July 23, 2009

Money, is it necessary? Tale of Developer

What do you think about this one?
Do you believe that money is the least to worry about, or maybe you are the kind of person who think money is everything, when you are actually planning to develop a game (MMORPG)?

Hopefully this article will open your eyes for what you are facing, or perhaps give some insight about what the developers are going through.

Don't take my words for it, you better listen to all the experts about this one...
(You still have to listen to me in the end though :P)

Developer (Indonesia)
"For a casual game like what we usually deal with, which takes 6 to 8 months top, with only 4 people involved, we can break it down like this. Let's say we only pay the littlest amount of salary (for 6 months): 2 mil x 4 people x 6 months = 48 mil. Now for the PC, let's say we only use the average PC with only 4 mil of price: 4 mil x 4 people = 16 mil. Operational costs, like electricity, building and such, let's say 2 mil for building and 1 mil for electricity: 3 mil x 6 months = 18 mil.

Now the software, for genuine windows: 1.3 mil x 4 people = 5 mil more or less.
For IDE maybe you prefer the free kind (Open Source) we personally use a free version of Video Studio Express.
Now for art, we use Adobe Photoshop, let's say we hire 2 artists which means 2 adobe photoshop licenses: 6.5 mil x 2 artists = 13 mil.

All that will add up to 100 mil more or less for 1 casual product with only 4 people involved, (with what we can say an unrealistic calculation, 2 mil for each developer is a very rare case).

If you actually want to create a persistent world (MMORPG) it might cost you as much as 500 mil or even more than 1 bil."

The reality is, that is exactly what developers have to face when they actually trying to create a persistent world. Another developer add a little to those statement which I quoted, about the operational cost, "I just want to add a little bit more info about the Overhead Cost. The Overhead Costs consist of a bunch of things starting with electricity, internet, phone bill, water, stationary, battery, paper, ink and a lot more. I personally prefer 80% salary + 20% overhead cost system, this will make sure the comfort for all workers while at the same time get the job done."

Developer (San Fransisco Conference)
"Tons of Content: 10000 quests (20 people working, 2080 work hours/year, 1 quest every 4 hours), 10000 items (10 people working, 2080 work hours/year, 1 item every 2 hours), 50 "unique" areas (10 people working, 2080 work hours/year, 1 area every 416 hours). That gives us 40 person content team and it's tight! cost of 40 person content team/year: approx $400,000/mo x 12 = $4,800,000/year (15 mil for 3 years).

Product and Service: Billing can cost anywhere from $400 to $400,000, billing represents 2.5% - 7% of your revenue.

Customer Service $300,000/mo + ramp up cost
(Big MMO require a lot of Customer Service Representatives, about 1 rep/3,000 people and that doesn't scale linearly)

Technical Support $150,000/mo + ramp up cost.
(Trouble Ticket system can cost $5,000 - $50,000 + monthly fees)"

Well there you have it people, the numbers you will have to deal with when you are trying to create a good MMORPG. As for me, currently I spent most of my money for my training, courses and seminar in programming, game business and web development lol, all to prepare myself for the big dream. So what do you think? Is money necessary? You are the only one who has the answer.

But judging from the above quotes, I think it is save to say that Money really is IMPORTANT!

Good Luck Everyone... Never give up your dream, you will find a way.

Business and Money



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