I am not an expert. At times I wonder if even the experts are experts (with the exception of Warren Buffet who has a rep, as it were) but let’s eschew that for now. I did have the displeasure of a very brief stint working for (not “on”) Wall Street. Very, very briefly, I worked on software used in the “What can and what should we loan out?” from short sales leverage. The problem was a solved one (which was sad, as that was why I took the job in the first place…believing I’d be a part in solving it) and I ended up managing scripts for a few months until I found an actual research job. Anyway, the two crazy investor moguls that ran this consulting firm ran a pretty thorough training regime which has stuck with me. I’d like to share one very solid anecdote now.
Anybody remember Netflix dropping a staggering amount back in October? No? Here. Something else about that article should stand out, and it’s a common pattern in any investment story. Don’t panic. 3% is a lot of money to a bloke like you or me (well, at least me) but these things often take years to resolve. It might plummet and die, and – while I wouldn’t mind watching EA go the way of the dodo – I would very much mind watching Bioware die. I’m a huge fan of every Bioware title I’ve played and – in case it wasn’t clear – I’m having a stupidly good time with SW:TOR. I’m with Werit; I’ll be sticking it out. And I imagine it’ll take more than than a bit of a stagger for investors to pull out too.
I can see where some people, such as the reputable Syncaine, may be over-eager to watch this project fail. There are those who aren’t concerned with the people who are involved with the project; the hard work, the sleeping under desks, and the impressive fruits of their labor are meaningless compared to a separate but very real and tangible issue. It’s an issue I sympathize with and haven’t given much mention to myself (as it gets a lot of air time elsewhere) but perhaps the time has come.
I believe the fear is this: when this much money is thrown at a massive title it sets a very high bar for the genre. If EA/Bioware can come along and throw late-game WoW levels of money at a new project, what does that mean for “the little guy”? Smaller studios and indie dev teams have this artificially inflated level of expectations to meet.
The funny thing here is that – while TOR and WoW get all the press – the little guys really aren’t in that bad of shape. There are a lot of options out there for MMOs. There are people that like these games, and they are no less devoted to or enamored their games than the SW aficionados are to TOR. A game in general doesn’t need untold millions of subscribers to succeed, so when a game happens along that kind of does, what does that mean for the little guys? Basically nothing. The little guys still have their player bases, still make a profit, and still produce an enjoyable game.
There’s room for errybudy, so don’t freak out. Sure, EA threw a ludicrous amount of money at TOR and it may not pan out. That doesn’t mean the little guys aren’t still going to make it. Consider the other side of it:
- Would you really rather EA (or choose your own evil empire of a company) back those little guys? They’d just despoil them. Think back on Mythic.
- Do those little guys really need any more money than they started with? I think the very clear evidence is no.
Day trading amounts to gambling. If you believed enough in a company to invest in it to begin with, you’re not going to drop out at the first sign of trouble. Well, you may, I guess. But I won’t. I recommend you do not. Freak out, that is. Don’t freak out.