Boathammer : Age of Bloggening

June 29, 2008

Setting the Odds on the WAR Release Date

Filed under: Speculation — Tags: , — boatorious @ 1:36 am

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The last time WAR was pushed back, it was pushed back from Q4 2007 to Q3 2008. Since Q3 is already upon us and we’re not yet in open beta, some of us are no doubt wondering — will we see the release date push back again? And if it is pushed back, how far?

I’d say we probably will not see the date pushed back, and if we do, it will probably not be pushed back very far.

The two reasons why I don’t expect to see much of a delay now are the original delay and the simple facts of MMOG economics.

Why the Original Delay makes another delay unlikely

At some point Mythic went to their bosses at EA, hat in hand, and said “Please oh please please please can we have another 9 months.” Their bosses at EA said, “Why?”, and Mythic replied “The game is not in good shape and it will make you a ton more money in 9 months.”

EA went along with the replan and I think it’s been a good decision. However this greatly reduces Mythic’s options for further delays. It’s one thing to ask your boss for a short extension (let alone a long one). Asking for a second is another entirely.

Why MMO economics favor release or at most a short delay

Mythic did the right thing in delaying the game the first time because, in terms of phase planning (or whatever gaming companies call it), they were still entrenched in the “development” phase. While in the development phase Mythic is paying, say, 100 artists and developers and also a skeleton support staff (for alpha or beta servers). Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that they are burning through (not a real number) about a million dollars a month in payroll and overhead.

So when Mythic asked for that first delay, they were basically asking for a nine-month delay of return on investment, and also nine million extra dollars.

What about now? Well, we’re now getting closer to release. As Mythic ramps up to release they are going to start burning through money much more quickly. They’ll need to buy or rent a ton of server equipment, the space for the equipment, the bandwidth for the equipment, and support staff for the equipment. They’ll also need to hire a 24*7 customer support (GM) staff. These are not things you can do overnight and are likely well underway.

So how much money is Mythic burning through now? We should be able to at least triple the original monthly cost of the game, so now Mythic is burning through (not a real number) 3 million a month.

So it’s likely that a relatively short three month delay, were it to happen today, would cost EA and Mythic about as much money as the original nine month delay.

If I were a betting man

The game will be no more than one month late.


1 Comment »

  1. Actually, this past delay WAS the second delay for Warhammer so far… originally was going to launch late 2007. So they’ve asked EA for two extensions… but yeah, don’t think they’re going to push it to a third.

    Comment by Syp — July 8, 2008 @ 2:36 pm

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