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License Renewed?


Altreg01
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Yes, it was considered a bit of a shock and an outrage at the time. Once Turbine had made the demand I think things got prickly between them and CodeMasters too. Hence the "letter of the law" approach to migrating accounts.

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Good thoughts troll, I never thought of the Yankee defense.

 

The NY Yankees are known for signing players they dont need just to keep them out of Boston (A-roid when they had Jeter and Tiexiera when they just signed Swisher to play first to name a few).

 

Good for the business, bad for the gamer.

 

This used to be common practice in college football before the NCAA instituted scholarship limits.  Ohio State's Woody Hayes is reputed to have said something like, "Better a guy be on my bench than playing against us," although I suspect that quote is apocryphal.

 

Validity of the quote aside, Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Oklahoma, and all sorts of big-name programs used to sign talented players just to stash them on the bench rather than take the chance that the guy would start for some lesser team.

 

Some teams still do this now, but with scholarship limits in place they just "over-sign": they make offers to more kids than they're able to give scholarships to, and then just lie to some of them and convince them to walk on (=pay for college, hope to earn a scholarship later) and keep them buried on the bench for four years.  Alabama's Nick Saban is notorious for this.

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Having the license is only one of the prerequisites for this. The less certain hurdle is having revenue or investment capital to actually do the work.

 

according to Ryan Dancey (his studio is making TESO) lotro brings in ~3mill in subs alone each month.

mmorev.jpg

 

got this from articles at pcgamer: http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/01/09/ryan-dancey-defends-elder-scrolls-onlines-subscription-fee/

 

and at mmorpg.com: http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/loadFeature/8109/Pathfinder-Onlines-Ryan-Dancey-Defends-Elder-Scrolls-Online-and-Subscriptions.html

 

the mmorg.com article goes into much more detail....

 

now if this estimate is even somewhat close to accurate plus god knows what from the store....where does it all go and is it enough to properly do content once again?

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according to Ryan Dancey (his studio is making TESO) lotro brings in ~3mill in subs alone each month.

mmorev.jpg

 

got this from articles at pcgamer: http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/01/09/ryan-dancey-defends-elder-scrolls-onlines-subscription-fee/

 

and at mmorpg.com: http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/loadFeature/8109/Pathfinder-Onlines-Ryan-Dancey-Defends-Elder-Scrolls-Online-and-Subscriptions.html

 

the mmorg.com article goes into much more detail....

 

now if this estimate is even somewhat close to accurate plus god knows what from the store....where does it all go and is it enough to properly do content once again?

 

Interesting, but assuming that the "estimated subscribers" total includes those with lifetime subscriptions, we can knock some money off the $3 million estimate.  We can also knock some more off by accounting for all the multi-month subscribers who pay less than $15/month.

 

Then again, presumably some of the 400,000 non-subscribers spend money for TP purchases, and I'd imagine that the numbers there would push things back up to - and possibly over - $3 million, but I have no idea.

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Just to put some steam behind us who say the license might be useless either way. This is from the actual lawsuit. I got the section number wrong before, it is #68.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/custom/Documents/ESQ/GGDOCS1-%231878321-v1-CONFORMED_Complaint.pdf

"68. Defendants’ infringement of plaintiffs’ copyrights in The Lord of the

Rings and The Hobbit has caused and will continue to cause irreparable harm to

plaintiffs which cannot be fully compensated by monetary damages. Plaintiffs have

no adequate remedy at law. Plaintiffs are therefore entitled to injunctive relief

preventing defendants from infringing plaintiffs’ copyrights in The Lord of the

Rings and The Hobbit, and recalling from the market all unauthorized uses of The

Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit that have been made or authorized by defendants

and/or their licensees."

(my emphasis)

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For LOTRO I think those numbers are optimistic by an order of magnitude.

 

I also think that the 3:1 ratio of non-subscribers to subscribers is probably much higher, especially considering lifetimers as non-subscribers (for the purpose of the chart). And the average subscription price would not be the maximum price but somewhere in between the yearly and monthly.

 

If you guesstimate 2000 unique logins per server per month that would be roughly 60k, and at their optimistic 3:1 ratio that is 20k subscribers per month, less than $300k/month. Lets round everything in Turbines favor here and assume 4 million per year. That sort of money gets eaten up really fast and would be in line with their one major yearly release which had, by their own admission, no budget for music. Not that I think there is anything wrong with it, just sayin.

 

To make those numbers in the chart, that would mean over 20k unique logins per server per month. Maybe? Not buyin it.

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according to Ryan Dancey (his studio is making TESO) lotro brings in ~3mill in subs alone each month.

mmorev.jpg

 

got this from articles at pcgamer: http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/01/09/ryan-dancey-defends-elder-scrolls-onlines-subscription-fee/

 

and at mmorpg.com: http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/loadFeature/8109/Pathfinder-Onlines-Ryan-Dancey-Defends-Elder-Scrolls-Online-and-Subscriptions.html

 

the mmorg.com article goes into much more detail....

 

now if this estimate is even somewhat close to accurate plus god knows what from the store....where does it all go and is it enough to properly do content once again?

The figures in the chart are rubbish. If says WoW has 3.5 million subs, yet Blizzard announced in November they had 7.7 million in the quarterly accounts. Given the level of this mistake, and the ease of getting the correct figures for WoW I have to discount all the data in the chart

It also assumes those paying a sub pay monthly when many people take out multi-month subs with reduced rates.

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That's where they get their textures I bet! Everything looks like faded worn jeans that are pre-set to dye in multiple shades of puke.

 

It always bothered me that the splash screens showed some really vibrant and cool armor and other questing appropriate gear, and if you do find the same cosmetic in game it doesn't come anywhere close no matter what you do.

 

The best I found was the annuminas heavy and especially the Moria champ zerker stuff, mix and match helmets to taste. 

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Turbine won't tell us numbers so how can anyone calculate how much money they make of subs for Lotro.

You can still pick up all kinds of other signals and then make calculations of games relative to each other.

Being off by a factor of 2 would actually be pretty good by the standards of such methods.

Estimating income is impossible, and I think even saying "money only from subs" is, apart from being useless, very difficult now that other income is generated.

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Just to put some steam behind us who say the license might be useless either way. This is from the actual lawsuit. I got the section number wrong before, it is #68.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/custom/Documents/ESQ/GGDOCS1-%231878321-v1-CONFORMED_Complaint.pdf

"68. Defendants’ infringement of plaintiffs’ copyrights in The Lord of the

Rings and The Hobbit has caused and will continue to cause irreparable harm to

plaintiffs which cannot be fully compensated by monetary damages. Plaintiffs have

no adequate remedy at law. Plaintiffs are therefore entitled to injunctive relief

preventing defendants from infringing plaintiffs’ copyrights in The Lord of the

Rings and The Hobbit, and recalling from the market all unauthorized uses of The

Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit that have been made or authorized by defendants

and/or their licensees."

(my emphasis)

 

I'm wondering if lawsuit is the reason why Turbine and Sapience have been so reticent in saying that they have renewed their agreement.

 

I reckon: 

 

1. Turbine/WB don't want to shout about the license renewal because Middle-earth's enterprises' status is in doubt until the suit is over. It would look really bad if they made an official announcement that the license had been renewed and would probably antagonise the Tolkien Estate further, so they are operating quietly.

 

2. WB have probably negotiated a huge discount on the license and have had the contracts changed to reflect the lawsuit. 

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The figures in the chart are rubbish. If says WoW has 3.5 million subs, yet Blizzard announced in November they had 7.7 million in the quarterly accounts. Given the level of this mistake, and the ease of getting the correct figures for WoW I have to discount all the data in the chart

It also assumes those paying a sub pay monthly when many people take out multi-month subs with reduced rates.

I won't comment on all those numbers, but just on WoW.  Article propably count only EU+NA WoW subs, not counting Chinese ones, other Asian ones and maybe Brazilian ones.  in WoTLK times of WoW highest sub mark mainland China only was ~50% of WoW subs. If you discount all of those, it is reasonable to assume that NA+EU WoW subs are around 3,5 mln mark.

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The figures in the chart are rubbish. If says WoW has 3.5 million subs, yet Blizzard announced in November they had 7.7 million in the quarterly accounts. Given the level of this mistake, and the ease of getting the correct figures for WoW I have to discount all the data in the chart

It also assumes those paying a sub pay monthly when many people take out multi-month subs with reduced rates.

 

I won't comment on all those numbers, but just on WoW.  Article propably count only EU+NA WoW subs, not counting Chinese ones, other Asian ones and maybe Brazilian ones.  in WoTLK times of WoW highest sub mark mainland China only was ~50% of WoW subs. If you discount all of those, it is reasonable to assume that NA+EU WoW subs are around 3,5 mln mark.

this is correct..if you read the article at mmorpg Dancey is only talking about Western players...i.e. NA/EU.

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Just to put some steam behind us who say the license might be useless either way. This is from the actual lawsuit. I got the section number wrong before, it is #68.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/custom/Documents/ESQ/GGDOCS1-%231878321-v1-CONFORMED_Complaint.pdf

"68. Defendants’ infringement of plaintiffs’ copyrights in The Lord of the

Rings and The Hobbit has caused and will continue to cause irreparable harm to

plaintiffs which cannot be fully compensated by monetary damages. Plaintiffs have

no adequate remedy at law. Plaintiffs are therefore entitled to injunctive relief

preventing defendants from infringing plaintiffs’ copyrights in The Lord of the

Rings and The Hobbit, and recalling from the market all unauthorized uses of The

Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit that have been made or authorized by defendants

and/or their licensees."

(my emphasis)

 

As far as LotRO, if it indeed is one of the licences at risk, it would seem that the remedy is simply to go back to Boxed Xpacs, per Sections 53-55.

 

Behind the scenes, couldn't they or possibly already have, negotiated to produce Boxes in the future to exclude LotRO from the suit? The push back in Xpacs to a longer cycle would fit in with this, to give room to retool up for providing a tangible element to the product.

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For LOTRO I think those numbers are optimistic by an order of magnitude.

I think they are just made up by someone who is has no knowledge of Lotro and was looking at sub estimates for Lotro just after Moria, or some other time, many years ago. We actually have no evidence that these are not just complete wild guesses. I bet the original author has some data on WoW and other MMOs and just guesses (quite wrongly) about Lotro subs. Seriously, so many players are premium and not sub at this point in Lotro.

 

Plus the fact that almost all of his guesses are rounded up to 50,000s or 100,000s. It shows he had no actually figures for most of this. The chance of every game having subs in even 50,000 or 100,000 increments is basically nil.

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Two points:

 

Firstly, the figures in that chart are suspect. Estimated really means that in this case. As has been pointed out, if they're over 4 million out from the known figure with their WOW 'estimate,' so it casts a lot of doubt on the rest of the chart. (Incidentally, I just realised that if Blizzard's 7.7 million figure is accurate, that game is pulling in 115.5 million bucks per month. The mind boggles.) I also have no doubt in my mind that despite that chart, Rift and Neverwinter are both making more dough than LOTRO and that SWTOR is pulling in more than that amount from subscribers. This chart just looks like something quickly thrown together after the bare minimum of research in order to demonstrate that subscriptions are still very profitable. That point is the only thing about the chart that I think is accurate.

 

Secondly, if the estate get a win in that lawsuit, LOTRO is certainly done for, license extension or no. If the license has been extended, it may just be Middle-earth Enterprises granting it in a hurry now to rake in the cash while they still have the ability to grant it. Presumably they have the common sense to have entered a clause that spares them from litigation from their licensees if their rights get pulled as per the lawsuit.

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As far as LotRO, if it indeed is one of the licences at risk, it would seem that the remedy is simply to go back to Boxed Xpacs, per Sections 53-55.

 

Behind the scenes, couldn't they or possibly already have, negotiated to produce Boxes in the future to exclude LotRO from the suit? The push back in Xpacs to a longer cycle would fit in with this, to give room to retool up for providing a tangible element to the product.

Not sure that moving back to random physical goods would do at this point. It's not that everybody clearly agrees in the lawsuits that a MMORPG with some physical good is unconditionally included in the original agreement (between the estate and Saul), not that anybody here has ever seen the original agreement, nor that it would matter since it is from 1998 or so.

My expectation is that the lawsuit ends in a haggling where random bits are traded.

Of course I am not the right one to predict the outcome as I am biased. I think it would be incredibly cool if this would end with the lawsuit telling Turbine to cut the BS, such as forbidding them to do real-world money gambling in the game or maybe even cut out other random bits that are too un-tolkienish.

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Not sure that moving back to random physical goods would do at this point. It's not that everybody clearly agrees in the lawsuits that a MMORPG with some physical good is unconditionally included in the original agreement (between the estate and Saul), not that anybody here has ever seen the original agreement, nor that it would matter since it is from 1998 or so.

My expectation is that the lawsuit ends in a haggling where random bits are traded.

Of course I am not the right one to predict the outcome as I am biased. I think it would be incredibly cool if this would end with the lawsuit telling Turbine to cut the BS, such as forbidding them to do real-world money gambling in the game or maybe even cut out other random bits that are too un-tolkienish.

 

Yea, I'm not sure either. They make a point of the term Doenload-Only. Of the irony if the change to F2P to stabilize LotRO is the change that put them in the crosshairs of the lawsuit. While the DL-Only started with Mirkwood, it's pretty well accepted that was the start of F2P implementation

 

That seems the likely outcome if it goes all the way to verdict. I suspect that LV is correct, settlement.

.

While I don't subscribe to the "gambling" aspect I certainly would cheer for a different implementation of Presents and the other random bits to stop also.  

 

It'll be settled out of court.

 

That's my suspicion.

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I have never doubted for a second Warner would not continue to hold on to a monopoly of a franchise.

 

the only thing of interest to me would be how much, if any of the original agreement option to extend to 2017 has been altered from it's original form?

 

given that Tolkien Estates receives some kind of revenue & would likely have to be notified of any changes...  given the current pending contest over a 2010 regrant and so on...

 

i doubt much has changed.

 

Warner is place holding this property.

 

it still looks like the budget for Lotro will be small & operational only & i very much suspect all development will come out of that small operational budget.  call it token development if you will, but it is going to still feel every bit like maintenance mode to anyone who played this game prior to the FTP conversion.

 

 

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