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APB To Close Mere Months After Launch

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the ran-out-of-gas dept.

The Almighty Buck 185

APB, the action MMO created by Realtime Worlds and launched at the end of June, will soon be closing its doors. The game was very expensive to make, and news of the studio's financial difficulties has been circulating in the wake of disappointing sales numbers and reviews. Today, less than three months after the servers went live, community officer Ben Bateman announced that service will be discontinued shortly. One of the developers said, "In every way APB was a dichotomy. I have witnessed the project alter from a fragile and delicate entity used to show the world the depth of our vision through to the sturdy beast we released to the public. There were the unusual errors and crashes which are to be expected, but it worked. Once in the hands of our community I have never seen something elicit such a polarization of people. It was dismissed as overhyped and broken or else taken to heart to be loved and cherished, buoyed on by a fanaticism I was proud to have played a part in bringing to the world."

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And what about the players.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603080)

Will the players get refunds for money spent on a product they wont support?
Although for an MMO.. not running servers is worse than no support.

Re:And what about the players.. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603260)

Likely not...such is the risk you run with playing an MMO.

Re:And what about the players.. (2, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603410)

Yet another reason they should give the client software away for free and just charge monthly fees for access to the servers. Of course, if you're foolish enough to spend real world cash to purchase virtual property, you deserve whatever you get when they shut the servers down -- no online world is going to last forever!

Re:And what about the players.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603442)

Of course, if you're foolish enough to spend real world cash to purchase virtual property

You mean like ALL software, games, music, tv & movies?

Re:And what about the players.. (2, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603520)

The difference being that software, games, music, TV shows, and movies can continue working as long as you have the media (and a suitable device for using them.) With an MMO, once the servers are shut down the software and everything you paid for in the game are worthless.

Re:And what about the players.. (2, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603618)

With the exception of DRM-protected software, music, and video that is required to phone home to a server to authorize playback, yes. As an engineer, I've run plenty of applications wherein the largest source of failure was the license server being unavailable. Again, either make me pay for it up front and allow me to do anything I want with it, or give it to me for free and charge me periodic fees for access to the servers required to make it work, but don't make me both pay for it up front AND to make it keep working.

Re:And what about the players.. (2, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603674)

Even so, virtually all DRM schemes can be cracked. I mean, you can crack Steam games as far as that goes. The problem with MMOs is that being able to function at all depends entirely on the presence of those remote servers. All the cracking in the world doesn't do a damn bit of good unless someone has figured out how to setup an unauthorized server.

If I did have some kind of licensed media to which the authorizing server eventually went down, you better believe I'd head over to TPB or Demonoid to download an unencrypted copy. Alas, there is not a comparable solution for MMOs.

Re:And what about the players.. (2, Interesting)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604040)

Alright, so does anyone have a copy of the APB server software in their back pocket?
I know that there are private WoWarcraft servers up and running, albeit illegally.

Re:And what about the players.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603764)

Tell that to people who bought PlaysForSure music.
I know they're not the same. I'm simply pointing out that any of those could also be a foolish purchase.
This would be a bit like the movie industry deciding to scrap the current HDCP keys rendering almost all
existing HD hardware obsolete or if Win7 SP2 required a Trusted Computing chip built into a PC to work.

Re:And what about the players.. (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603814)

Yeah like buying food or paying to see a movie; it doesn't last forever so obviously it's a terrible purchase.

Re:And what about the players.. (1)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604030)

The difference being that the precedent with video games is that once you buy it, you own it and you can play it whenever you want- I still break out Riven every now and again just for fun. However, with an MMO, you are kind of gambling that the servers will stay there as long as you want to play the game. It makes it impossible to relive some nostalgia if the servers are not there.

Now, with a little luck, the studio will open source the server software so someone can run it.

Re:And what about the players.. (2, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603420)

Presumably if they had money to provide refunds they wouldn't be shutting their doors.

If you bought it recently (like the last week or so) you should probably be able to return it to a retailer, if you bought it in early august or back in july, well, some games are short 8-20 hour affairs even at full price. This happens to be one of them.

Cheating was rampant (4, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603106)

I loved the game, but cheating was rampant from day 1. After a couple weeks, I couldn't tolerate it anymore, as it literally seemed that you HAD to cheat to complete your missions.

It was fun otherwise, and was looking forward to coming back to it in a year ( after they got the cheating under control ).

Re:Cheating was rampant (5, Funny)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603402)

I think you're missing the deeper gameplay mechanics obviously secretly built-into a game based around a life of crime...

Don't forget the software issues! (1)

Sqweegee (968985) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603708)

On top of the rampant cheating there were severe problems just downloading the game, I had to resort to sneaker net to get half the game files from a friend because they always came in corrupted.

Massive stability issues too, I was playing with a few friends and we usually lost at least one person to disconnects per mission.

Finally there were massive balance issues. If you hadn't used the afk training exploit before they patched it a few days into operation you couldn't afford any of the player sold items (most 'uber' items were random rewards). It was nearly impossible to get rewards yourself because of all the cheating, and it seemed like half the opponents out there had maxed out weapons and HP buffs. If I was lucky I could find a PUG who were cheating an leach off of them... it was the only way not to get constantly curb stomped.

Only used half of my original purchase time.

Re:Don't forget the software issues! (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604090)

Sounds like they out-flagshipped Flagship! Hellgate London had a wonderful bug at launch where you (sometimes) could see your party members. You could see their weapon fire and spell effects, but not the character itself, which made for some humorous gameplay.

Re:Cheating was rampant (1)

moeluv (1785142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604042)

The same thing killed Warhammer Online for me. There were some great concepts to that game but playing a pvp game where your opponent is using cheats/hacks is just no fun. there were some other issues w/ Warhammer but that's the one that killed it for me.

Glad I waited (1)

Straterra (1045994) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603114)

I was seriously looking to buy this today too. Finally, my laziness has paid off!

Again?! (5, Funny)

Boona (1795684) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603118)

Hellgate London (with Founders), Tabula Rasa and now APB ... The next time I purchase an MMO I'll let you guys know ahead of time so you know that it will fail.

Re:Again?! (1, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603248)

Make sure you buy Cataclysm.

Re:Again?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603812)

I prefer the vanilla original: Homeworld.

Re:Again?! (1)

Divide By Zero (70303) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603578)

HGL was your fault? Dammit, Boona. Keep your damn dirty hands off Star Wars: The Old Republic or so help me, I will lead a cadre of basement dwellers to your door with torches and pitchforks.

*This hyperbole is not intended to convey actual threat. Kindly do not prosecute.

Re:Again?! (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604134)

Any Star Wars themed MMO is so tainted by cultural memories of SWG that it's already cursed, even if Boona does stay away. (Sadly, I too have a HGL lifetime subscription).

Re:Again?! (2, Funny)

Mathness (145187) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603716)

Please stay away from Hello Kitty online, pleeeease.

( I actually miss Tabula Rasa. :( )

Re:Again?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33604162)

Please stay away from Hello Kitty online, pleeeease.

Seconded! Please leave HKO alone! I have never had so much fun putting stars to sleep and collecting clovers. The best part about the Hello Kitty experience is that Hello Kitty cares about my well being. If ever I play too long Hello Kitty is sure to tell me with a nice informational balloon.

I'm shocked (3, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603128)

I am so surprised they didn't make any money, mostly because I have never heard of "APB"... was their entire marketing plan built around word of mouth advertising?

Re:I'm shocked (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603220)

I am so surprised they didn't make any money, mostly because I have never heard of "APB"... was their entire marketing plan built around word of mouth advertising?

Maybe you heard of it by its other name, All Points Bulletin. It was slated to be a cops and robbers mmo. Lots of controversy thanks to its "pay a monthly fee and recv. in-game advertisements, including audio advertisements and billboards"

Re:I'm shocked (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603412)

Sounds like a plan for success, providing you can find an audience of mental retards who can still actually turn on a computer.

Re:I'm shocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33604202)

Shut up and take my money!

Re:I'm shocked (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603622)

Audio advertisements? That's unforgivable. It's not hard to look away, but we hear everything, and the day I get an ingame audio advertisement is the day I *some generic statement.*

Incorrect sig (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603862)

Point of note: Your quote is from Jed Babbin while he was on the show Hardball, not General Schwarzkopf

Re:I'm shocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603684)

seriously, no never heard of it until today ( and I like mmo's)

Re:I'm shocked (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603990)

City of Heroes does this, at least as far as visual ads go, though they go out of their way to make them not seem too out of place in the world, and it can be opted-out of, for what it matters.

Re:I'm shocked (5, Informative)

Chad Birch (1222564) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603366)

No, their entire marketing plan was to hide as much of the game as possible until release, and then ban everyone from reviewing it until a week after it came out [rockpapershotgun.com] .

Seems like it was a ridiculously mismanaged project, there's a good series of articles on a former employee's blog here: Where Realtime Worlds Went Wrong [wordpress.com]

Re:I'm shocked (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603822)

No, their entire marketing plan was to hide as much of the game as possible until release, and then ban everyone from reviewing it until a week after it came out [rockpapershotgun.com] .

Oh, THAT game! Yeah, I'm not buying that game. That game could be about all the things I geek out about having sex with each other, and I wouldn't buy it if the publisher had so little faith in their product that they were trying to prevent people from talking about it.

Being ashamed of your product is never a good sell.

Re:I'm shocked (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603980)

all the things I geek out about having sex with each other

Curse your turn of phrase! I was baited into considering this scenario and things were going fine until I started thinking about the humanities... and the horror... PhDs who write treatises on economics, politics, and philosophy are NOT attractive. Ever.

Re:I'm shocked (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603782)

I don't know about marketing, but their business plan sucked balls. Wasn't this the game that required you to buy the initial game, then pay monthly fees, and then you had to listen to and see in-game advertisements on top of all of that? I'm not in the least surprised that this game failed.

The "polarization" mentioned in the summary was most likely a polarization between people that didn't want to see advertisements after they'd already paid for a game and people that don't mind having advertisements thrown at them 24/7.

Re:I'm shocked (1)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603840)

I heard about it just before it came out from an ad on Steam and pretty much never again after that except in stories like this. Then again, I couldn't get away from ads about Tabula Rasa when it was in beta and for a while after it came out.

Woah, economics (2, Interesting)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603136)

130,000 players, spending $28/month, that's about $48M/year gross revenues. If nobody could figure out how to buy that asset out of bankruptcy, spend a couple mil a year on servers and bandwidth, pay a few people to administer it and create ongoing content and turn a profit, that's baffling to me. There must be more to the story than that, like they simply were unhappy with the bids they were getting because they were valuing it based on crazy metrics, or the amount they spent to develop it in the first place. Weird.

Re:Woah, economics (1)

farnsworth (558449) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603240)

I know little of this market and less about this game, but will those 130k players stick around in perpetuity? It's not as if a game subscription is like having electricity. Is it possible that there are informed forecasts that predict that there will be vastly fewer subscribers in short amount of time?

Re:Woah, economics (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603284)

Well, obviously they have no obligation to stick around, but usually once that many people get sucked into a game, it takes a while for them to get sick of it and leave. But yes, I am completely aware that this isn't a magical perpetuity.

Re:Woah, economics (1)

Kadagan AU (638260) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603414)

I would bet good money that they will have vastly fewer subscribers in a very short amount of time.

Re:Woah, economics (1, Funny)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603290)

salaries, rent, servers, electricity, etc

50 guys with an average cost of $100,000 per year is $50,000,000 per year. not everyone makes $100,000 per year in salary but when you figure in health benefits, taxes and other employee costs it's about right.

Re:Woah, economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603338)

50 guys with an average cost of $100,000 per year is $5,000,000 per year.

Woah, math (4, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603354)

I think you mean $5,000,000 per year, which is much less than the $48 million a year some have suggested they were pulling in.

Re:Woah, economics (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603372)

-1 (Bad Math)

Re:Woah, economics (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603314)

other than my bad math there is also cash flow. in finance classes i learned that it's easy for a fast growing company to run out of cash. revenue and profit is not always cash since you may get the cash months after the revenue is recognized. but in the mean time you have bills to pay that have to be paid in cash right now.

if they spent too much on developement and didn't have enough cash to cover their debt, salary and other costs while waiting for the cash to be paid that would do it

Re:Woah, economics (1)

WidgetGuy (1233314) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603690)

If they'd had significant outstanding receivables, they probably would have factored them (i.e., borrowed cash against them). It's not the first solution a company wants to consider when in a cash flow jam, but it's usually better than going under.

Re:Woah, economics (4, Insightful)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603712)

Probably the executive level guys did the math, and found out that between maintenance staff and servers, there wasn't a whole lot of extra cash that could go towards paying their 200k+ salaries, and decided it would be better to give themselves a nice bonus than to continue with the game.

Re:Woah, economics (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603374)

They might have had 130,000 on release or the first month but that doesn't mean they retained them. The game was complete garbage, even if someone were to buy it out they would have to invest a good amount into it just to put some actual game play into it. How do you revive a game that is pretty much seen as a joke from the gaming community?

On a side note, had they focused more on the game play and not their stupid character editor they might have survived. The character editor was probably the most polished part of the game and it was most designed so you would spend extra cash on giving your character a hat.

Re:Woah, economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603400)

I costs 6 bucks for 20 hours or 10 bucks for unlimited time for 1 month. If every subscriber paid for unlimited access that's about 15 million of income per year. It would take them 6 2/3 years to pay off the development costs given the current subcriber level, and that doesn't include ongoing costs.

Re:Woah, economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603416)

I'm not sure where they got those figures, but they were dead wrong. At any given time the past two weeks, there were maybe 300 people on my server. And there were only 2 NA servers. So.. 600 people in the entire country playing.

  Also, they had an in game way, to sell in game cash for RTW points which you used to pay for the game. So after buying the game I never put another cent into their pockets as I could sell a nights's worth of cash farming for a month's worth of play time.

I loved the game, and am sad to see it go, but I've been calling that It was going to die for the past month or so.

Re:Woah, economics (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603650)

The RTW points selling means that somebody else put the money in, BTW. So you were actually generating them money.

Re:Woah, economics (2, Informative)

whodunnit (238223) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603470)

*my ac post got downranked for some reason.. so logged in*..

I'm not sure where they got those figures, but they were dead wrong. At any given time the past two weeks, there were maybe 300 people on my server. And there were only 2 NA servers. So.. 600 people in the entire country playing.

    Also, they had an in game way, to sell in game cash for RTW points which you used to pay for the game. So after buying the game I never put another cent into their pockets as I could sell a nights's worth of cash farming for a month's worth of play time.

I loved the game, and am sad to see it go, but I've been calling that It was going to die for the past month or so.

I don't get the math (1)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603156)


130,000 registered users spending an average of $28/month is $3,640,000/month.

This doesn't work for them? Granted there are development costs and what not but that's a nice chunk of change.

Re:I don't get the math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603308)

Hookers and blow are expensive.

to quote Rick James, "Cocaine is a hell of a drug"

Re:I don't get the math (2, Informative)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603378)

A nice chunk of change for an individual ... but there are multiple costs that have to be addressed (servers, development, PR, marketing, etc...), salaries to be paid (code monkeys still get a paycheck, CEO's demand high wages), and probably investors that are demanding a return.

To be honest, $3.64M per month just doesn't seem like enough.

(Oh, and taxes, let's not forget those)

Re:I don't get the math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603828)

You only pay taxes on profits (after paying employees and other expenses), any sharp accountant will keep those to the minimum.

Re:I don't get the math (2, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603510)

registered users don't necessarily mean 'paying users'. A common industry trick I'm afraid. We're registered users on /., but we don't pay them after all.

The other thing is even if they were all paying users. Say you're 25 or 30 million bucks in debt for having made the game, set up servers, marketting etc. (maybe more maybe less but it's a good number for an MMO), at say 130k copies they made maybe 3 million back, because retailers etc. take a lot of your costs. Even if they made 6 million they're still very deep in the hole. Now, as you say, if they're all paying a monthly fee they should be able to eventually recover. That however, is not usually how it works. Of those lets presume 130k people who bought the game, what percent are sticking around? If they're leaving in droves and you've only got 20 or 30k actual paying customers you have a very serious problem, and no one is going to think you're able to pay your bills at that rate.

Re:I don't get the math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603786)

I imagine that most mmo's peak near launch and then decline for the rest of their lifespan, rather dramatically.

If you only gto 130 000 players in the first 3 months, they probably believe they'll lose most of those before the end of the year.

Interest. (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603844)

Let's say that 100 million was borrowed at 10%.

You need to come up with more than ten million per year just to stay on top of the interest payments. (Keeping in mind that interest is added to the total debt and racks up its own interest.)

Also keep in mind that the 3.64 million per month is gross. Not net.

Sounds like a sinking ship to me. To turn it around would cost millions more in advertising, and frankly, that's not a for-sure thing.

But hey, it's probably a big, happy tax write-off for somebody and all the programmers and creative people got paid, so it's just a bunch of bankers or venture capitalists who got burned. Anybody with that kind of cash isn't going to be homeless tomorrow, so no need for tears.

-FL

Sad (1)

zombieChan51 (1862028) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603190)

This is kind of sad, I was even planning on buying that game. Though with how many players they had playing its suprising that they are shutting down so soon.

MMOs (2, Insightful)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603210)

And this is why making an MMO is just as risky as making an online shooter: The value of your game to other players is proportional to how many people play it. If you don't build a large player base quickly, the game will have no staying power, and will be abandoned quickly: It's boom or bust. Realtime just didn't make that great a game, so they went bust.

A pity: They went ahead and built a game nobody played, while the Crackdown franchise was handed to a team that built a sequel that was worse than the original in almost every way. I'd have much rather have a quality Crackdown 2 than the two games we ended up with.

Re:MMOs (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603672)

I would rather this than the other way around, where companies can still turn a profit even when making garbage games. Just sayin...

Re:MMOs (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604006)

You touch on a point of player personalities.

Whether or not the game has staying power, so many players out there now want the instant gratification. They'll burn through a game's content in a few days and expect the developers to create more overnight. I've watched this trend from Ultima Online in 1997 through present day with World of Warcraft. You have the "gimme now, I'm bored, I'm done" crowd and you have others that explore, achieve, socialize and flesh out the depth of the game. The double-edge sword is that the former will be the first ones to try and abandon a new game, and the latter wait until a game has been around for a while to join or they are reluctant to leave their established virtual world.

A free introduction, dynamic systems allowing change, dynamic or large amounts of content, inexpensive development and near 100% uptime are requirements for any MMO coming out today. I had never heard anything about this game until today.

Re:MMOs (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604204)

I think WoW got it right with their 2 weeks or level 20 cap, for free. By level 20, you get to experience a couple of primary factors in the game, like pvp, different zones, dungeons, etc. and it was plenty of time to decide whether or not you'd enjoy leveling to max. Of course, it gave no insight into arena or raiding, but no one decides to start playing WoW and spend 100+ hours getting to max level just to do max level stuff. While that may be the main draw, I highly doubt there is anyone who would enjoy that and would hate their first level to max.

I think the goal isn't to have free and paying players coexisting, the goal is to make the free players want to spend their money. I forgot what you were talking about at this point but wrote enough that I think I should post anyway. Sorry, everyone.

Re:MMOs (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604148)

I agree with you but EVE-Online is still a tiny MMO and going for 6 years (i think?). The game is brutal but people who enjoy it really do become fanatical about it. The key to their success, imo, is they work within their budget and continually upgrade the game (for free). Soon we will see the first spin-off with Dust 514 that will create a console FPS being fed in-game money, weapons, and targets from the original mmo. They will be linked in a meaningful way. Though i'm mostly waiting for ambulation.. CCP! i need to see my legs! am i wearing pants atleast?

Dust 514 trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYkuZLxAWBo [youtube.com]
The trailer is dated, i doubt the game will look very similar.

Private Servers (1)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603230)

So will there ever be private servers? Maybe they could sell the rights to the game to another company that would keep it going. I was never really planning on playing this game but it is a bit disheartening to hear about how it'll be discontinued for all the people who are playing it.

Re:Private Servers (1)

whodunnit (238223) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603446)

There is already one that I know of. http://www.actiondistrict.com/ [actiondistrict.com]

Re:Private Servers (1)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603620)

Too bad it's not up and running now. If the game turned out good I'd like to go buy a copy so they at least get a tiny bit more money from it. Once the private server finally goes online "in a month or two" (according to the forums) I'm not sure IF I'll be able to get a retail copy of APB or if my money will still be going to the team that developed it.

APB == All Points Bulletin? (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603232)

(sidles over to the article)

TFA doesn't say WTF APB means either. Apollonius Christ. ROTF man I hate abbreviations (IMHO). LOL ;-)

Re:APB == All Points Bulletin? (2, Informative)

jobias (739907) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603422)

Yes, it means All Points Bulletin. It's a cops versus robbers MMO, hence the name.

Re:APB == All Points Bulletin? (1)

Loonacy (459630) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603662)

The actual name of the game is "APB".

Re:APB == All Points Bulletin? (0)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603896)

Oh STFU. j/k.

Re:APB == All Points Bulletin? (1)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603974)

Wasn't that "Anti Pirate Bureau" ?

Just kidding...

Re:APB == All Points Bulletin? (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604020)

TFA nor the website tell what the purpose of the game is either. After reading the "city history" I gathered you can choose to be a cop or a criminal.

Realtime Worlds Points... (3, Insightful)

ceriphim (1530579) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603310)

From the website:

Realtime Worlds Points are a virtual currency that you can buy, right here, for cash. You can spend these RTW Points on lots of cool stuff, including gametime. It costs 280 Points for a 20 hour chunk (which never expires), and just 400 Points gets you unlimited access for 30 days.

Guess that "never expires" part isn't entirely accurate now. Or, if it is, not useful.

Just for giggles I clicked on "Purchase 400 Points" and got a server error...

Adios APB!

Re:Realtime Worlds Points... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603428)

Guess that "never expires" part isn't entirely accurate now. Or, if it is, not useful.

The points didn't expire, the game did :).

Re:Realtime Worlds Points... (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604248)

I wonder if there's some legal fun to be had with the points that "never expire."

They're doing it wrong (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603316)

$100 million in development costs?!? A business plan that requires more than 130,000 registered users to succeed? They must be doing something wrong. Develop a simple, basic framework and go online with it as soon as possible, add more content later and keep adding on. Let users create their own content. Offer free trials to get people hooked. Granted, your development and support costs are probably going to run you $1 million a year regardless, but it looks to me like their business plan must have been wildly optimistic. Of course, one of the reasons I don't write my own MMO is I can't figure out how anyone can offer a good game at a decent price and still manage to be self-sustaining over several years. But really, if step 1 of your plan is "Spend $50 to $100 million on development", I can't imagine why anybody would sign off on that business plan.

Re:They're doing it wrong (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603646)

That's about 1000x harder than you present it. First off if people get bored early, they leave, and you go bankrupt. If the tools don't work to create content, you get bad press, and people don't play your game, and you go bankrupt. Free trials only work if there looks like a worthwhile world to explore, or you get thousands of people adding to your sever load, who don't pay you anything, and you go bankrupt. Simple frameworks are boring unless you are really good at building tools, and that's pretty hard.

Seriously, the spend 100 million dollar business plan is actually a good one, as long as you hire decent designers and managers. You have to build a living breathing world, and, somewhat less obviously, a very stable set of servers for it to live on. You can't under capacity yourself at launch, because all your users will give up and go to something else. When players get there they have to not run out of things to do in at least a month. If even one player runs out of stuff to do, they'll post about it on your forums and demoralize all the other players. Even if everyone else would take 5x as long to see everything, they still feel like there isn't much there. And building community tools for content creation is no small feat, especially when you want to launch them with the game.

Really the only product that has mostly followed your model is Eve. Which, credit where credit is due, has done very well for itself, but they also started well before all of these other MMO's that did spend 100 million dollars, and designed their whole system around favouring both early adopters and long time players, and it appeals to a very specific (i.e. small) niche, but they've captured basically everyone who wants that sort of hardcore pvp space game.

Oh and as I said somewhere above. Registered users does not equate to paying users, which is a common industry trick.

Re:They're doing it wrong (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603958)

Good luck trying to retain players with a simple, basic, unfinished game. It would have to be one pretty novel idea to compete with the finished, polished, down-to-a-science industry's giants.

Bad news... (2, Interesting)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603390)

Sure the development was cataclysmic and the business model fucked up, but this is bad news for us, players. The next CEO to dive in the MMO sea will be even less enclined to take some risks and come up with something original.

GOOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603404)

Maybe this will motivate game designers to make less MMO's and instead concentrate on making games which are actually fun to play.

Re:GOOD (1)

whoop (194) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604094)

Why? Because you aren't in the market for an MMO? If anything, this shows you can't be just a "me too" wanting to cash-in on the current fads. Games came and went during the Doom-clone era, MMOs will come and go if they don't do anything fun for the players.

MMOs succeed by being better than real life (0, Troll)

MoriT (1747802) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603440)

And APB ... wasn't. Tried it out at PAX and the play wasn't terrible; It was just never clear why you were playing. If you wanted to play a FPS, you'd probably just have bought a FPS and used the XBox Live sub you already had.

I wonder how many times consumers will have to get burned before they stop buying MMOs.

Re:MMOs succeed by being better than real life (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603596)

The GTA feel was the charming point in APB. I sure would have bought it because it kinda looked somewhere between GTA and mercenaries, with a touch of MMO-ness (with all the good and bad it brings). I would have taken a look into it if the friends who tried it didn't shun it like no tomorrow. APB had a lot of possibilities, the business model might have killed it, but most people I know blame it on the "Incomplete" feel the game had. I wonder what they spent their budget on, honestly...

The Original APB (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603528)

No worries, you'll still have the orginal APB [wikipedia.org] .

fuddles' 'new' browser doesn't work with xp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603532)

has eddie bauer been told? that kind of limits advertisers' coverage of their markets, no? fuddles will make it right, someday, a long fauxking time from now, maybe? that's how softwar gangsters 'operate' (on/against each other). we're almost positive it's all to make the 'user experience' more pleasant like fuddles always says. he doesn't have as much time now to help us as he's promoting world depopulation on a 'cost per' basis. it's hard to figure the 'average' cost/who to kill off, when some people have 5 yachts etc... & millions don't even have a toilet. i guess the toiletless folks should be taken out first to help avoid potential odors wafting out over the ocean during the yachting season, which, as always, is upon us again.

I think I've heard this before (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603550)

I have never seen something elicit such a polarization of people. It was dismissed as overhyped and broken or else taken to heart to be loved and cherished, buoyed on by a fanaticism I was proud to have played a part in bringing to the world.

That's exactly what Hermann Göring said during the Nuremberg trials.

Maybe if the client wasn't so damn dear... (1)

Flamekebab (873945) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603612)

I was amazed that they were asking £30 or more for a client and then expecting players to buy play time too. I could understand paying for time, but for the client too? I'm not going to blow £30 on a game that got such mediocre reviews. If there had been a free trial I would have given it a shot and then perhaps bought some hours. Expecting me to pay a relatively large sum up front for something that's use will expire without further expenditure seems a little, uh, hopeful.

Re:Maybe if the client wasn't so damn dear... (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604150)

I betaed APB, That was enough to prove to me their were issues no one seemed to address...

Like cheating. Cheating was huge, people that couldn't be taken down and could shoot through other objects were fairly common. When I was in the zone I could give people way out of my league a run for their money, but unkillable people wielding miniguns with sniper accuracy is silly. I'm not quite sure how the cheaters could even enjoy themselves...

On the other hand, some of the work behind the game made fun highly customizable characters that it was fun to work with... Though in beta it was never working opened all the way (lots of options had to be unlocked and they didn't make getting levels easy).

WTF? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603632)

Wow, if you try to go to the announcement [apb.com] , you get directed to an apparently broken age verification page. At least, I can't figure out how to get past it to read their own announcement.

No wonder they're going out of business. :-P

Well this is stupid (1)

rennerik (1256370) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603742)

I bought the game before it came out because what I read about it intrigued me. I saw gameplay footage and stuff and it looked awesome. So I bought it in preorder for $10 less and for some additional gametime. I was so happy that there was finally an MMO out there that didn't expire your gametime. I'm not a prolific player so I hated the idea of being charged $14/mo, every month, even if I didn't log in once. Since my school was starting, I decided I'd play a bit and leave the rest of the time till later. I'd played a few hours, had fun, shelved it, and was going to jump into it once again after I got my bearings in school and had a solid schedule.

That would have been in a few weeks. Well shit, now that it's shutting down, I lose $50, not having played it any more than a couple of hours, and the whole "gametime never expires" thing ended up being a farce. My gametime did expire. It was (ironically) almost five months since I've bought the game, so that's like paying $10/mo and not playing it. So in essence I won nothing, and a gaming company ran away with millions. Wonderful.

I wonder if it's actually this business model that killed it... this idea of, you don't have to pay a monthly fee, but instead you pay for gametime (or unlimited time for a monthly fee, which wouldn't be something that you'd do unless you're really into the game). Maybe it didn't make enough money? Maybe the investors realized it's better to lock people into paying a monthly fee than to paying for gametime which never expires? Maybe they never were able to address the rampant cheating that was going on (so I heard, but never experienced).

Whatever the reason, I'm very, very disappointed, and feel slightly cheated. I never did get to experience the game I paid for. I could have gotten more use out of the $50 had I burned it for heat.

Re:Well this is stupid (1)

zombieChan51 (1862028) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603908)

What sucks is that other company will notice that this game failed, and it could of been the business plan. It would be terrible if they decide that this business plan was a poor choice and other companies might never try it again. It was a great plan for people who don't have the time to play a game all the time.

Re:Well this is stupid (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604254)

the entire game wasn't what they hyped it to be. and it got rejected by its own players. going pay to play was a bad idea anyways in this economy. billions pay for wow and are not willing to shell out any more for another game. and its been proven free games make even more money then pay ones look at pwi for gods sakes. being the people willing to shell out thousands support the free community.

Aggrandize much? (2, Funny)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603864)

The developer's quote sounds like they were on a humanitarian mission to cure cancer or bring world peace. It was a game that failed. Games are expensive to produce. Movin' on...

Full acountability (4, Insightful)

psyph3r (785014) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604120)

At least they can't blame this one on piracy.

why it failed (2, Informative)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604208)

apb was hyped to be gta online. what we got was not a gta world it was not a open world only time you ever saw another player was when you did this missions or in the social area but never just walking/driving around the map. going pay to play in this market was also a frigging bad idea. so there was no committing random crimes no world of gangs messing with your day. pretty much everything they hyped this game to be was a lie.

Open source it. and it will live. (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604296)

if it is any good like you say, it will even prosper and become prominent.
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