Not talking about the price of the game! Lets just get that out of the way. Talking about the cost to make the game. Too many MMORPGs are released without enough content and polish. Wouldn’t one success be better than 2 failures? With double the budget you could add 50% more content and polish that content to the level it needs to be for a Gold game. (Gold being the released version of the game)
What’s sad is that some studios had the budget to release a polished game with enough content, but they have decided to spend their money frivolously. SWTOR is a good example. The game is voice acted 100% (or close enough). While this definitely sold the game, and was an amazing feature, it doesn’t help with the games longevity. Not only did they get all that voice acting, they went for the famous voice actors. When the population dropped they didn’t have the revenue to keeping up that level of content, so the expansions were disappointing to the people that loved the game and stuck around. Due to the expense involved even the newest content is generic, not linked to the class stories, which limits it’s replay-ability.
How many games have come out with limited character race/sex/class combinations because they didn’t have the budget? How many have scratched one of the system from their game that was appealing to a lot of people? Launched without enough end game content? MMORPGs can be very profitable, but you don’t get something for nothing. Every dollar “saved” in production will be 10s or 100s you don’t make once it launches.
MMORPGs require a certain amount of content and systems to flourish. Once the feature set and initial content requirements are determined it’s time to commit. If you aren’t prepared to go the distance you should quit while you’re ahead. 80% of an MMORPG will not get you 80% of the profits of a complete one, far from it.
One for the price of two.