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Buying a game for private server

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The company NaonTech, team of ~25people. (Korean company)
Is a company that mass produced MMOs in 2000-2005, to make few hits, and make money back on those few.  There were many games that never made it online and there are some that where sold to western companies, what went thru Beta and then were canceled.
Unfortunally I were one of few who played in Betas, that ended up beeing terminated because the games werent popular enought. 
I dont have full understanding on how gaming industry work, but when a western company (DQ Technologies and Gameforge 4D GmbH), bought NaonTech`s game and ran Betas for 1 year each. Would they just have bought a license to "try" the game. Or would they have bought a copy of the entire software?
In 201(6) this would just be an old game with bad game engine, and it doesnt have any real value anymore, besides sentimental value for us that cant let it go.
How much could one of those games that didnt make it, sell for today?
Im sure it could cost $500-$1M to develope. (wild guess) 
Would a company just sell one of these now for say.... $50k ? 
Game Im talking about:

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Thank you for reply.


I can see that me and you have different definition of what a MMO is. I really dont want to spend next 10 posts descussing that. 
So I would just like to say what I consider a MMO to be, so that you know my definition :)


I dont consider Diablo3 or Red Alert to be "real" MMOs, just because you cant interact with more then 3-4 players at the same time. 



massively multiplayer online game (MMOG or MMO) is a video game which is capable of supporting large numbers of players simultaneously in the same instance (or world)




The game I talk about, and linked to.


Is an old game, that never made it out of Beta. At its peak, there where about 3000 active players.
I dont want any other game, and I dont really have interest in owning the engine, I just want to play it again.


This company NaonTech, had maybe ~25 employees, and its just hard for me to think they had budgets in the size of 100 Millions, for each their game in the years 2000-2005.




How could I approche this company, and interest them in putting this game back online. 
The cost would be for me to rent server space. (~500 clients)
Have one of their engineers to setup the game, could maybe be the most difficult thing. Since it could be an hourly cost. 

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That size development team costs about $3M per year. Note that isn't just salaries, it is all the other business costs too.


Usually development is around 1/3 of total costs. Marketing is typically as much money or more money than the software development.


So they could turn out an online game with about 3000 players (which is definitely not an MMO, just a regular old online game) 


The product has been archived for a decade.  It needs to be updated to work on modern systems.  And there was a reason they cancelled it, that reason likely still applies.



So what will that cost you?


If you are looking to just buy it directly, talk to them.  They might let the property go cheap.   My estimate of cheap and your estimate of cheap are probably different.



Once you've purchased it, based on your description, I'd expect at least 2 months of serious effort to get it out of storage and functioning on a modern environment.  Given the team size, that's about a half million dollars.


Then you probably want to advertise the game. That's another half million dollars at least if you want it to be well known.  Without the marketing budget, your game -- great as it may be -- will die in obscurity.  Safer to plan a full million, but it doesn't sound like you realistically would.


Then you'll need to pay for your servers and bandwidth, either through a system like Amazon or your own colocation system. For a minimalist setup you're probably looking around $500/month, more realistically $1000/month for what you described since there is a lot of bandwidth needed.  That's relatively small compared to the cost of the people maintaining it, probably about $50,000 per month. 


It will take a few months at least with heavy marketing to attempt to reach a sustainable level.


So I'd peg the whole thing around $2M for your costs.

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All the questions you have I fully understand. (because you dont have the information I have in my head :D )


I know alot about the technical details about this game, I know its written in C++, I know on average each client takes about 20kb/s up and down from its servers, I know the clientloader runs perfect on windowsXP.  I know the game itself is made to run on Linux servers.

-The company Naonteck told me this.


I just want to setup the game again, on my own private servers, or pay them to do it. 


The hole point is to have the game back for me and the 100people left in the community. 

-With the bad bad terrible grafix.

-with sick sick sick bugs.



Thats the charm.

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Does that mean you've already been discussing the game with someone at the company?

If so, your best bet is just to ask them directly, and if they're unable to help you personally you can then ask if they can put you in contact with someone who can.

It's likely however that getting the game running again will be more difficult than you may be imagining, if it's even possible at all. If the game was abandoned as unprofitable it may not have been kept in an easily working state.

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I have been in touch with them before, 3 years ago. 

They seemed very open for talks when I looked them in the eye, but after I left. They havent replyed any emails or phones.

They politely pointed out, I was an signel individual, and not representing a distribution company.


From that talk, I understood it, like there was no problem putting the game back online, (state of software).

Im assuming the physical servers that ran the game in 2003, are not there, but I dont belive It can be so hard to put it back on new once.


I am aware of the IP problem in all for this. 

If they have valued this software at $1M in their books. (even if its dead software that will never be used again)
Selling it to me for $50k would make then realise a loss of $950k


Or am I wrong here?



So Im trying to understand as much as I can from their perspective, before going back.

Edited by Kimarild

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So Im trying to understand as much as I can from their perspective, before going back. ... I understood it like there was no problem putting the game back online

Imagine yourself as the business owner.
I'm running a big software company.  I have several business deals going on, each valued in tens, twenties, fifty million dollars or more.
Someone comes along asking for an old product to be revived.  A project we dumped because it did not look profitable.
The product is old, dating back to 2002-2003 era.  
The person wants me to bid on a project to:
* Go through the archives and find the software. It was 13 years ago. Does this software even still exist in our backups and archives?
* Figure out the settings and software dependencies for this 13 year old software.  It probably will not run without engineering work.
* The software probably ran on Windows 2000 servers, which is long dead. We cannot find the same hardware or operating system.
* The compiler and build tools were probably VS2002 or maybe VS6, both long dead. The build tools are out of date and may not work on modern systems.
* It probably relied on several other systems that have vanished over the past decade, or that have changed so much they are likely incompatible. We cannot find the 3rd party dependencies for the product.
* Get the system up and running.  This will likely take many weeks to make all the changes for that 13-year-old software.   Which developer do I assign, removing them from existing projects?  
* If anyone remains from the development team 13 years ago they are going to be senior level employees today. Do I need to remove my technical leads or managers from our current multi-million dollar projects for this? 
* These people already have other roles. Will this make my existing projects late, or put me at risks of missing dates?
This is not like going to a library and checking out a dusty old tome from the back room.  
If all you wanted was a license to use the software, and their only involvement was to give you a copy of the source, then it may be different.


Selling you a dump of the source files, the assets, and a license to use them, I can see that costing $50K.  


Getting the entire system up and running for you, maintaining the servers, taking workers off current projects and re-assigning them to a dead end, there is no way they are charging $50K.

Edited by frob

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I think it would be wise to first find out who still holds IP and then ask if they are willing to sell or license that IP. Amount they will ask is a concern only after then.


( And apparently now is a good time to confess that sometimes I wonder if EA would sell Simcity 4 :) )

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