first year it's possible that there will be lots of new users but 500 a month seems high to me.

New users per month after that I would expect to be between 50-100 a month.

average retention being between 15-25k subbers being a small percentage of that 2-5k.

I'm probably more pessimistic on results. It will interesting to see what happens.

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Terwyn
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Try those numbers again with

Try those numbers again with a 95% retention rate, and you'll probably have a more accurate result. :)

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Tannim222
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Also, if you want a decent

Also, if you want a decent ballpark of what is needed for continual development, the industry rule of thumb is 10k per month per person. Most MMO dev teams range between 300-600. This includes all areas including customer service teams.

Now let is say that we manage to maintain a high production standard with high efficiency and we cull the personel down to 200 across all areas. We also cut the bult of brick-and-mortar costs by not having a primary office for higher disciplines. Still some costs will be required to manage a virtual office, reduce it to 8k per month, per person.

1.6m per month ends up a decent target number for a profitable indie mmo game service.
If you break that down to $15 monthly purchases on average you need an estimated 107k monthly unit payments.

Please keep in mind I’m not on the business team and as such these numbers do not reflect any projections of the company. This is my own outlook based on industry standards and high speculation.


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Doctor Tyche
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Tannim, that's for

Tannim, that's for development. For post launch, most MMO teams drop down to between 20-40.

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Tannim222
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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Tannim, that's for development. For post launch, most MMO teams drop down to between 20-40.

From what I've been told, the number is considering dev team, office personnel, and cs depts (both back end cs, internal IT, and front end such as forum mods), hence the wide range depending on the size of the company. And many of these larger companies that produce MMOs will shift teams over from off the MMO onto a new project, banking on the success of the MMO. And I this is considering AAA company development costs.

If you take a smaller dev team of 20, at the average indie game team average salary of 50k a year, salary alone is roughly 83k a month, not including benefits and pto. Including the other costs per month for customer service (gms, point of service, and forum mods), along with other costs, certainly, my estimation ends up way too high. I was going by industry standard at the AAA level, not indie level. However, there is no standard by which we fit as a company. Employee owned studo, indie game MMO just doesn't exist :P . At which rate, if you took my estimates and cut them in half, it would be a wild success for us, but certainly low end for MMO standards.


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jtpaull
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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Doctor Tyche wrote:
Tannim, that's for development. For post launch, most MMO teams drop down to between 20-40.
From what I've been told, the number is considering dev team, office personnel, and cs depts (both back end cs, internal IT, and front end such as forum mods), hence the wide range depending on the size of the company. And many of these larger companies that produce MMOs will shift teams over from off the MMO onto a new project, banking on the success of the MMO. And I this is considering AAA company development costs.
If you take a smaller dev team of 20, at the average indie game team average salary of 50k a year, salary alone is roughly 83k a month, not including benefits and pto. Including the other costs per month for customer service (gms, point of service, and forum mods), along with other costs, certainly, my estimation ends up way too high. I was going by industry standard at the AAA level, not indie level. However, there is no standard by which we fit as a company. Employee owned studo, indie game MMO just doesn't exist :P . At which rate, if you took my estimates and cut them in half, it would be a wild success for us, but certainly low end for MMO standards.

I appreciate the feedback. I run my own professional side business creating small business and family budgets so I couldn't help my curiosity. I hope my initial numbers are FAR too conservative because there's not a game out there I wish would have more success...and obviously more players and subs means more $$$ for you and content for us. The rule of thumb for budgeting is to always plan for the worst case scenario; I hope 5% sub retention is worst case. I can't wait for the Second Chance so I can get that Kickstarter badge I unfortunately don't have (due to not knowing about CoT/MWM's kickstarter at all at the time).

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

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Is there any data out there

Is there any data out there on number of subscribers vs non-subscribers for other F2P/B2P MMOs? Whenever this topic comes up, I fear that we folks on the forums (the 'loyal few') may be overestimating the percentage of players who will subscribe simply because many of us intend to do so.

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I'm still not convinced that

I'm still not convinced that the Pay-to-Play sub-only option isn't the best one for a game of this size, genre, and scope. I worry that the amount of customer service complaints from free-to-players involving legitimate technical bugs that need fixed could be onerous, and a smaller number of dedicated players paying subs would at least merit getting their complaint heard and processed in a reasonable time. I just wonder if the game maintenance staff will have the people, hours, and money to field the complaints of a huge host of free players who can't get the game to work right.

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Tannim222
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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Is there any data out there on number of subscribers vs non-subscribers for other F2P/B2P MMOs? Whenever this topic comes up, I fear that we folks on the forums (the 'loyal few') may be overestimating the percentage of players who will subscribe simply because many of us intend to do so.

Not really. That data is difficult to come by as many companies have not been releasing all their numbers. At best you can find total concurrent players logged in, others their quarterly earnings.

I’ve a few friends in the game industry that have told me various bits of info. One particular who light in major development for mmos.


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jtpaull
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Radiac wrote:
Radiac wrote:

I'm still not convinced that the Pay-to-Play sub-only option isn't the best one for a game of this size, genre, and scope. I worry that the amount of customer service complaints from free-to-players involving legitimate technical bugs that need fixed could be onerous, and a smaller number of dedicated players paying subs would at least merit getting their complaint heard and processed in a reasonable time. I just wonder if the game maintenance staff will have the people, hours, and money to field the complaints of a huge host of free players who can't get the game to work right.

I agree; however, the FTP players in CoT will have needed to at least buy the game upfront, probably $40-$50 based on the assumption that it will cost 3 months of sub gameplay, which is why they get 3 months of VIP sub just for buying the game. So even if they don't ever sub, they are at least a little better than straight FTP players.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

jtpaull
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Terwyn wrote:
Terwyn wrote:

Try those numbers again with a 95% retention rate, and you'll probably have a more accurate result. :)

If this is the case then CoT will be in GREAT shape.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

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jtpaull wrote:
jtpaull wrote:

Terwyn wrote:
Try those numbers again with a 95% retention rate, and you'll probably have a more accurate result. :)
If this is the case then CoT will be in GREAT shape.

Hence why we are set up for 3 months at a time, combined with cash store value with sub. Statistics tell us that if a player stays for 2 months, they will stay for a long period. Once the initial purchase is done, the second purchase is much easier. Combining both should translate into a 95-98% retention rate, if we hold true to other games numbers.

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jtpaull
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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

jtpaull wrote:
Terwyn wrote:
Try those numbers again with a 95% retention rate, and you'll probably have a more accurate result. :)
If this is the case then CoT will be in GREAT shape.
Hence why we are set up for 3 months at a time, combined with cash store value with sub. Statistics tell us that if a player stays for 2 months, they will stay for a long period. Once the initial purchase is done, the second purchase is much easier. Combining both should translate into a 95-98% retention rate, if we hold true to other games numbers.

You don't mean a 95-98% subscription retention rate of everyone who buys the game, do you? Meaning that 95-98% of everyone that buys the game will remain a monthly subscriber after the end of the initial 3-month VIP period?

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

Doctor Tyche
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jtpaull wrote:
jtpaull wrote:

Doctor Tyche wrote:
jtpaull wrote:
Terwyn wrote:
Try those numbers again with a 95% retention rate, and you'll probably have a more accurate result. :)
If this is the case then CoT will be in GREAT shape.
Hence why we are set up for 3 months at a time, combined with cash store value with sub. Statistics tell us that if a player stays for 2 months, they will stay for a long period. Once the initial purchase is done, the second purchase is much easier. Combining both should translate into a 95-98% retention rate, if we hold true to other games numbers.
You don't mean a 95-98% subscription retention rate of everyone who buys the game, do you? Meaning that 95-98% of everyone that buys the game will remain a monthly subscriber after the end of the initial 3-month VIP period?

No, 95-98% of those who opt for subscription over just playing the game. The goal of the design is to help overcome that "should I sub" hurdle.

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jtpaull
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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

jtpaull wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:
jtpaull wrote:
Terwyn wrote:
Try those numbers again with a 95% retention rate, and you'll probably have a more accurate result. :)
If this is the case then CoT will be in GREAT shape.
Hence why we are set up for 3 months at a time, combined with cash store value with sub. Statistics tell us that if a player stays for 2 months, they will stay for a long period. Once the initial purchase is done, the second purchase is much easier. Combining both should translate into a 95-98% retention rate, if we hold true to other games numbers.
You don't mean a 95-98% subscription retention rate of everyone who buys the game, do you? Meaning that 95-98% of everyone that buys the game will remain a monthly subscriber after the end of the initial 3-month VIP period?
No, 95-98% of those who opt for subscription over just playing the game. The goal of the design is to help overcome that "should I sub" hurdle.

Ok, that's what I thought. My analysis was saying that everyone who buys the game, after the 3 month initial sub is over, 5% will remain subscribed. So 95% of everyone who buys the game, after the 3 free sub months, will continue as a FTP player. To cover the retention of the subscribers, I used the above 5% of everyone to cover the difference. It's not an exact number, obviously, but instead putting the logic of 95-98% of the 7-10% subscribers, I used 5% sub retention forever. That 5% is what I am hoping is a gross under-estimation.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

Terwyn
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I would have to dig deeper

I would have to dig deeper into the numbers that we have (and I'm not sure I'm permitted to share those publicly just yet), but we do anticipate that the rate of subscription would be higher than 7-10% of those who make the initial 3 month investment.

It is only when we stand up, with all our failings and sufferings, and try to support others rather than withdraw into ourselves, that we can fully live the life of community.

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jtpaull
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Terwyn wrote:
Terwyn wrote:

I would have to dig deeper into the numbers that we have (and I'm not sure I'm permitted to share those publicly just yet), but we do anticipate that the rate of subscription would be higher than 7-10% of those who make the initial 3 month investment.

That is better than 5%! And this is just my own curiosity...please don't share your actual numbers, for obvious reasons.

With updated numbers:
-15k new, non-kickstarter, customers (meaning they bought the game) in the first 3 months, 100 every month after. These are people that bought the game, so just initial revenue, not subbers.
-30% of non-subscribers average $1/month cash shop revenue
-$45 game / $15 monthly sub fee
-10% subscribe after buying game

Total revenue:
Year 1 - $1M
Year 2 - $489k
Year 3 - $514K
Year 4 - 10 increasing at an exponential rate.

Again, these are obviously just guesses and_hopefully_conservative numbers. For example, even a small change from that $1/month to $1.50 or $2.00 is the difference of tens of thousands of dollars a year.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

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Yeah, I would prefer not to

Yeah, I am kind of with Radiac. While I would prefer not to rehash the sub versus FTP arguments here,my guess/ prediction is the whole "maintain a positive player experience" will be a challenge post launch... especially if the population numbers turn out to be say double (or more) than initial estimates. That's probably a very nice problem to have in terms of a measurement of success but I do believe it's well within the realm of possibility. We shall see.