Author Topic: State of the Titan  (Read 87946 times)

Paindancer

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2012, 04:19:47 PM »
Well worded, Tony.
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dwturducken

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2012, 04:28:14 PM »
Thank you, Tony.  It always makes me cringe when I see someone post asking you or your team for status, because it really indicates that they haven't ready through the relevant threads. Everywhere on the forum, when someone has had information that they are allowed to share, it is always up right away, and we appreciate that.

Distilling it and putting it all in one place is an enormous help.
I wouldn't use the word "replace," but there's no word for "take over for you and make everything better almost immediately," so we just say "replace."

Omega Mark V

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2012, 05:50:58 PM »
Sounds good Tony.

Hoping for the prior two options to the latter.

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Manga

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2012, 05:52:16 PM »
I have discussed the state of NCSoft with a few people in game - one thing I didn't realize before is Nexion's part in all of this.  It changes things drastically.

If NCSoft is indeed trying to make itself attractive for investment or a buyout, their aim will be to cut costs without harming their portfolio.  In other words, they MUST hang on to the City of Heroes IP, because selling it shrinks their portfolio.  But operating it costs probably more than any other game they have (due to the semi-independent Paragon Studios in high-salary California) so the IP is more valuable than the game itself.  CoH is more valuable to NCSoft dead than alive.

That means getting NCSoft to sell is going to be very difficult to near impossible, UNLESS their investors (Nexion) can be convinced that the company will be just as or more valuable without it.  This means a DOUBLE negotiation to make it happen, which is far less likely, and may be the reason Paragon seems to be failing to gain independence.

Licensing is pretty much the only way to go here now.  NCSoft that way can show to investors that they still have the IP in their portfolio, and they also don't bear any of the operating cost.  The licensing percentage is good for NCSoft, but irrelevant to an investor, so it could be called a fallback measure to keep NC's profits up until it does find investment. 

So it's an arrangement highly benificial to NCSoft, with one caveat:  It's possible that the family running NCSoft wants out, and that's why they're making it attractive for a buyout.  If that's true, they will not want any contracts, licensing or otherwise, tying them down; because everything they're doing is to maximize the amount of cash they walk away with at the end of the buyout process.

It's still worthwhile to try, though, and if I could contact the Paragon business team, that's what I would suggest they pitch as well. 

One huge caution though: If NCSoft does get bought out, or heavily leveraged, it's highly possible City of Heroes will be shut down way earlier than the Nov 30th ending date - possibly as early as Sep 30th, since it's the end of the quarter.  So if we're aiming for an operations licensing deal, we're running out of time.

Side note:  I think NCSoft knows what I'm up to.  I tried to get the contact info of their Business Affairs contact, and they won't even give that to me.  They have effectively tried to turn and blind eye/ear to any offers, but I'll see if I can get through anyway.










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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2012, 05:53:59 PM »
Through playing a large variety of games over the years, and no small part from CoH, I decided to major in game design in college. So if worse comes to worst and we decide to make a successor to CoH, then hopefully I might be of some use in the years to come
"Heroes may die, but heroism never shall." ~Cyrus "Breakneck" Thompson

Burnt Toast

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2012, 06:19:01 PM »
I will continue to fight the fight and do everything I can to #SaveCoH :)


Until I hear something more...I will assume negotiations are still on going..and that is my beacon of light :)


The sun has not set yet... and still plenty of time for positive things to come out of all our efforts.


Segev

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2012, 06:36:25 PM »
I have discussed the state of NCSoft with a few people in game - one thing I didn't realize before is Nexion's part in all of this.  It changes things drastically.

If NCSoft is indeed trying to make itself attractive for investment or a buyout, their aim will be to cut costs without harming their portfolio.  In other words, they MUST hang on to the City of Heroes IP, because selling it shrinks their portfolio.  But operating it costs probably more than any other game they have (due to the semi-independent Paragon Studios in high-salary California) so the IP is more valuable than the game itself.  CoH is more valuable to NCSoft dead than alive.

That means getting NCSoft to sell is going to be very difficult to near impossible, UNLESS their investors (Nexion) can be convinced that the company will be just as or more valuable without it.  This means a DOUBLE negotiation to make it happen, which is far less likely, and may be the reason Paragon seems to be failing to gain independence.
Interesting. It always puzzles me that a company would be considered valuable for an IP they've actively damaged by shutting down its customer base. But if it's a buy-out NCSoft wants, then there are a number of things one could potentially do.

1) Offer them enough for that IP that the "hit" to their portfolio (and reduction in their cost-to-be-bought) would not be any greater than the amount they'd make from selling the IP.

2) Talk to Nexion or other potential investors in NCSoft, and persuade them to hint that a functioning profit-making IP is more attractive than one that's sitting idle and likely to lose its customer base due to inactivity.

3) Look into finding a buyer for all of NCSoft. This is a huge long-shot, as NCSoft is not going to be inexpensive. It would also not be nearly the profitable maneuver that simply acquiring CoH and all relevant properties would be, since it would involve all the extra "dead weight" if one did not go in with the goal of really owning and running ALL of NCSoft's games. I am not certain that it would be any healthier for NCSoft to be run from America than it is for Paragon Studios to be run from Korea.

4) Attempt to form that company (preferably Paragon Studios's name, at least, and employees and such) independently of NCSoft and license the IP. This is a stop-gap, however, because if NCSoft is bought out, the potential loss of the license could put us right back where we now are. It would, however, at least give us room to be negotiating directly with the end decision-maker that NCSoft is trying to court.

Option 4) seems the most likely to work, to me, though I would prefer 2 or 3, personally. 3) would be a strange one, and may result in putting others in the position CoH fans now face. So, looking at 4), if NCSoft's main concern is having the IP without having to pay to keep it running, a nominal licensing fee should be negotiable.

Licensing is pretty much the only way to go here now.  NCSoft that way can show to investors that they still have the IP in their portfolio, and they also don't bear any of the operating cost.  The licensing percentage is good for NCSoft, but irrelevant to an investor, so it could be called a fallback measure to keep NC's profits up until it does find investment. 

So it's an arrangement highly benificial to NCSoft, with one caveat:  It's possible that the family running NCSoft wants out, and that's why they're making it attractive for a buyout.  If that's true, they will not want any contracts, licensing or otherwise, tying them down; because everything they're doing is to maximize the amount of cash they walk away with at the end of the buyout process.
In this case, if it's just "the family" that owns it that wants to cash out, buying the IP won't hurt if we can offer enough to cover the 'shortfall' it would cause in the buy-out price.

It's still worthwhile to try, though, and if I could contact the Paragon business team, that's what I would suggest they pitch as well. 

One huge caution though: If NCSoft does get bought out, or heavily leveraged, it's highly possible City of Heroes will be shut down way earlier than the Nov 30th ending date - possibly as early as Sep 30th, since it's the end of the quarter.  So if we're aiming for an operations licensing deal, we're running out of time.

Side note:  I think NCSoft knows what I'm up to.  I tried to get the contact info of their Business Affairs contact, and they won't even give that to me.  They have effectively tried to turn and blind eye/ear to any offers, but I'll see if I can get through anyway.
Hm. I have also gotten nothing from the people there I've tried to contact, even through highly-regarded business networking methods.

Is their CEO part of the "owning family?" It may be worthwhile to directly contact him if so.

Is there indication that Nexon is likely to buy more of a share in NCSoft, or is this just speculation based on them buying up to nearly 15% in June?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 06:48:08 PM by Segev »

Elfin

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2012, 06:48:04 PM »
Hello Tony Thanks for the update. Anything I can do to help I am with you. I may not be a leader but I will ba a loyal soldier. Long Live Atlas 33 on #savecoh

Stefan Zubal

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2012, 06:48:28 PM »
Thank you TonyV.
Clear state of the union. Reality bites.

What would the clear feasibility of approaching a studio not to copy CoH but remake it...not sure if I am stating this correctly. Not necessarily a CoH2 .... but something based on what we liked and some of our pipe dreams. Willing to be part of something like that...no matter the wait.

torch is lit and still burning

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AbandonedChild

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2012, 06:53:49 PM »
Just an idea for income to support the game.
Remember that "Cats" program or whatever it was called? A kitten or cat of users design would randomly interact on the desktop, user could vary level of interaction.  People love their characters in COH if they could buy a DVD or CD with their favorite character, or several disks with other characters that would interact with the environment on their desktop they would.

Imagine a cranky blaster who hadn't been interacted with for awhile blasting away the Yahoo home page, or whatever.

People would buy it, people would want to log on to the game.

AbandonedChild

Stefan Zubal

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2012, 06:59:07 PM »
uh ...disregard my post..just found Phoenix city. I am a bit behind in my forum readings

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Manga

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2012, 08:02:18 PM »
What would the clear feasibility of approaching a studio not to copy CoH but remake it...not sure if I am stating this correctly. Not necessarily a CoH2 .... but something based on what we liked and some of our pipe dreams. Willing to be part of something like that...no matter the wait.

I don't know if anyone else is, but I am definitely investigating it.  And I'm a software developer.  :)


CapaDevans

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2012, 08:28:16 PM »
TonyV - thank you for the update. I appreciate everything you and the team are doing.

TheManga - that was a great analysis; somewhat disheartening but superbly written and covering all the issues. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

Pheadora

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2012, 09:05:03 PM »
Thanks Tony and Titan Network for all your hard work. Thanks for keeping us updated.

Victoria Victrix

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2012, 09:08:14 PM »
For what it is worth, I'll put my storytelling talents into the pot.  If any iteration of CoH can be got up and running, I'll storyboard content gratis, based on the existing canon.  I have a lot of experience in writing in other peoples' story canon (Andre Norton's WitchWorld, Anne McCaffrey's Brainships, C.J. Cherryh's Merovingia, Robert Adams' Horseclans, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar, Wendy and Richard Pini's Elfquest, Keith Laumers' Bolos, Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover, and those are just the ones I did professionally and got paid for).  I'm not real good at turning story into mission-arcs--as witness the agony I went through on the Diana Tregarde/Guest Author arc--but I can give you plot, character and dialogue.
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DrakeGrimm

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2012, 09:24:15 PM »
For what it is worth, I'll put my storytelling talents into the pot.  If any iteration of CoH can be got up and running, I'll storyboard content gratis, based on the existing canon.  I have a lot of experience in writing in other peoples' story canon (Andre Norton's WitchWorld, Anne McCaffrey's Brainships, C.J. Cherryh's Merovingia, Robert Adams' Horseclans, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar, Wendy and Richard Pini's Elfquest, Keith Laumers' Bolos, Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover, and those are just the ones I did professionally and got paid for).  I'm not real good at turning story into mission-arcs--as witness the agony I went through on the Diana Tregarde/Guest Author arc--but I can give you plot, character and dialogue.

As can I, though VV's talents are, obviously, much more polished. ;)
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padathir

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2012, 10:29:54 PM »
- And, of course, there's the usual silence out of NCsoft.

There sure is. I think it is 100% clear by now that they don't intend on discussing this with "mere" customers.

Gothica

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2012, 10:42:47 PM »
Thanks, Tony, for that very organized and thorough analysis.

I want to second what you pointed out about wishing the devs well. It would be just plain unreasonable and petty of us to expect them to sit around for a few months or weeks, with families to feed and bills to pay, to see what happens with NCSoft. For that reason I knew on the day of the announcement of the closing of the studio that no matter what happened, due to inevitable changes in the dev staff (even if NCSoft had reversed its decision almost immediately), things would be different. There was nothing anyone could have done. Let's just focus on saving as much as we can.

As to what I can do: Published author here, too. My two weaknesses are plot and character, which is why I'm a historian--in my field those two things come supplied.  :)  But if someone wants to provide those two things, I can do the rest. I can turn it into a coherent dramatic narrative and produce dialogue.  (Dialogue I have a good ear for, since I have to plow through tons of dry stuff to find interesting quotations that get the point across to the modern reader without being quaint or incomprehensible.) I can also copy-edit the whole thing, whether I write it or not (though we'd want more than one editor looking at everything, of course). In addition to the in-game dialogue and narrative and backstories and such, I can write pitches and proposals as well.

If we're thinking of doing anything that involves IP rights, we'll probably want to get expert opinion. I have some very good legal contacts in the IP field as well; maybe they'll even give me special rates. My own copyright studies were long ago, but I have seen a couple of statements about fair use above that raise a flag or two for me. (Not that those statements are wrong--just that we want to be darned sure that we know the state of the law before we do something that could expose us to liability.)

A question regarding reverse-engineering the server (another red flag for me there, btw): Who owns the game engine? If not NCSoft, is that engine licensed to NCSoft exclusively? If not, and we got a license for said engine, then NCSoft would presumably have no claim against us for that degree of engineering, at least. But even that I would want to run by the lawyers. If you're talking about a property that's worth millions even when it's shut down, you want to cover every possible base.

Final point: Perhaps set up a second email address for crowd funding as well? I can't go six figures but I can pitch in something.

Thanks again, and keep up the excellent work. I stand ready to assist in any capacity I can.

eabrace

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2012, 10:52:11 PM »
Who owns the game engine?
Cryptic

Quote
If not NCSoft, is that engine licensed to NCSoft exclusively?
It's licensed in perpetuity, but we don't have any information (that I'm aware of) regarding whether or not that license is transferable along with the IP.
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Kheprera

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Re: State of the Titan
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2012, 11:03:01 PM »
I'm no published writer, beyond what I write for work, but I am a proofreader.  That skill I can offer.