Loan Guarantees

Look Inside 38 Studios Disaster Shows Overconfident, Clueless Curt Schilling

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Jason Schwartz and Boston Magazine provide a thorough autopsy of 38 Studios, the fledgling video game company started by former Red Sox star Curt Schilling that received $50 million of a $75 million guaranteed loan from the state of Rhode Island to produce a fantasy online role-playing game, only to burn through the money and collapse.

WOW non-killer

Schwartz managed to snag interviews with Schilling and several of his employees and paints a picture of a man who really had little idea about how to run a game development company. Schilling blew through millions of his own savings as well as public funds with a terrible plan that scared potential investors away:

By 2006, Curt Schilling had earned more than $90 million playing baseball, not including endorsements. But what he really aspired to was being "Bill Gates rich." He admired the global impact the Microsoft founder had made through his philanthropy, and wanted to do the same. Schilling, who has an autistic son, imagined providing $200 million to open the Shonda Schilling Center for Autism Research.

Creating a video game would be what catapulted him to that wealth. More specifically, he would build a massively multiplayer online game (or, blessedly abbreviated, an MMO) — the type that allows people from across the world to play with and against one another. As a kid, Schilling had been obsessed with computers (his first was an Apple II), and during his baseball career, rather than go out carousing, he spent his time playing MMOs. A favorite of his was the industry leader, World of Warcraft, a vast fantasy landscape filled with wizards, elves, and warriors that has more than 10 million paying subscribers.

Successful MMOs are incredibly lucrative, but they're also the hardest type of game to build. You're programming not just a game, explains Dan Scherlis, the first CEO of Turbine, a maker of MMOs, but a complex social system for thousands, if not millions, of users. A normal video game might require a couple of years to develop, but an MMO takes at least twice as long. Because of that, many gaming entrepreneurs start small, working their way up from something simple for a mobile device, or perhaps a single-player game for PlayStation or Xbox. But Schilling had grander ideas. He was going to challenge World of Warcraft. His fantasy world would be similar (you want elves and wizards, you've got elves and wizards), but he envisioned deeper plot lines and more-striking visuals. He persuaded R. A. Salvatore, the bestselling novelist from Leominster, to dream up the fictional universe, and the famed comic artist Todd McFarlane, a noted baseball fan, to conceive its artistic vision.

If Schilling's story were a Shakespearean tragedy, "He was going to challenge World of Warcraft," would be the line in which you realized the hero was doomed. World of Warcraft currently has more than 10 million subscribers. This is a drop in numbers over the last two years. According to figures from a site devoted to tracking MMO subscription numbers, no other game out there comes anywhere close. Even an MMO about Star Wars couldn't crack 2 million. This was a doomed plan from the start.

Schilling also had no real sense on how to run a start-up business, which became apparent long before he went begging Rhode Island for money. He launched the company with $5 million of his own and expected investors to come on board to pay the rest (he estimated the cost to produce an MMO as $40-50 million. World of Warcraft cost somewhere around twice that to build and maintain). He blew through tons of his own money in perks for employees.  He made many, many questionable decisions:

Schilling put his wife, Shonda, on the board of directors. Shonda's father received a job in IT (by all accounts, he performed admirably), and her mother was given the title "philanthropy and charity manager." Meanwhile, Shonda's uncle, William Thomas, became COO. Though a seasoned businessman, Thomas had no experience with video games, much less MMOs. Schilling took to calling him "Uncle Bill" around the office, and even in meetings with outsiders. According to the case study, Thomas told Schilling it was making them look bad and to stop. The nickname caught on with the staff, anyway.

Most troublesome of all was the unique profit-sharing plan Schilling devised for his first employees. Wasserman, Bussgang, and Gordon write that, since Schilling was bank-rolling the company by himself, he was hesitant to give up equity in it. So instead of luring early prospective hires with stock options, he promised to share all profits 50-50 with them. Upon arriving as CEO, Close recognized that "investors' heads would explode" when they saw the model, since they'd be bearing all the risk but reaping only half the reward. Close eventually convinced Schilling to scrap the policy and replace it with stock options.

But investors would have nothing to do with the extremely risky venture. Schwartz spoke with Todd Dagres of Spark Capital in Boston. He looked at what was going on at the company and decided against investment:

"He was very forthcoming to tell you how much of his own money he put in," Dagres recalls. Schilling tells me that he considered that kind of disclosure a selling point: "I assumed that they would look at it as, 'If he's this far in, it's not going to fail. He's not going to let this thing fail.'" Instead, Dagres was shocked that Schilling was plunging so much into such a risky venture. The VC left with his checkbook firmly closed.

Time and again, though, Schilling emerged from meetings like this one thinking he'd hit a home run. "There was never a single one that he didn't walk out of saying he absolutely killed it," says a former employee who attended a number of investor meetings. But over and over, there was no investment. Still, Schilling remained optimistic. "Curt sincerely believed that Copernicus was the best thing since sliced bread," the former employee says. He "could not imagine a scenario where other people would not see the same potential he did. His attitude is always, This is gonna happen, the deal is going to close.

It's quite remarkable how little Schilling grasped about the business side of his favorite hobby. Video game enthusiasts who don't have the millions to invest that Schilling did are more than capable of grasping why Schilling kept striking out. So, then, it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that Schilling didn't realize that turning to the government for a massive loan would turn Project Copernicus pretty much radioactive. Video games obviously and clearly do not need government support in order to succeed in the marketplace. The Rhode Island loan had to have been seen as a giant red flag to potential investors.

Schilling takes a lot of the blame for the company's failure, but still wants to point the finger at Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee for revealing confidential information about the company (such as that the company spending $4million a month).

But after reading the ridiculous way the company had been operating, Chafee comes out smelling like a hero. Rhode Island taxpayers have every right to be upset. This was an indefensible use of government funding.

More Reason on this subsidizing gaming disaster.

NEXT: Gene Healy on Why Gary Johnson Should Be in the Debates

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  1. One of 38 Studio’s former employees joined our company about 6 weeks ago.

    1. Hopefully your company properly vetted him or her, i.e., please tell us that the employee absolutely is opposed to any state subsidies.

    2. Hopefully your company properly vetted him or her, i.e., please tell us that the employee absolutely is opposed to any state subsidies.

      1. A purity test for prospective employees? You favor that kind of thing, Mr. “Liberty”? I should think that they’d be interested in whether he could do the work. Period.

        1. Chances are, if they favor socialism, they are incompetent and won’t be able to do the work.

          Perhaps the electorate should have so vetted the O man.

          1. There is quite a bit of difference between explicitly favoring socialism, and favoring government subsidies. And it does not follow that someone in favor of government subsidies is incompetent at his job.

  2. K I S S

  3. BS. You’re not “doomed from the start” just because you dream big and take on a dominant company. Dominant companies get unseated all the time, especially in software. Did Google give up because Yahoo was dominant in search? Were they afraid of Alta-Vista?

    With big risk comes big reward, and also, often, big failure. But that doesn’t mean it’s a mistake to try.

    1. No, it’s not necessarily doomed from the start to take on World of Warcraft. But Schilling’s plan was definitely doomed from the start. A number of failed MMOs have tried the “WOW but prettier” attack and failed.

      1. Especially with his 0 in software and management experience.

      2. This.

        I am certain that WOW will one day be unseated, however it will not be by a WOW clone, it will be by something that is radically different from WOW.

        1. I’m kinda excited about Guild Wars 2 which, after having played in the beta events, appears to be the first MMO in 10 years or so to really take a hard look at the core game mechanics that have been common to nearly every MMO since WoW and try making changes. They may not succeed, but give how much the genre has stagnated, it’s exciting to see someone at least trying to shake things up.

        2. I’m kinda excited about Guild Wars 2 which, after having played in the beta events, appears to be the first MMO in 10 years or so to really take a hard look at the core game mechanics that have been common to nearly every MMO since WoW and try making changes. They may not succeed, but give how much the genre has stagnated, it’s exciting to see someone at least trying to shake things up.

    2. I agree. I don’t believe it was doomed from the start. But it was definitely a terrible idea to put all his eggs in that one very risky basket. No wonder he couldn’t find investors.

    3. http://www.develop-online.net/…..s-made-50m

      Finnish mobile giant Rovio has made ?50 million ($70m) from the Angry Birds brand, according to reports.

      The bird-flinging game has become a mobile phenomenon, remaining at the top half of the App Store charts for over twelve months.

      Tech site Wired, as part of its interview with Rovio, claims the Angry Birds brand has made over ?50 million across all products.

      That striking sum includes sales from the App Store game, the ad-supported free Android version, as well as soft toys and other merchandise.

      The game itself cost around ?100,000 ($140k) to build and update, Wired claimed.

      Schilling is a really dumb fuck.

      1. Rovio was around for 6 years, with a bunch of games that did nothing prior to the Angry Birds franchise. Looking at their one hit (as a franchise) in a vacuum isn’t a fair comparison.

        1. It’s perfectly fair.

          I expect that the norm is that a bunch of small organizations struggle to remain afloat for 5 or 6 years and then die because they can’t come up with the killer ap.

          I also expect that a handful of small organizations can actually make it to the big time after struggling for 5 or 6 years.

          And I definitely expect that the odds of a new organization starting from scratch without any relevant experience and then unseating the dominate player in the martket to be less than one in a trillion. In otherwords, there could never have been a positive business case for Schilling’s venture.

          1. less than one in a trillion

            Google is one.
            Microsoft is one.

            As Im pretty sure there have been less than 2 trillion companies over the last 30 years, you are way off.

            1. I think you need to take Microsoft off that list. It didn’t startup as the IBM killer people think of it as. They bounced around for a decade before coming out with windows and dethroning IBM.

        2. By the way, the 50 million in public funds that Schilling burned through would have financed 350 angry-bird-like development efforts.

          1. That still doesn’t justify the subsidies’ existence. Well, nothing really justifies any subsidies existence.

            1. Subsidies in general are evil.

              A huge subsidy given to one extremely high-risk enterprise is stupid.

              So stupid and evil trumps merely evil.

    4. With big risk comes big reward, and also, often, big failure. But that doesn’t mean it’s a mistake to try.

      No, it’s not a mistake to try, but it was a mistake to try the way he did.

      Blizzard was no newcomer to the block. They were a tried-and-true company who had results, and already had the core components of what was necessary for an MMO… they were also early to market in the realm of MMOs as we think of them today.

      Schilling was making several mistakes:

      1. Taking on a market which is beginning to look saturated.
      2. Trying to start something which even Blizzard, the kings of the mountain didn’t do as an inexperienced company.
      3. Do it with an idea that investors wouldn’t touch, but the government would- a sure sign of impending failure.

      But you’re right, big players do get unseated. What I think you’ll find, though, is that when big players get unseated, people rarely beat them at their game, they create a new game and do an end-run around them.

      1. Great post, Paul.

      2. Do it with an idea that investors wouldn’t touch, but the government would- a sure sign of impending failure.

        Like high speed rail?

    5. You can be Google and take on Yahoo if the guy at the top personally has the product knowledge and at least SOME engineering knowledge.

      The only guy I know of in tech who took on a project despite having 0 personal technical knowledge or skill and succeeded is Bezos. And he had his insight so early that he had a virgin field to deal with.

      You can’t walk in to a project with 0 business experience, 0 brains, and 0 technical knowledge and succeed. You can’t hire people to do the thinking for you. It never works.

  4. The irony of Schilling’s hubris is that if he had started small, like investing an a few small phone app developers, and built from there he probably could have jumped into the video game market in the next 5-10 years or so.

    That’s assuming, of course, that video games retain their financial consumer spending power, which is questionable at this point. The most recent-gen consoles are approaching, what, 6 or 7 years on the market, with little expected in the near future? What possible gaming experience could Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft provide in the next 2-3 years that people can’t already get on their iPads or current consoles/computers?

    I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see a video game industry crash sometime in the next five years or so, if not sooner. The industry’s been riding a wave for about 12 years now, and it’s been great, but sooner or later there’s going to be a major downturn.

    1. One of the founders of Cracked has a great essay on the cyclical nature of the gaming biz, and how they are overdue for a down cycle.

      1. It would be an upcycle if Valve would ever get done with HL3. Dammit.

      2. I miss the arcade.

        1. Me too. Defender was my addiction.

        2. I actually do, too. I have a lot of fond childhood memories of losing two weeks worth of allowance and odd-job cash in one afternoon playing Street Fighter 2, Arch Rivals, Final Fight, and other assorted trash.

          I sometimes think the only reason parents began buying Nintendos and Segas in the late 80s-early 90s was because they did the math and figured spending about $500-1000 on a console and games that would last 4 or 5 years was cheaper in the long run than giving Junior money every weekend for the arcade.

    2. There is definitely going to be a video game crash soon. EA is snuffing its developers like a methodical serial killer. Sony has never seen a dime of profit from its Playstation division – I don’t even know why they would bother making a PS4 at this point. Nintendo has not been doing well since the 3DS’ “muted” reception, and so far the reception to their planned console has been lukewarm. I don’t think the Wii lightning is going to strike twice, there’s no reason to think the casual gamers that bought a Wii are going to go for the Wii U.

      Microsoft at least has people paying for Xbox live, but who knows how much they lost dealing with the early Xbox hardware issues. They are also trying as hard as they can to get blood out of the stone that is the Kinect, which has the astonishing function of being even more useless for gaming than the Wiimotes and the Playstation Move. Playing games with it is like trying to teach a koala to write by waving your arms.

      If I were a betting man I’d put at least 2 companies of the four I listed not survive 5 years (at least their gaming divisions wouldn’t survive).

      1. Nintendo, in my opinion, really fucked up by catering to the child/family demographic with the Wii, choosing short-term gains over long-term development, and I think it’s ultimately going to bite them in the ass. They may have gained a short-term boost due to the uniqueness of the motion-sensor wands, but let’s be real–the games and graphics are far inferior in quality, both visually and in gameplay, to the other consoles.

        Nintendo made their repuatation on coming out with relatively affordable consoles that played games which were cutting edge both in playability AND in graphical development. Stuff like the original Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Castlevania, etc., are iconic for a reason. They haven’t come up with anything for the Wii that matches them.

  5. and her mother was given the title “philanthropy and charity manager.”

    I worked for a start-up that was donating thousands of dollars each month to charitable foundations. Since we weren’t really turning a profit yet, I questioned prudence of it immediately. Why were we giving money that we weren’t making away? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on hiring more employees or incentivizing current ones? I was told it was a marketing tactic to make us look bigger and more successful than we actually were and that it would garner more business and investors. A year later, they didn’t have enough money to keep making the regular donations and laid off a couple of employees. 6 months after that I was looking for a new job.

    1. I would have been looking for a new job as soon as management told me their plan for brand building, for a freakin’ startup, was based on charitable donations.

      1. That was only one of many bad ideas they had… but I was young and assumed they knew better than I did. Fortunately, I found a new job before my last paycheck.

        1. Glad to hear it.

          Speaking from experience (twice, now), being without an income is incredibly stressful.

    2. I was told it was a marketing tactic to make us look bigger and more successful than we actually were and that it would garner more business and investors.

      DING DING DING!

      Yep, worked for a company that acted the same way. We were selling a shit product which wasn’t even complete, were losing money hand over fist, and the management fuck-ups were talking about creating a corporate responsibility and charitable giving department.

      God I hate these people with a passion.

      1. but that is the type folks who should be predictable, what with the power elite condemning success, bleating about corporate and social responsibility and giving back, and all the rest. The idea of considering the what a business really is does not make it into the discussion.

      2. We share a common hate.

        Your post and RedDragon’s and Schilling’s story prompts this:

        Yesterday, I was debating a colleague about the practice of certain Massachusetts and greater New England retail establishments, such as Dunkin Donuts, StopShop;, Hannafords and Regal Cinemas, soliciting contributions to the Jimmy Fund at the point of sale.

        I think it is a horrible policy. It demonstrates a distinct lack of concern for the time of the customer. My colleague lamely argued that the extra time waiting in line is no big deal and that partnering with a charity may be fufilling the corporate responsibility objectives of the companies who practice the policy.

        What do you think?

        1. I think if you’re going to partner with and support a charitable organization, you shouldn’t be hitting your customers up for donations when they’re buying your products. You’re essentially saying to your customer that they aren’t paying enough for your products to fund your philanthropic efforts. Publix does this all the time. They reap the benefits of good press for huge charitable donations and all the customer gets is a stupid piece of paper taped up at the register with their name on in showing they paid extra for the privilege of funding your company’s pet cause.

          1. hitting your customers up for donations when they’re buying your products. You’re essentially saying to your customer that they aren’t paying enough for your products to fund your philanthropic efforts.

            Interesting point…

          2. Good point, that is another angle which I had not considered.

        2. I think it is a horrible policy. It demonstrates a distinct lack of concern for the time of the customer. My colleague lamely argued that the extra time waiting in line is no big deal and that partnering with a charity may be fufilling the corporate responsibility objectives of the companies who practice the policy.

          I dunno, these are established companies which (I’m assuming) are profitable. I don’t have a whole lot of trouble when these places solicit for a charity. It might add a few seconds in the line, and some do it entirely electronically. When you swipe your card, the kiosk will ask you if you want to donate to blah-blah and you click ‘yes/no’ buttons. No interaction with the clerk.

          But I do see your point that in aggregate, they’re adding time and additional cost to the transaction so they can feel “responsible”.

          no big deal and that partnering with a charity may be fufilling the corporate responsibility objectives of the companies who practice the policy.

          On this specifically, I think the ‘corporate responsibility’ angle is a big lie.

          You’re making a profit and employing people, now do something responsible… I’ve always been offended by that. But I have no problem with the idea that a company wants to do something charitable. But corporate ‘responsiblity’? Pshaw. I always thought that if I formed a (profitable) company, I would create an office called “Corporate charity” and be done.

          1. Personal note: My city council just banned plastic bags after a public vote rejected the ban. Stores have to offer bags at 5c a pop.

            I no longer give a dollar to the charity (usually breast cancer) to pay for the bags. Anyone who asks me about it, I tell them why. Foregoing a $1 donation pays for 20 bags.

            1. A good motto: Philanthropy is great as long as it is on your dime and time.

              The “look at us we give back to charity” campaigns are insufferable, for me, anyways. I like the Francis Albert Sinatra method – give with the request that the donee not disclose the identity of the donor.

              1. give with the request that the donee not disclose the identity of the donor.

                That’s my big bugaboo. Donate a million bucks, anonymously. Don’t get a campus building named after you.

        3. My colleague lamely argued that the extra time waiting in line is no big deal and that partnering with a charity may be fufilling the corporate responsibility objectives of the companies who practice the policy.

          If that is the case, they can easily fill that objective by setting up a voluntary donation box at the counter and send the donations once a month or so. Hell, even put up a sign in the window saying “Please donate to this charity!” But don’t harangue customers into donating money; it’s nothing more than guilt by attrition and people will resent you for it.

          I remember our floor employees and managers doing the St. Jude’s Begathon every summer when I worked for United Artists Theaters in college, and I was glad to be stuck in concessions where I didn’t have to do that shit.

  6. Try this:

    If Schilling’s story were a Shakespearean tragedy pitch was for VC funds , “He was going to challenge World of Warcraft,” would be the line in which you realized the hero was doomed point at which savvy investors headed for the door.

    Sure, you can challenge a dominant company with a devoted client base. You might even win. But not if that’s the very first thing you try to do.

    1. If Schilling’s story were a Shakespearean tragedy pitch was for VC funds

      Ahh, the early aughts… who wasn’t caught up in that time? Flakey “top men” in suits buying companies for a promise of stock, creating their flagship products after the company was formed. Tracts about “solution selling, vertical markets, sales pipelines, b2b consulting firms”…

      Oh how fast people could burn through capital and produce bupkiss…

      1. I worked for a dot com in the early aughts. Looking back, our CEO must have been the worst businessman on the face of the earth, because he managed to found and run into the ground a very high margin business within the span of 5 years. ALL of our competitors are still in business. I don’t have a fricken clue why people still invest in his ventures to this day.

        1. Looking back, our CEO must have been the worst businessman on the face of the earth, because he managed to found and run into the ground a very high margin business within the span of 5 years.

          You didn’t, uhh, work for the same company I did, did you?

          Because that sounds eerily familiar. The ‘startup’ I worked for was a ‘rollup’… it was a group of VCs who bought up a bunch of regional, family owned businesses (some having been around for over 25 years) and rolled them up into one national corporation. They then ran the whole thing into the ground in 18 months. Five years total to finally close their doors. The time after the initial 18 months was the plance skidding across the fields, destroying everything it hit.

          They were plagued with lawsuits, negative publicity (their ‘flagship’ product didn’t work and they had no idea how to make it work) and were, for a time, the worst performing IPO of that year.

          1. Nahhh…ours was a literal startup, from scratch, but in an industry that had been around for quite a while in a mail-order capacity. The internet was the perfect venue for this industry. Perfect. Our problem was the CEO spending like it was going out of style – office space, staff, parties, etc. He could have run that company with maybe 10 people – a few techies, a business development person and a PR/marketing person would have done the trick.

  7. What concerns me is that the lesson everyone implies in articles about Schilling and 38 studios is, “don’t try”, instead of, “don’t take on Anderson Silva as your first MMA fight.”

    This is very sad. And not to make excuses, but since MMOs take so damned long to make, many MMO makers were pretty deep into the process when it started to become clear that the market was pretty much saturated, 38 Studios included.

    1. Taking on a big dog isn’t the problem. Shitty management was the problem.

  8. He admired the global impact the Microsoft founder had made through his philanthropy, and wanted to do the same. Schilling, who has an autistic son, imagined providing $200 million to open the Shonda Schilling Center for Autism Research.

    What a fucking idiot.

    The man is famous. If he wants to run a charity, he could have taken over any number of small organizations and then used his fame and connections to make it bigger. Instead, he plans to unseat the dominant player in a mature industry without any prior experience whatsoever in the industry that he wants to take over.

    Too bad he fucked his family over by blowing his personal fortune on this stupid idea. But he deserves all the ridicule that is coming.

    1. Yeah, but you can’t take the bloody sock away from him!

      Oooops…..except for his creditors.

  9. I think this reinforces the idea that a fan of something doesn’t make you an expert. Sure I can tell Schilling to throw an 0-2 pitch in the dirt, and complain when he leaves it over the middle of the plate and gives up a homerun; what I can’t do is go out there and actually make that pitch myself.

    I listened to him get interviewed about how much he loved MMOs and talk about creating his game. He made the same mistake any fan can make, only in his case, the people of RI are paying for it.

  10. Early indicator of coming fail: Shilling is a grown man that still wears his baseball cap backwards.

    1. Didn’t you do that when you were Troy Aikman’s back-up while holding the most important part of the second string quarterback’s armamentarium, the clip board?

      1. Well, yeah, but I was being paid big dough to be a clipboard carrying backup for a sports team, and I was in my 20’s, not my 40’s trying to start a big boy company.

  11. The old saw has never been truer than it is today: “Of course I give to charity. I pay my taxes.”

    1. How about this one, courtesy of one Bobby Bowden this morning on Mike and Mike:

      The IRS agent contacted the minister of the local church asking if Mr. Smith tithed. The minister replied, “don’t worry, he will.”

  12. One of the Boston sports talk radio stations interviewed Schilling a couple weeks ago. The hosts were entirely sympathetic to his plight so Schil was able to deliver his POV. A few things struck me:

    He stressed that his company’s #1 priority was the wellbeing of its employees. He didn’t mention the company’s product until well into the interview.

    He said that the deal with Rhode Island entailed the company meeting performance benchmarks. Since profits couldn’t be used as a measurement, the agreement was to use “jobs created”.

    He said his conservative cred had been questioned based on his pursuit of the public money, but he couldn’t understand why wanting “smaller government” had anything to do with the deal.

  13. Schilling, who has an autistic son,

    Seems a lot of pro athletes have autistic kids.

    Wonder if there’s been any study about parental use of steroids having any causative effect.

    Couldn’t this jag off just team up with Flutie? How many competing autism charities are necessary?

  14. the famed comic artist Todd McFarlane, a noted baseball fan, to conceive its artistic vision.

    Seems the problem with the venture had already been identified by potential lenders.

  15. Wow is a very specific form of virtual crack that exited only at a specific time in history.

    First off it was really the only game in town for a long time. Sure there were some like Everquest that were before and some after like that Conan game but none really had the scale Wow does.

    It’s first big draw was its persistent world. You could walk from one end of a continent to the other without any load screens. Nothing could do that for at least 3 years while Wow existed. In that time Wow then set up a carrot and stick reward system that forced the player to constantly build and build and build onto their characters essentially making players invest literally years into their character.

    To quit at any time would force you to give up that whole investment.

    Anyway what WoW was and what it is cannot ever be duplicated again. It is a creature of a specific time. going forward MMOs will multiply and the audience will never be as concentrated as it was with WOW.

    Schilling was doomed form the start.

    1. In that time Wow then set up a carrot and stick reward system that forced the player to constantly build and build and build onto their characters essentially making players invest literally years into their character.

      In all honesty WOW biggest competitor right now isn’t even an MMO but in fact is probably Call of Duty which is owned by the same company that owns WOW. COD with its leveling system, constantly updating achievements, map packs, subscription stat system, unlockablesand new full game update every year is hitting the carrot and stick Pavlovian wallet emptying of its players far better then WOW ever did.

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