Author Topic: Kickstarter Needs To Happen  (Read 4207 times)

Chamomile

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Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« on: September 05, 2012, 01:02:23 PM »
Okay, I feel this needs a thread of its own.  I think we need to start laying the groundwork, right now, for a Kickstarter project for a new super hero MMO staffed by Paragon Studios.  Why?  Because of all the options for saving CoX that have the slightest odds of actually working, exactly none of them involve actually giving the guys at Paragon Studios a job.  Threads centered around this calamity have been overflowing with the sentiment of what an awesome job PS has done with this game, and I agree, these guys are pretty good at what they do and totally deserve employment.  So while we certainly shouldn't give up on preserving CoX as-is by buying out the IP/code with a fundraiser or reverse-engineering the game and running it out of Sealand or some other method of sneaking through legal loopholes to get it running again, we should also be thinking about making a new game with a new IP but similar themes, and we should be making these plans, contacting PS and asking their opinion on it, and planning the Kickstarter itself now, while PS is still in one piece.  Further, this means that we can start gathering up donations for longshots and still have them go to something useful and relevant if it doesn't work out (which, let's be honest, is a depressingly likely outcome).  Saying farewell to Paragon City right before the Coming Storm hits is upsetting, to be sure, but there's no reason to believe that the exact same people won't be able to cook up something just as good given the chance to do so.  Probably even better, since they won't be wrestling with legacy code close to a decade out of date in order to get it done.  I'll be honest, I'm more concerned about saving Paragon Studios than City of Heroes.  They're the ones who actually made the game good, and just having the game doesn't mean it'll still be good if PS isn't at the helm.

Scrier

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Re: Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 01:08:49 PM »
Not true. Buying the IP and code would possibly involve getting the dev team back, depending on how much we can raise. There's no point rushing to crowdfunding until we have a number, let alone until we have a plan. If we end up with three similar crowdfunding requests, none of them will do as well as we should. We need to look at the plans and focus on moving in the same direction.

Chamomile

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Re: Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 01:42:57 PM »
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Buying the IP and code would possibly involve getting the dev team back,

And I personally have that marked as an option that does not have the slightest odds of working.  I'd love to be proven wrong and all, but I don't see it happening.

Also, to be clear, I'm not suggesting we start a Kickstarter and actually start raising money until the other options are exhausted, but at the same time we should be ready to start it up on December 1st, including having as much as PS on board for it as possible.  If we wait until the servers are already down, most members of PS will probably be already actively looking for other employment and might not be able to promise their talents to a hypothetical Kickstarter project, and it'd be terrible if we could raise the money but didn't have anyone to give it to because so many of the current team had already left.

jacknomind

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Re: Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2012, 01:53:24 PM »
We can't crowdfund the entire studio in one push.  Imagine, for a moment, that the mean salary of everyone there was about 50k per year, and use the 80-people figure that's being tossed around.  Add on top of that that we have approximately nothing for facilities or hardware, and that even if we did, it probably isn't within a few miles of Mountain View CA, so we'd have to relocate people (+$) and we don't even know how many of them are willing to do that.

Edit because I want to clarify : And if we get the studio but not the code or IP... it takes a much larger team than what they currently have to put out a game in even two years, during which time they aren't going to be generating any revenue for themselves.  We might be able to sort of "bake sale" some cash by getting them to put out a few smaller games or other tech toys, but honestly we're the largest audience for that content anyway.

Besides, we can't effectively raise funds to do anything until the immediate conversations with NCSoft have ended -- on Tony's part and the part of the developers.  We don't know the situation and rushing in will leave us burnt and sticky.

I would like to see us starting that drive within the next five days.  It may not be possible (although for my part, I'm going to assume delaying tactics on NCSoft's part are an effective "no."  I'd like to think they're going to be genteel and gracious with their fans and customers, but they may play dirty and try and stall us out or pitch lots of switch-ups.)

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but at the same time we should be ready to start it up on December 1st, including having as much as PS on board for it as possible.

I don't think we have nearly that long.  Posi et al are looking for new jobs now.  That there's going to be at least a little fragmentation is inevitable at this point.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 02:00:00 PM by jacknomind »

SithRose

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Re: Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2012, 03:05:47 PM »
Every option kicked around so far has included getting as many of the COH devs as humanly possible involved.

We can't and shouldn't do a Kickstarter until we know what we need to do. Trying to do multiple Kickstarters without clear, solid goals and backup goals is a chaotic plan doomed to failure. I trust Tony V and the rest of the Titan Network staff to keep on top of this - They've been some of THE most dedicated people in the COH community for almost as long as COH has been around. Let's give them time to work. They'll tell us when it's time to start the fundraising, if it comes to that.

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gameboy1234

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Re: Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2012, 04:18:48 PM »
Every option kicked around so far has included getting as many of the COH devs as humanly possible involved.

We can't and shouldn't do a Kickstarter until we know what we need to do.


Agreed.  Also, Kickstarter takes 10% (or more, iirc from the OOTS Kickstarter) and I won't want to donate 10% of any cash I send to Kickstater.

If anything like this happened, I'd expect to buy actual shares in a new company ("Paragon Studios") and also there's probably be a white knight investor or two.  So the fans would just be augmenting an offer.  (It would be fun to be a shareholder though.)

I would figure about 100k/year per developer.  That includes:

1. Payroll taxes
2. Health Insurance
3. Pensions
4. Electricity bill and building lease.

So about 8 mill per year to keep the studio going.  And that might be short too.  Hopefully they can keep the lease, moving would be a pain.  (Actually, building leases are often for 5 years, with an option to renew.  I wonder if the lease came up, and then NC Soft took a look at the financials and said "We don't want this for 5 more years.")

Back Blast

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Re: Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2012, 05:16:05 PM »
I thought it was like 5% but really, any KS-like site you use is going to take a cut. That's how they make their money and keep the lights on. Nature of the beast.

blue storm

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Re: Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2012, 05:25:53 PM »
My understanding is that Kickstarter takes 5% and amazon takes another 3-5% since Kickstarter uses their services to process the transactions...

Nevertheless, while I'm all in to support a kickstarter project, I don't think we should put the carriage before the horse at this point. before we collect money, we need a business plan from which will derive an action plan. This will give us an estimate of how much this project needs and thus how much has to be raised.
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Mantic

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Re: Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2012, 06:59:42 PM »

"Buying" the IP as a fan-collective in the name of Titan Network, I can't get behind. I have no interest in stock or junk bonds or a stake in the City Of Heroes property. Who would want to deal with such a legal morass?

"Sequel" projects , either. Even with the same people, things change. Champions Online was such a sequel to CoH in all but superficial "lore." It was not appealing to the audience that stayed with City of Heroes. No sequel MMO I can recall actually held the same audience (even with publishers like NCSoft attempting to force migration, most will simply leave if the original game is discontinued).  Even EQ2 was built on mostly new players, as many EQ players migrated to DAoC. And sometimes, not finding a different audience, very polished sequels can tank out of the gate (ala Asheron's Call 2). If someone wants to make a sequel, they can fund it conventionally and I'll judge it's merits after.

What I would be willing to kick in for is pretty narrow. Something like helping Paragon Studios (Matt Miller almost assured, and whomever else might remain aboard) meet NCSoft's demands for a transfer of ownership. That would empower the studio to negotiate with investors on their own behalf. There may already be a high-rolling investor willing to meet NCSoft's price, if they name one. Or they may be digging into their own savings. But if the price is too steep, that is where crowdfunding could fill the gap.  Kickstarter has the benefit of not being an investment, so there is no counter-incentive for Paragon or any funding partner they may have on the line.

Maybe that seems picky or persnickety, especially when it amounts to throwing money away regardless, but it does make a big difference to me who and what I am throwing away my money for.

Tsumiju Zero

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Re: Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2012, 07:02:31 PM »
Zwillinger did give the idea a hint in the Stream, apparently Kickstarter's have to be for a *new* project, thus a Kickstarter for CoH wouldn't work. However if we could Kickstart a CoH2 using the originals code or something?

neonphysalis

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Re: Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2012, 07:06:56 PM »
Alright so to be able to get a kickstarter launched you need a few things.

1. You need a team of developers, ideally ex-paragon studio employees or our own.

2. You need a high concept, something to present, like pre alpha of the game, art work, and so on.

3. You need an actual plan, how will you launch the MMO, what specifications you are building, and your mission statement.

4. The while point of kickstarter is selling your product to investors, you need to have a good idea of the benefits they will get for different tier of investments.

5. ???????

6. PROFIT

jacknomind

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Re: Kickstarter Needs To Happen
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2012, 07:11:59 PM »
Again : Kickstarter is quite possibly not going to be used.  It's being tossed around as a 'brand name', but what people should really be focusing on is "fund-raising campaign."  For something.  I'm not sure what yet; if Tony is, he hasn't had the chance to share it with us.