Titan Likely Cost Blizzard More Than $50 Million

| 24 Sep 2014 00:20
Blizzard Entertainment Office

Analysts predict Titan cost Blizzard anywhere from $50 to $140 million.

After the news broke that Blizzard pulled the plug on Titan, a project they've been working on for seven years, analysts took to estimating how much that cancellation actually cost.

Michael Pachter, research analyst for Wedbush Securities, believes the costs tied to Titan are very high, "My guess is 100-200 people at $100,000 per year, so $70-140 million sunk cost. It's pretty sad that it took so long to figure out how bad the game was. I expect them to go back to the drawing board."

Game industry analyst Billy Pidgeon believes the numbers are a bit less than that, but still high from a development standpoint, "Development costs for Titan may have amounted to tens of millions, perhaps $50 million or more." Pidgeon does make clear that this happens quite a bit, "Blizzard has cancelled several games in various stages of development in the past."

But despite the high costs associated with working on Titan, analysts predict the cost of shipping out a bad product was a bigger risk, both in terms of money and credibility. "Costs for unreleased games can be significant," states Pidgeon, "but launching substandard games can harm the reputation of a successful publisher such as Blizzard. Expenses for development can be considered R&D, and benefits can include invaluable training, IP and technology that can be applied to other games."

This coincides with Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime's public statement on the matter, "We had created World of Warcraft, and we felt really confident that we knew how to make MMOs. So we set out to make the most ambitious thing that you could possibly imagine. And it didn't come together. We didn't find the fun. We didn't find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that's the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no."

DFC Intelligence's David Cole believes this will help the company revamp their business model, "For Blizzard, I am expecting to see them continue to focus on high quality products but also focus on products with shorter development cycles and less cost. The market is just not in a place where you can have games with 7+ year development. It is changing too fast."

As an aside, given the ambition and the MMO comparisons continuously being made on Destiny, it might not be farfetched to assume Bungie's game was also a factor in the decision-making.

Source: Gamesindustry.biz

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thetoddo:
Personally I find FPS' not to be fun at all, but I acknowledge that even if I don't see the value myself a lot of people do and the the makers of these games are filling that need.

I may respect the opinions of others (to a point), but I have my reasons for hating grind, and wishing it would go away in gaming so more brevity and actual effort would prevail.

Even with those stipulations, I'm not entirely convinced anyone actually "likes grind" any more than a drug-fiend "likes being addicted" to something (not the high they get from the drug, but specifically the addiction aspect).

Don't bother trying to convince me of the benefits/joys of grinding; I've seen all that rubbish and rationalization before, and the best argument to date is that grind can work as a skill training regimen (and even that line of thought has its limits).

Atmos Duality:
Oh noes. The world was deprived of another amazing grindfest.
They cited the game as being "unfun" but I can't fathom why.

Everyone loves grinding. It's the most fun thing ever. WoW proves it. I mean, WoW has the biggest sub numbers EVER.
And as we all know, revenue numbers translate directly into quality fun.

(yes, I'm being extremely sarcastic)

Some people like grinding. There are apparently millions who do and I don't begrudge them their (and in the interest of full disclosure, occasionally my) fun. Personally I find FPS' not to be fun at all, but I acknowledge that even if I don't see the value myself a lot of people do and the the makers of these games are filling that need. My takeaway is that Blizzard still isn't afraid to throw out a project if it's not going to be as fun/polished/complete as they feel it needs to be. That's a good thing, how many other developers will ship a terrible game just to try and make back some of what they invested?

Thats not a huge money drain for such a big company. Its 50 ish million over 7 years.

They probably made back that money in the last year of Heartstone, that game has blown up to a ridiculous degree. 20 million fucking accounts, jesus. I spent a hundred bucks on that game and if the average player spent less then 50 Id be surprised.

shintakie10:

WanderingFool:
That sucks... but oh well, it is better to not have it and dream of what it could have been, rather than have it and realise just how bad it could have been.

Though, Im curious... was there any information about what titan was suppose to be? while it sucks they closed it down, could they release a peek at what they were planning? If anything, thats the one thing Im truly curious for and was looking foward to.

Probably nothing. What little we've gotten is waffling around and shuffling around of people. Chances are the most the have is scrapped concept art for a thousand different games because they didn't even know what kind of game they wanted to make.

Oh, well shit. Its a good thing that they pulled the plug then.

"[...]The market is just not in a place where you can have games with 7+ year development. It is changing too fast."

This is the sadest and most worrying part of the hole statement. As it probably become an excuse "If Blizzard can't do it no one can!" let's rush out more generic games. Even more eyes on Valve (Half Life left 4 Dead Fortress X) now then before.

Mortis Nuncius:

Mezahmay:
Also, does the news post say it was posted December 31, 1969?

With The Escapist's new time-travel technology, contributors can get the information out before they even have the technology to do so. It's all part of their strategy to be the first in breaking news.

And I was able to write it before I was even born. Games press is no joke.

Oh noes. The world was deprived of another amazing grindfest.
They cited the game as being "unfun" but I can't fathom why.

Everyone loves grinding. It's the most fun thing ever. WoW proves it. I mean, WoW has the biggest sub numbers EVER.
And as we all know, revenue numbers translate directly into quality fun.

(yes, I'm being extremely sarcastic)

WanderingFool:
That sucks... but oh well, it is better to not have it and dream of what it could have been, rather than have it and realise just how bad it could have been.

Though, Im curious... was there any information about what titan was suppose to be? while it sucks they closed it down, could they release a peek at what they were planning? If anything, thats the one thing Im truly curious for and was looking foward to.

Probably nothing. What little we've gotten is waffling around and shuffling around of people. Chances are the most the have is scrapped concept art for a thousand different games because they didn't even know what kind of game they wanted to make.

AstaresPanda:

WhiteTigerShiro:

AstaresPanda:
I think they just dont want to admit just how much of a fluke WoW was in some respects

Maybe you feel asleep over the past few years when Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 released.

Are you sleeping ? Blizz was not known for anything else other then warcarft (RTS) and starcraft(RTS) and diablo. And WoW being their FIRST MMO and it was a HUGE success to me thats kinda lucky considering how it blew up.

I guess I just don't consider "studio that's known for releasing top-notch games releases a game that does amazingly well" to be the story of a fluke.

WhiteTigerShiro:

AstaresPanda:
I think they just dont want to admit just how much of a fluke WoW was in some respects

Maybe you feel asleep over the past few years when Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 released.

Are you sleeping ? Blizz was not known for anything else other then warcarft (RTS) and starcraft(RTS) and diablo. And WoW being their FIRST MMO and it was a HUGE success to me thats kinda lucky considering how it blew up.

As someone who isn't into MMOs, a game I'd have never played anyway not coming out doesn't disappoint me. I do feel bad for the developers who put in all the man-hours for it though. I don't doubt they were at least trying their best to make a fun game, so having it openly stated by Blizzard that it flat-out wasn't must sting. There are a lot of talented people in Blizzard, so I hope they go on to make something that passes muster.

That sucks... but oh well, it is better to not have it and dream of what it could have been, rather than have it and realise just how bad it could have been.

Though, Im curious... was there any information about what titan was suppose to be? while it sucks they closed it down, could they release a peek at what they were planning? If anything, thats the one thing Im truly curious for and was looking foward to.

AstaresPanda:

dragongit:
And yet Bungie still has yet to explain exactly where all 500 million of their development went into Destiny... I'd really like to know.

Marketing. Not much of a game to justify 500 fucking mill. I would still like to know if SC:GHOST was ever going to see the light of day, i mean they had gameplay and trailers and then nothing. I think they just dont want to admit just how much of a fluke WoW was in some respects

What do you mean? They stated Ghost was cancelled not too many years after development began. It didn't just quietly die, they were pretty clear that they cancelled it as I recall.

thats the problem tho.
blizzard (and other mmo makers too) seem to be unable to be satisfied with anything less than a 'wow killer' and there in lies the problem.

they wont consider making 'farmers-MMO' and 'FPS-space-MMO' and 'Fantasy-lifestyle-MMO' for niche audiences, because they are all obbsessed with making 'wow-killer-MMO' instead.
untill someone (and that someone does not have to be a major player, just someone smart enough to avoid the shareholder-says issue.and someone other than EVE, because everyone knows EVE is niche but no one in the biz will admit that there are other niches to exploit, appart from 'casual' titals like king makes) actualy steps up and says
'you know what? there are LOADS of players we can expliot, ah i mean cater to....if we stop looking to make max-wow-killer-500, and instead focus on other niche users. hardcore permadeath fanatics. hardcore roleplayers. lovecraftian horror fans. you name it, if we can find a community willing to play it (and buy it. dont have to be buy to sub, or even free2pay lol) we should make it'

at least that way, some of us would get a game we can call home lol. and smaller niche markets are easier to work with. provided you also realise that you need to stick to the original group. its no good making a racecar apocalipse game about prisoners racing for their freedom and then, someone starts yelling in the forums that they want a farming sim thrown in. a gambling pvp fight pit maybe but you know what i mean. too often someone outside the niche comes along and wants what THEY prefer adding into a game that they like for a little part of it. like shoehorning in PvP to a PvE game because a few want it in every game ever now. and dont be scared to make a game that has no pvp or has no pve. just make sure to advertise exactly what is and isnt ever going to be in it. dont add in pvp afterwards to please the hardcore, or pvp-free islands just to please the peace players. stick to what you say, becasue that niche audience will prefer you for it.

Oh man, they're refocusing on smaller successful titles? This could be great news...

Can you imagine $50-$100 million spent on those smaller games instead? Dozens of fun smaller titles with reasonable financial support? Yes, yes please.

Man, I know pulling the plug must be hard, especially after years and millions of dollars, that project is your baby. But I kind of really respect Blizzard for this decision; it shows they know when to quit, instead of a shipping a game that you know isn't going to meet expectations. To be honest I don't think anything can one-up WoW until WoW dies, not even another Blizzard MMO.

well for me, the original res evil were the first *mature* games i played. by that i mean, they were tie first games i had played where there was gore or bloody violence.
i was brought up on 1960-1970 scifi. things like dr who, original star trek and blakes 7. so the storyline wasnt actualy that bad for me. i was used to groan level stuff.

i think the problem was that capcom saw the popularity of FPS games in general and someone had that thought that goes 'hey, if it worked for [insert fps game here] it might help make our game more appealing to the mainstream. we both have guns, right?'
course that does not work when the main audience for your game does not want to be a fps game.
and the mainstream does not actualy *like* your style of game to begin with. sometimes it actualy IS better to stick with the customers you know. at least as they get older, their spending power grows.

i did enjoy res 4 but thats as far as my enjoyment went. res 5 was 10 mins (including the start cutscenes) and then i was duely murdered in my tracks by the chainsaw guy. and since i couldnt take my save anywhere (without the system itself) there was no point trying to get someone to help me past that point. i guess maybe i should consider trading it? nah, its not worth trading unless it goes with the console as the 'look there is a game with it' sort of thing. i never even thought of touching res 6

i think the old games sold because we used to think that difficulty and punishment meant the same thing back then. you got better, or you found a walkthru on gamefaqs.

Imagine if they put all that money and man hours to updating the WoW engine. It would truly become an eternal game then.

Silverbane7:
they just need to admit that these days, MMO's that cater to everyone are hard to make.
they would make a tone of cash (relatively speaking) if they made a starcraft based mmo. but it would be a niche tital, that would only appeal to fans of that game (likely, and to those who love scifi mmo's)
but because it wont make the megaton that wow has, they think its not worth it.

here's the secret tho.....

the only way past world of warcraft....is to make niche MMOs.
we've seen so many games these days, try to 'diversify their playerbase' themselves into oblivion.
resident evil, going from a well known and loved (by the now 'older gen' players) survival horror game going into a fps based not so horror action game.
and what do they do now? re-relase the original game as a hd remake. (and no, i am not grumbling about that. im GLAD they have a hd remake so that gamers who havent a clue what a gamecube is, can enjoy all the things about rez evil i loved on my gamecube)

these companies need to stop trying to make wow killers. wow will eventualy die off. ether entropy will eat it (along with player dissatisfaction or other issues) or they will eventualy finish it and move onto a remake at higher graphics (wow 2 as it were, in the same line as everquest 2)

someone needs to poke them and say 'you know what? there is nothing wrong with having a dedicated 1million subscribers to a niche game, especialy if you have 5 seperate niche games running at the same time. thats still 5 mill subs, just spread over 5 titals. nothing shamefull about that.'

For the love of Sterling people, a third person game cannot be an FPS! How can you even make such a silly mistake!

And to be honest, I have no idea why the original games sold. The original games are terrible survival horror games with even worse plots, the new titles are terrible third person shooters with...well pretty average quality plots for the genre. The only game that did what it was trying to be well was Resident Evil 4. Plain and simple.

And on your point of MMOs, I agree, we need more niche MMOs. Need more EVE Online style games too. Too bad I'm too poor for a subscription game else I'd dive on EVE Online in an instant.

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