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#1 May 03 2004 at 1:01 PM Rating: Decent
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63 posts
Is there a monthly fee you got to pay to play this game?? i no its made by blizzard which in there other online games dont charge any thing. but this game is completely Online so im thinking it'll charge money soo how much if any one knows
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#2 May 05 2004 at 1:55 PM Rating: Decent
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This is an assumption.

I gather that they will be equal to if not less than current going rates for MMORPGs. Roughly between $12 and $15 per month.

Hopefully, they will try to get everyone to play by at least making it cheaper than FFXI or EQ/EQ2.
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From Blizzard's website:

Will there be monthly fee to play the game?
Yes; however, we are still investigating our business model and have not yet determined what the fee will be.

Why isn't World of Warcraft free?
World of Warcraft will require a fee to play. This fee will be used to support the costs associated with the high-quality levels of service, support, and ongoing content creation that we are planning for World of Warcraft.

Will there be multiple methods of payment besides just credit cards?
Yes, we plan to support a range of payment methods. However, we are still working out our business model, so the specifics on which payment methods will be available have not been finalized.
#3 May 06 2004 at 5:31 AM Rating: Decent
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I hope to god it's cheaper that SWG cost, or I won't get it..... or I would have to drop Sw...no...that isn't an option!

HERE OUR CRIES BLIZZARD! MAKE IT TEN DOLLARS A MONTH!!
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#4 May 08 2004 at 8:36 PM Rating: Good
If paying $18 a month will keep out little kids, I'll gladly do that.

Problem is that not all little kids are incompetent. (Just as not all adult players are competent). Also, the high price would keep out good players as well.

<sigh>

I'm guessing that Bliz will probably start it off at $14.95 a month, but you can probably keep 2-3 chars for that. They have enough of a big name, and a fantastic reputation for games that they can get away with that price. People will still pay and play.
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Downtime Tally:
- 01/13/05 16 Hours downtime
- 01/14/05 Server crash while in instance
- 01/16/05 'Unable to log in at this time'
- 01/16/05 Server crashes and rollbacks all evening.
- 01/17/05 30 minute queues to get in. No time to wait to play.
01/18/05 Server down. No reason
#5 May 09 2004 at 3:30 PM Rating: Decent
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Probably $15. Believe me, it will be worth it. Paying for content is no problem. It is when there is no content and the providors demand up-front money to finish developing; that is the problem (think SWG & Horizons & AC2). WoW will certainly not have that problem! Heck, I pay for Allakhazam because the service deserves to be supported. I will be happy to pay for WoW.
#6 May 10 2004 at 11:59 AM Rating: Decent
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If paying 20 dollars instead of 10 keeps out all the l33t hAxx0rz and k00l d00d5, I will be happy to pay the difference. Many of the people in Beta right now were directly conscripted out of other MMORPGs. I got in through my guild, and not by actually winning the beta lottery. Even now though, while most of the people are pleasant, there are a few that seem to like to try to push other people's hotbuttons, and that will only get worse when all the people from realms and bnet come coursing in.

And no, I don't want to have pvp everywhere. Call me a carebear, but I like the peace of mind of being able to go to the bathroom without clenching over whether I might be getting killed at the time.
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#7 May 15 2004 at 8:40 PM Rating: Decent
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Um i read on what of the official sites the fee was 5 dollars
#8 May 16 2004 at 9:37 AM Rating: Decent
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58 posts
if that was true then blizzard will be a very poor company. hell that much a month can barly if able afford to pay the bandwith,let alone the maintence and paying there workers. plus blizz needs to make a profit off of this is they make no profit then WOW will be no more:(
#9 May 16 2004 at 5:30 PM Rating: Default
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148 posts
so u think that 600k players at 5 dollars a month wont be able to pay there debts? 600k x 5 thats a nice 3 million a month for them? think thats enough
#10 May 16 2004 at 5:49 PM Rating: Decent
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yes thats probly enough to break even. also just how do you think 600k people are going to play WOW? thats a pretty high number,you act like theres no other MMORPG out there. now 600k worth of people is going to take up alot of server space,now if all of those 600k people make only 1chracter the bandwith will cost about 1mil or more a month, i dont know how much bandwith cost these days. if i rember right a server on CS that supports 20 players cost like 50$ a month. then we have the WOW empolyees saleries. there should be about 100 or more people working on the game,probly getting payed 30k or more a year. then we have meitnence(sp) fees god knows how much that costs and paying the mientnence people. then theres updates. with all that added up they could break even but maybe not,but what profit is breaking even? a big fat 0,which would mean WOW isnt much of a cash flow. of course theres probly some other stuff im leaving out like how much money it took to make this game. just a little food for thought.



Edited, Sun May 16 18:52:24 2004 by Saturos
#11 May 16 2004 at 10:34 PM Rating: Default
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148 posts
well alot will leave ffxi for wow because of fee and also over 400k already play warcraft 3 alone not including diablo2 or others so ya i think it will
#12 May 16 2004 at 10:35 PM Rating: Default
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148 posts
oops also think about 600k buying game for 50+
#13 May 17 2004 at 8:32 AM Rating: Decent
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58 posts
Quote:
well alot will leave ffxi for wow because of fee
more like cuase FFXI suks. hell you can only group with people the same lv as you and people barly want to risk grouping with someone 1lv higher or lower.

Quote:
and also over 400k already play warcraft 3 alone not including diablo2
doesnt mean all of them are going to play WOW. theres a whole lot of other MMORPG's.

Quote:
[/quote]oops also think about 600k buying game for 50+[quote]
yeah but thats only for when they buy it,which only needs to be one time(unless they loose the disk,but its installed in your hardrive,so no point in buying another).
#14 May 17 2004 at 1:22 PM Rating: Decent
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I have to say that Blizzard has many a loyal following. Thousands of people still play the original Diablo. IMO, I think there will be MANY people moving from various MMORPGs over to WoW.

That being said, I think it would be a fantastic business move on Blizzards part to undercut the others fees by at least half...say $7.50 a month. Hell, if they charge $10 a month, it's less than most others out there. And with the following that Blizzard has, they will make out just fine.
#15 May 17 2004 at 5:26 PM Rating: Decent
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[/quote]That being said, I think it would be a fantastic business move on Blizzards part to undercut the others fees by at least half...say $7.50 a month. Hell, if they charge $10 a month, it's less than most others out there. And with the following that Blizzard has, they will make out just fine. [quote]

Agreed
#16 May 22 2004 at 12:14 PM Rating: Decent
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Regardless, I don't see it as feasible to pay that little. I don't care if there's 600k vs. 100k vs. 5000. That still creates the same overhead per player. With more players comes more bandwidth, the need for more servers, more GMs and support staff, etc.

To those who think the software fee will make the difference, consider how long Blizzard has gone on this project without making a cent. The software fee *might* pay the cost they've already incurred, and support the on-going development for future expansions and content. 500k people paying $50, both numbers seeming slightly high considering, would be 25M. Last I heard, Blizzard had been secretly working on this game as long as they had Warcraft 3 (which is a LONG time) and they've been doing alpha and beta testing for some time now, which knowing Blizzard, isn't about to end. One of the classes isn't in the game yet, many of the features are still being put into place, much of the content isn't ready yet...and then it needs to truly be tested and held up to player scrutiny, which Blizzard takes far more seriously than any other company. Perhaps too seriously.

Anyone thinking the monthly fee will be under $10 is dreaming, imho.
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#17 May 25 2004 at 1:38 PM Rating: Decent
Assume $50 to purchase the game.
Assume 500,000 people start up the game in the first 3 months.
Let's also say that Bliz has been working on the game for 4 years. They have what? approx 20 people programming, another 20 people for misc stuff. So let's say 40 ppl at an avg salaray of $50k a year (overestimating).

So, the payroll cost for the past 4 years would be approx $2mill.
Say another $500k for production costs. So $2.5 million to make.
Let's also say that the start up capital for the servers is $1.5 million. So that's $4 million to get everything off the ground.

In the first month, Bliz will get only the purchase costs. Say they sell the game to stores for $30 a box. And let's also say that 100,000 people join the game. That's $3 million right there.

Ok. Let's also say that of those 100,000 people, 90,000 stay and play another month, and another 75,000 people join up.
New Sales: $2.25 million
Returning Subscriptions @ $5 a month: $450,000
So that's approx $2.7 million for month 2. Add that to the $3 million from the first month and you have already recovered costs.


Now, I know I'm over estimating the amount it took to start up the game, and I'm probably underestimating what they'll sell the game for. Plus, I didn't take into account the maintenance costs for the servers. But in the first 2 months, they've already netted approx $5.7 million with approx 175,000 people staying on the servers. Assume that number gets up to at least 500000 by month 4 and you're looking at $2.5 million a month coming in from just subscription costs. That doesn't count the initial sales figures or merchandising figures, or mule accounts, etc.

Bliz will be fine charging $5 a month if it's true.
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Burninator, Dwarf Paladin on Lightbringer server.
Lvl 40 and rising.
Proud Officer of <Penguin Nation>

Downtime Tally:
- 01/13/05 16 Hours downtime
- 01/14/05 Server crash while in instance
- 01/16/05 'Unable to log in at this time'
- 01/16/05 Server crashes and rollbacks all evening.
- 01/17/05 30 minute queues to get in. No time to wait to play.
01/18/05 Server down. No reason
#18 May 25 2004 at 4:10 PM Rating: Decent
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your forgetting the price of bandwith. not to mention all of the bandwith blizz is useing for beta and whos paying for that? not us?

Quote:
So that's approx $2.7 million for month 2. Add that to the $3 million from the first month and you have already recovered costs.
so in other words there breaking even? you know how much even is? 0 0 0 0 0 0. nothin. if there not makeing any money off of WOW then the game is pretty much just a dud.

#19 May 25 2004 at 7:55 PM Rating: Decent
Saturos wrote:
your forgetting the price of bandwith. not to mention all of the bandwith blizz is useing for beta and whos paying for that? not us?

so in other words there breaking even? you know how much even is? 0 0 0 0 0 0. nothin. if there not makeing any money off of WOW then the game is pretty much just a dud.


Right...they'd break even if the game only lasted a month. I'm betting on it lasting slightly longer. Read properly before you start to rant.

Bandwidth costs per month do NOT equal $3 million. In a single year, with only 500,000 accounts and no mules, subscription costs at $5 an account would = 500,000x5x12= $30 million.
That's not counting sales of the inital game, accounts over 500k or anything else.

If the operating costs are even close to 30 million a year, that's completely wrong. For equipment and bandwidth, I'm guessing no more than $100k a month. Maximum.

I'm not saying Blizz WILL charge $5, I'm just saying they CAN and will still make a profit.
____________________________
Burninator, Dwarf Paladin on Lightbringer server.
Lvl 40 and rising.
Proud Officer of <Penguin Nation>

Downtime Tally:
- 01/13/05 16 Hours downtime
- 01/14/05 Server crash while in instance
- 01/16/05 'Unable to log in at this time'
- 01/16/05 Server crashes and rollbacks all evening.
- 01/17/05 30 minute queues to get in. No time to wait to play.
01/18/05 Server down. No reason
#20 May 26 2004 at 10:06 AM Rating: Decent
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58 posts
i guess i see your point.

Edited, Wed May 26 18:37:03 2004 by Saturos
#21 May 28 2004 at 7:23 AM Rating: Decent
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684 posts
Highly doubt it'll be $5/mo., simply because Blizzard knows it can charge more and get away with it.

Don't be fooled by a "oh this company loves its fans and doesn't want to charge them" crap. Companies exist to make money. Blizzard just happens to listen to customer feedback.


-------

As for these figures you guys are reporting, there's a whole crapload of costs neither you nor I could fathom when it comes to rolling out a game this large. However, I'll try listing a few:

1) Possibly new building (or building extension) hosting the servers needed to run the game, along with all tech support staff needed to keep servers running (those guys aren't cheap). Also, have to pay for new 'net pipes to be run to the building, along with probably a different crew of people just dedicated to keeping the net up and running (and those guys aren't cheap either).

1a) Addional cooling and electricity bill induced by the new machines (hey, it all adds up). And of course alllll the related hardware itself. Servers, networking equipment to connect the servers, people paid to connect said hardware, etc. etc. etc.

2) Bandwidth costs (as previously noted).

3) CS reps in game and telephone/email tech support personnel.

4) Programmer/artist payrolls, since I'm sure a large portion will still be on the WoW team after it goes live.

5) Advertising. Huge money expendature. YES, lots of people know about WoW. But that's a small number compared to the number of people that don't. Advertising also helps win over "converts" who would otherwise never willingly go to a WoW-oriented site to read about the game...but seeing ads in their favorite mag (accompanied by a glowing review) may change opinions.

6) Free 30 days of play. This is pretty much a guranteed. So, the first month of play, Blizzard is essentially making zero money.

7) Taxes, fees, etc. Blizzard doesn't actually keep all the money you give them.


When you add all that up, I severly doubt Blizzard could actually make a tidy profit only charging $5. Even if they COULD, why the hell wouldn't they charge 3x as much while keeping probably 95% of the player base? It would be stupid not to.
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#22 May 28 2004 at 12:49 PM Rating: Decent
Biggest competitor for WoW is going to be EQ2. Those 2 will hold 50% of the market in my humble opinion.
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#23 May 28 2004 at 5:11 PM Rating: Decent
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i see emperors point now.
#24 May 28 2004 at 8:49 PM Rating: Decent
CloakedStranger the Wise wrote:


I'm not saying Blizz WILL charge $5, I'm just saying they CAN and will still make a profit.


They could, sure, but first of all, how would they compete with SOE, Square, Turbine, etc....


I dont care if they make millions of my back and the one of the other subscribers, because those millions will be invested to bring us an even better sequel to WOW......
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#25 May 29 2004 at 1:13 PM Rating: Decent
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sequal? i think its a little to early to be talking about sequals for WOW,hell its to early to talk about open beta.
#26 Jun 03 2004 at 10:44 AM Rating: Decent
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Bottom line stands at Blizzard being way above Sony as far as quality of product. I cannot see Sony releasing EQ2 without some sort of problem just to wind up patching the hell out of it later only to compete for the market that Blizzard starting eating up with a STABLE product. Sony is already doing it with, yet, ANOTHER EQ expansion.

Blizzard is known for prolonging the products to ensure a product worth putting there name on. People, to this day, still play Warcraft 2 and Diablo (original).

Believe me when I say, Blizzard will make tons of money on this product mainly because of reputation. I will gladly pay $15/month to Blizzard if they continue the quality of work that they are known for long before I give Sony any more money for faulty products that require too much of my time patching as opposed to playing.
#27 Jun 03 2004 at 4:07 PM Rating: Decent
Saturos wrote:
sequal? i think its a little to early to be talking about sequals for WOW,hell its to early to talk about open beta.


Well, just like SOE used the funding from EQ to make EQ2, Blizzard will do the same.

If its not WoW2 then it will be WC4 or Diablo3, but anyway, its us who will benefit...
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#28 Jun 03 2004 at 5:04 PM Rating: Decent
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yeah but EQ has been out for 7 or 8years and WOW isnt even out yet,but i would like to see a WCIV.

Quote:
but anyway, its us who will benefit...
yea cuase were not going to be the ones getting taxed for every purchase.
#29 Jun 14 2004 at 7:39 AM Rating: Decent
I just wanted to point out a very important flaw here:

Quote:
So let's say 40 ppl at an avg salaray of $50k a year (overestimating).

So, the payroll cost for the past 4 years would be approx $2mill.


40 ppl x $50k = $2mill / yr. x 4 years = $8mill.

Sshado
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#30 Jun 14 2004 at 12:42 PM Rating: Decent
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i'm sure there are still other cost were forgetting too. i.e. advertising.
#31 Jun 17 2004 at 4:38 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
yeah but EQ has been out for 7 or 8years and WOW isnt even out yet,but i would like to see a WCIV.


5 years.

how many years do you think the companies spend in developpment before release? WoW is probably gonna be released close to one year after the beta started, how much time do you think they spent before that??

before they even started to actually make the game, there must have been a looong time to discuss the feasibility/profitability of the project...

I don't think it's really that early to talk about a sequel.
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#32 Jun 18 2004 at 8:58 AM Rating: Decent
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Jesus, the figures posted here are so far off its not even funny.

I've tried to avoid posting in this thread, but the sheer amount of misinformation posted here is absurd. How do I know this? I do this stuff for a living working for an even larger organization than 95% of all megacorps out there.

Chances are, Blizzard is using a TON of very high end servers. Even with a 25% discount, these servers run in the neighborhood of $1M (see IBM P690 for an example). Now we have to assume they are clustered, this brings in approximately $15k per cluster license. Chances are, they have close to 40 of these servers at the start. Thats $40+(15k*40)= 40.6M in server costs alone. This is just for the hardware. Maintenance on this class of servers runs in the neighborhood of $10k a year. So 40 * $10k = $4M a year in maintenance fees. now that we have the server hardware, we need a place to put all this stuff. These days, that means a SAN. After buying all the fibre, SAN switches and storage devices (they will need disk and tape), we are looking at nearly $4M in costs up front for a project of this size. These types of setups have a shelf-life of 3-5 years if planned properly (which is impossible).

Now, your average software developer earns abouy 60k a year. Blizzard probably has probably had more than 100 people working on this project total (managers, supervisors, programmers, artists, technical writers, QA people, sys admins, technical support, etc). For the sake of argument, lets assume 45k a year is the average pay of all the people involved. So 100 * 45k = $4.5M for one year.

Monthly costs for bandwith are likely to exceed $30k (this includes the connections and additional costs their ISP will forward on to them). Chances are they have two primary OC-3 connections and two secondary ones. This means they are spending $360k a year in external networking fees. Now they have to have a way for the servers to talk to each other. You average high-end Cisco switches run $50k - they are going to need at least two, $100k then. Plus they are going to need redundant routers as well. You average Cisco enterprise class routers run $30k, you're going to need two of these as well = $60k. Now they are going to need firewalls. Cisco PIX firewalls run $15k each, they are going to need four (two for each incoming line set). Thats another $60k.

Now consider they need to have a place to put all these things in. Buildings aren't cheap. Figure $3M for a building with a fully built server room (they don't just throw these things on concrete floors). PDU's (power units) run about $125k each. They will need at least four of them to power 40 servers. Thats another $500k. Yearly power costs for such a setup will likely run $80k a year (power companies pre-bill for large environments).

Now, we have a partial lists of all the costs (I know I'm ignoring some things like property taxes, debt, marketing (advertising), installation costs, money taken by parent company, etc). we also have to ignore the potential for doubling our network applicances (most places plan initially for full redundancy) however, their number of appliances could be 2 or more times what I listed depending on their utilization. Figure the first two years of development did not include the server costs as listed (they would probably have used servers that were already present for development work), they also wouldn't need the outside connections until around 1 year before BETA. The building would have been built early because it takes time to build them.

We also know WoW has been in development for around 4 years.

Now that we have at least some of the costs and timeframes laid out, we can come to a pretty rough (but more accurate than anything else so far) estimate of their current costs to date.

Servers: 40.6M
Maint: 4.0M
SAN: 4.0M
Staff: 4.5M X 4 = 18M
Network: 580K
Building: 3M

This yields us a total of: $70.18M in up front costs to date (estimated) for Blizzard. Now we also have to assume that the $360k a year for their OC-3s will keep recurring. Also, they will be upgrading and replacing servers as necessary. Lets assume four servers per year will be replaced with another server costing a similar amount, thats another $4M a year in recurring costs (very conservative estimate). Their staff costs are recurring, another $4M per year. Remember they have to pay taxes on all their profit too since they are an American company, assume $20% corporate taxes (includes state, Federal and any other local taxes, anyone in accounting knows this is much higher). For the sake of me not wanting to keep parsing these out, lets assume thats their full list of recurring yearly costs.

Now assume Blizzard charges $12.95 a month (a good compromise between high and low figures and a likely target). We can safely assume they will have 400k active accounts per month. This gives us $5.18M a month in income. Now we have to take taxes out first, they come to 1.036M per month. So they are bringing in about $4.144M a month in profit. Now we figure out their yearly profit: $49.728M But wait, we forgot to take into account their expenses!

$70.18M total up front.
$8.36M for years two+ for recurring costs.

This means that in year two (the first year of release) they have $78.54M in expenses already accrued.

So, they have made $49.728M in profit in year two (first release year, second year of having the major expenditures). This means they will still be in negative earnings for post-release year two by $28.812M, release year three will be their first profitable year. But this is assuming they don't open a Europoean, or Asian market as well, then they have to pay taxes on the profit they make over there, and as we all know, Europrean and Asian taxes are insane compared to ours. Also, anyone who has worked for a company owned by another can testify that parent companies love to take massive bites out of the profit of their child companies.

Is Blizzard sitting on a cash cow? Yes, but chances are good they aren't pocketing much on this project until years 3 to 4 after release. Most software companies build their business model for endeavors like this expecting to not make any profit at all until years 3 or 4. Years 1 and 2 of post-release are considered as the years to make up for previous losses.

All these figures are estimates, but very good estimates based on my experience in the industry as well as knowing how well other MMORPG's have fared in the past (Everquest still holds the MMORPG record at 550k active subscriptions at any one time - most have fared nowhere near as well, usually hovering between 200k and 400k actives).

Believe it or don't believe it, but know Blizzard has absolutely no intention of making a profit on this game until years 2 and 3 - if even then considering they have to develop, and ship expansions in order to keep their playerbase. It's basic business theory.
#33 Jun 18 2004 at 9:38 AM Rating: Decent
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Well now I too must join the thread, if only to ask serpint what this mysterious ultrasupermegawombocorp he works for is. Thanks for the informative post, but now I'm just so darned curious..
serpint wrote:
I do this stuff for a living working for an even larger organization than 95% of all megacorps out there.
Care to drop a name?
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#34 Jun 18 2004 at 9:45 AM Rating: Decent
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He can't tell you, because he works for a top-secret government organization. He'd be forced to kill me if I told you which one. jk
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#35 Jun 18 2004 at 10:35 AM Rating: Decent
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I work for the State of Ohio in their largest bureau. We have over 25000 nodes (servers+workstations) and over 50K people employed. I am pre-production system administration, planning and deployment. I basically do the work of production admins as well as everything they don't do. I get to evaluate proposals from vendors (I regularly deal with HP, Hitachi, IBM, SUN, EMC, etc), plan solutions, evaluate current needs and define future needs. Plus I used to do this in the private sector as well, so I've seen all the wonderful differences in pricing companies and states get. On my experience, states get around a 40% discount from vendors and corps get between 15-25% in discounts depending on the size of the purchase.

We can also be reasonably sure that they are running these servers ina UNIX environment, which drives the costs up due to the increased stability and scalability.

I will also include something I forgot to break down. Assuming the retailers charge $50 for the WoW box, retailers will take their chunk (around 40% of box price) The distributor will take theirs (20%. That leaves Blizzard with around 40% of the sale price of the game. So they are getting roughly $20 for each package sold. Assuming Blizz sells 500k units in the first year (each subsequent year will be a fraction of this - not to mention they will have people who won't play past the first month or so). This gives them a $10M initial return pre-taxes. After taxes, they may pocket about $8M or less (this is based on the extremely conservative estimate of 20% taxes... in actuality, corporations making profit in the US pay closer to 40% taxes). But it doesn't change the overall model that Blizzard won't make a hint of profit until release year two and won't make any tangible profit until release year 3. So they are basically working and making this game for anywhere from 3 to 5 years at their expense with only a hope for profit.

**EDIT**
Fixed some typos
********

Edited, Fri Jun 18 11:39:20 2004 by serpint
#36 Jun 18 2004 at 10:40 AM Rating: Decent
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Also, note, I said organization, not corporation ;)
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