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Sep 15, 2004



Without doubt, the 50k unique players. The fact is that from a strct business perspective, you have a segment of players who is willing to pay far more than the base price. Often, they do so by having extra accounts, but there are other means of monetization (cf Second Life, Simutronics, There, Achaea). Basically, I am betting that 50k unique people will quickly equal more than 1k unique people in revenue, and will liklely look like both a higher number of accounts and a higher net revenue.


One thing I will say about EVE: I've gotten more fan mail about it than all other games combined. People in that world are really eager to have it become more noticed.

As for the numbers: I think 50K individual accounts is better in the long run, because the community atmosphere is likely to be better. Two-boxing tends to be anti-role-playing and individualistic.


I guess I don't understand the assumption that in the case of 1k players with 50 accounts that they would be clumped while the 50k players with 1 account wouldn't be clumped. So why would one case be clumped vs the other?

I would agree with the premise that not all accounts are equal in either case, exluding the obvious difference between main and mule chars. Players have different personalities and play styles, and play habits, play time (casual vs hardcore). But that is also reflected in the game, higher levels, leader or members of various clans/corps, and friend/buddy lists.

But how do compare the various styles: explorer vs builder, organizer vs risk-taker?

In the end I think the 50k player base would offer much richer style because there would be more fusion between the various players.


Seems like 50K unique players wins either way.

Consider the pure business standpoint. One player who leaves a 50K/1-account game takes only one paying account with him, while one player who leaves a 1K/50-account game drops your subscription base by 50 paying accounts. The effect of cancellation is much larger in a multiple-account game.

You're also better off with a larger number of actual players from a roleplaying/social dynamics standpoint. As Julian Simon pointed out, increasing population carries benefits as well as costs: humans are the ultimate resource. More people playing can mean certain kinds of headaches, but along with those problems you get more diversity in brainpower applied to solving problems and creating fun for themselves and everyone else.


I guess I don't understand the assumption that in the case of 1k players with 50 accounts that they would be clumped while the 50k players with 1 account wouldn't be clumped. So why would one case be clumped vs the other?

Its a speculative point: perhaps they clump differently. E.g., more individualistic play (aka playing alt accounts) weakens the clumping.


I think the important point is that even if the 1k & 50k clump equally, you can *avoid* having the clumps leave in the 1k case. Presumeably you have 50 times the resources per real player, so can better avoid having the clumps reach that dangerous tipping point.

It also means the sunk cost accumulates *much* faster on a per player basis. Rather than $10 a month being "lost" on quitting, it is $500 per month.

Despite my title in SWG, I'm not a businessman. But I'd think the 1k situation would be preferrable. You have a better chance of understanding your demographic. You have fewer deadly exploits discovered as fewer people are trying to stack 15,000 dresses. And you get the same amount of money.

Long term viability wouldn't really end up in my equations. A mass exodous that forces you to shut down can be viewed as a good thing. You now know you are done! You can get on to new and more profitable ventures.

Compare this to a slow hemmorage over many years, where you see your profit margins slowly collapse. Every year you have to strip back resources and wonder: "Is this the final year?" Business owners tend to have the same sunk-cost mindset as players. They'll keep pouring time into the game for increasinly little return. A quick, catastrophic, failure would seem more humane to the developer!

So, yeah, sign me up for 1k with 50 accounts. I'd like to know where you get the 1k people with $500 per month disposable income though :>

- Brask Mumei



Fictitious calculations made with fictitious numbers, this is what economists do best!

So just to even out the arguments made here, I'm gonna go with Brask, and say that 1k members that spend $500/mo. would be pretty cool.

While I understand the downside of losing one customer, look at the upside. Find one new customer and they have a lifetime value of what? $3-4,000? That's pretty cool. I would think with numbers like that you could put together a pretty good marketing proposal to go after all the potential customers that would be willing to pay $499-$10 a month.

That said, I also have to agree with Raph, in that, if you have 50k customers all paying the same, you are missing a number of revenue opportunities.

At the end of the day though, I think there are a number of companies in the MMO industry that would be plenty happy with either case.

Congrats EVE!!


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