Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 22, 2021, 03:45:32 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Search:     Advanced search
*
Home Help Search Login Register
f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  The Gaming Graveyard  |  MMOG Discussion  |  Topic: yet more Artifact Entertainment bankruptcy crap... 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Pages: [1] Go Down Print
Author Topic: yet more Artifact Entertainment bankruptcy crap...  (Read 7201 times)
schmoo
Terracotta Army
Posts: 171


on: August 11, 2004, 07:23:35 PM

If anyone is interested, that zip file some of you have the URL to  with the AE bankrupty info has been updated with more documents.

The original artifact.zip file has been updated with AE's landlord's filing of Aug 11 and another file added, artifact1.zip, which seems to be AE's contract with the landlord.

The landlord seems to want to be paid for past due amounts and wants to know if AE will be continuing the contract, and insists that AE "must give adequate assurance of future performance due under the contract".  Seems as though AE has refused to pay what they owe both before and after filing for Ch. 11.

Someone else can comment on what it all means.
SirBruce
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2551


WWW
Reply #1 on: August 11, 2004, 07:58:01 PM

Landlord thing isn't a big deal... just something that has to be settled.

I'm more concerned about the large amount on secured debt creditors have... one note is $1,000,000 alone.  It'll be a long time before Artefact can pay everyone back.

Income from operations from 1/1/2004 - 7/16/2004 was $1,977,178.01.  Assuming those are all monthly subscriptions at $12.95 and that revnue is evenly distributed in July, that makes for an average of 23,489 subscribers.  In reality, it is probably a little bit more, since some unknown  percentage of subscribers opted for 3 or 6 month discounted subscriptions.

But this is only the average number; if subscriptions have been falling, then current subscriptions would be lower.  In fact, we know that subscriptions have been falling; they were around 35,000 subscribers at the start of the year.  In any case, this seems to be in line with Artefact's claim of "over 20,000" subscribers currently, but certainly no more than 25,000.

Bruce
Signe
Terracotta Army
Posts: 18942

Muse.


Reply #2 on: August 11, 2004, 11:03:01 PM

Bowman wrote a letter containing what looks like a huge list of things that will be uploaded to Blight, the test sever, "very soon".  It might help keep some  of the subscribers they have now, but I don't know if  it will attract new ones.  They seem to have been posted on Tazoon by a forum moderator and someone copied it over to the vnboards.  Are the vnboards still the OFFICIAL fourms?  Maybe he's snubbing them?  Anyway, it seems the staff doesn't post much of anything themselves, anymore.  I suppose they are very busy getting their resumes in order.  

I have a feeling that this 'miracle build' will fail miserably.   I can't imagine that even 10% of the fixes and additions will make it through with much success.  As far as I know, they only have one Q/A person.  Bowman seems to have done lots of double and triple spacing, too, so it looks even longer.  I must admit, I didn't really spend a terrible amount of time picking through it all.  Of course the long list of new or improved mobs might get through.  Even the so-called 'new' mobs are just recycled from the old ones.    Maybe a bit of colour here, a bit of fluff there... but none are actually new.

I've noticed that they are still advertising the game for $49.99 on their website although you can pick it via EB and other shops for at least $20 less.  I wonder how that's working out for them?


http://vnboards.ign.com/Horizons_General_Board/b5252/73625223/?47

My Sig Image: hath rid itself of this mortal coil.
SirBruce
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2551


WWW
Reply #3 on: August 11, 2004, 11:26:46 PM

According to their documents they've got under salary:

5 slaried executives, including the Director of Engineering
1 client/lead programmer who's making nearly six figures, which is more than the aforementioned Dir of Eng
2 "simulation" programmers
1 server programmer and/or admin
1 database programmer and/or admin
2 guys in "facility/release" which I guess means producers?
2 content designers
1 artist
1 web person
1 events coordinator / designer
4 customer service
1 tools programmer
1 testing / QA person

In addition, they have 5 contractors:
1 billing
1 client
1 content artist
1 business development
1 business consultant and Chairman of the Board

Oh, the contractor content artist and the executive Director of Marketing are not yet hired.

Bruce
Krakrok
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2185


Reply #4 on: August 12, 2004, 01:20:06 AM

Quote from: Signe
I've noticed that they are still advertising the game for $49.99 on their website although you can pick it via EB and other shops for at least $20 less.  I wonder how that's working out for them?


Standard practice. SOE is still charging $30 for Core Combat on their website and everyone else has it for $9.99.
Comstar
Terracotta Army
Posts: 1899


WWW
Reply #5 on: August 12, 2004, 05:18:41 AM

SB, dunno if you can tell us this, but are they in a worse postion than WW2OL was? It sure looks like it.

Defending the Galaxy, from the Scum of the Universe, with nothing but a flashlight and a tshirt. We need tanks Boo, lots of tanks!
personman
Terracotta Army
Posts: 380


Reply #6 on: August 12, 2004, 06:55:09 AM

The imbalance of chiefs to indians reminds me of the VC vultures that gutted many a dot com company.
daveNYC
Terracotta Army
Posts: 722


Reply #7 on: August 12, 2004, 10:58:48 AM

Quote from: SirBruce
According to their documents they've got under salary:

5 slaried executives, including the Director of Engineering
...
1 testing / QA person

Urge to kill... rising....
SirBruce
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2551


WWW
Reply #8 on: August 12, 2004, 11:27:30 AM

I wouldn't say they were in a worse position.  They have lots of subscribers, and they haven't had a slew of bad press, so their revenue stream and potential for future revenues are quite healthy.  It's just that they owe a buttload of money.  As long as they and their creditors can come to some agreement, they should be fine.  They still have staff they can cut if they need to.

The biggest issue, I think, is getting out of their hosting contract and getting into a new one with someone else that they can actually afford.

Bruce
SirBruce
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2551


WWW
Reply #9 on: August 12, 2004, 11:29:19 AM

Quote from: daveNYC
Quote from: SirBruce
According to their documents they've got under salary:

5 slaried executives, including the Director of Engineering
...
1 testing / QA person

Urge to kill... rising....


Well, in typical startups many people do more than one job, regardless of their title.  So I would not be surprised if the Director or the "Release/Facility" guys or one of the programmers also does some testing and QA work.

Bruce
schild
Administrator
Posts: 59652


WWW
Reply #10 on: August 12, 2004, 11:29:45 AM

I'm not entirely sure what makes them believe they will have enough players to actually offer that abortion of a game on any longterm basis. They need to scale back to 1 server if they haven't already.
SirBruce
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2551


WWW
Reply #11 on: August 12, 2004, 11:37:06 AM

20,000 subscribers is nothing for a small development studio to sneeze at.  It's been out for a while, so the population is probably stable at those levels.  They can still attempt launches in Asia and Japan.

I mean, they have more subscribers than WW2OL and we survived, so...

Bruce
HaemishM
Staff Emeritus
Posts: 42002

the Confederate flag underneath the stone in my class ring


WWW
Reply #12 on: August 12, 2004, 11:57:53 AM

Quote from: personman
The imbalance of chiefs to indians reminds me of the VC vultures that gutted many a dot com company.


Yep, that's way too many pointy-haired bosses, who are probably all pulling down salaries at least twice as large as the people who actually work on the game. I imagine they all have/had some kind of stock interests in the company as well, and were just waiting out the string til someone bought the albatross out from under them and they could retire.

GONNA PARTY LIKE IT'S 1997!

SirBruce
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2551


WWW
Reply #13 on: August 12, 2004, 12:14:09 PM

President/CEO/Creative Director (Bowman) - $120K
Director of Engineering - $90K
Treasurer/CFO - $100K
Controller/Director of HR - $60K
Director of Business Development/Marketing - $60K

These are not too unreasonable.

Their developer salaries are all over the map, anywhere from $24K to $66K.

The weird thing is their client programmer, who's making $96K a year... more than the Director of Engineering.

Bruce
daveNYC
Terracotta Army
Posts: 722


Reply #14 on: August 12, 2004, 12:46:42 PM

I love it, they're broke but the CFO gets 100k.  Yeah, I know they aren't technically broke, but it's still funny.

Quote
So I would not be surprised if the Director or the "Release/Facility" guys or one of the programmers also does some testing and QA work.

Not a hell of a lot of it from the stories I've heard about the game.
HaemishM
Staff Emeritus
Posts: 42002

the Confederate flag underneath the stone in my class ring


WWW
Reply #15 on: August 12, 2004, 01:08:26 PM

Quote from: SirBruce
President/CEO/Creative Director (Bowman) - $120K
Director of Engineering - $90K
Treasurer/CFO - $100K
Controller/Director of HR - $60K
Director of Business Development/Marketing - $60K

These are not too unreasonable.


They are, IMO, when your game sucks ass, has no hope of ever garnering enough subscribers to justify its existence, and is in bankruptcy court. I'd wager that none of them have entertained the idea of taking a pay cut in lieu of trying to stave off at least one more person being laid off. My company has done that in the past, and are still solvent and profitable in what has been a shitty advertising market.

schmoo
Terracotta Army
Posts: 171


Reply #16 on: August 12, 2004, 01:18:21 PM

At this point in time AE is talking about consolidating the servers into one roleplaying server and one non-roleplaying server.  The 3 European servers will not be consolidated or affected by this, however, so I'm assuming that GN has its own hosting arrangements. It would be interesting to know how much income per player AE actually gets from GN, and what the arrangements are between AE and GN.
Signe
Terracotta Army
Posts: 18942

Muse.


Reply #17 on: August 12, 2004, 04:45:05 PM

At launch, it was stated that European players would be able to play the US servers for a nominal fee of about $5 per month.  I believe people actually paid the fee but were never able to access the US servers.

Am I right in assuming that If AE goes down, so does GN, regardless of who hosts the servers?

My Sig Image: hath rid itself of this mortal coil.
schmoo
Terracotta Army
Posts: 171


Reply #18 on: August 12, 2004, 05:03:29 PM

That's kind of why I want to know what the agreement is between AE and GN, Signe.

If GN buys or is assigned the right to the name "Horizons" and the game code, I can see how they might be able to keep the game alive in Europe.

Somewhere or other DB mentioned that there was a potential buyer for AE, and I can't imagine that anyone else but GN would have the remotest interest in it.  Or maybe it's just more crap out of his mouth, who knows?
Arnold
Terracotta Army
Posts: 813


Reply #19 on: August 13, 2004, 03:03:49 AM

Quote from: SirBruce
According to their documents they've got under salary:

5 slaried executives, including the Director of Engineering
1 client/lead programmer who's making nearly six figures, which is more than the aforementioned Dir of Eng
2 "simulation" programmers
1 server programmer and/or admin
1 database programmer and/or admin
2 guys in "facility/release" which I guess means producers?
2 content designers
1 artist
1 web person
1 events coordinator / designer
4 customer service
1 tools programmer
1 testing / QA person

In addition, they have 5 contractors:
1 billing
1 client
1 content artist
1 business development
1 business consultant and Chairman of the Board

Oh, the contractor content artist and the executive Director of Marketing are not yet hired.

Bruce


Geez, 5 executives to manage 20 people?
Murgos
Terracotta Army
Posts: 7474


Reply #20 on: August 13, 2004, 09:29:36 AM

Quote from: SirBruce
The weird thing is their client programmer, who's making $96K a year... more than the Director of Engineering.


It's not unbelievable that the lead programmer is the guy/gal who actually does most of the supervision for the programming team or is the guy who actually provided the knowledge that made the game work.

If he has the width and breadth of knowledge neccessary to create (or at least competently supervise the creation of) all the various aspects of a MMOG he/she could probably walk tomorrow and be assured of picking up a 6 figure job within the month, if he's willing to leave games and go into other aspects of commercial industry he could probably even expect to see a substantial pay raise.

My guess would be that they know they need him/her as much or more than the director of engineering.

Anyway your a moneyman, and moneymen always seem to think the talent is interchangable.  Why your flabberghasted that the lead programmer makes a decent wage is beyond me.

"You have all recieved youre last warning. I am in the process of currently tracking all of youre ips and pinging your home adressess. you should not have commencemed a war with me" - Aaron Rayburn
eldaec
Terracotta Army
Posts: 11584


Reply #21 on: August 13, 2004, 09:45:38 AM

As mentioned above - having skilled/experienced personel earning more than their managers is not unusual. Espeicially in smaller organisation where the number of people managed by the manager is small.

Who earns more?

Zidane or Camacho?

(Feel free to reword this as any " 'star player' or 'coach' " according to your preference)

"People will not assume that what they read on the internet is trustworthy or that it carries any particular ­assurance or accuracy" - Lord Leveson
"Hyperbole is a cancer" - Lakov Sanite
personman
Terracotta Army
Posts: 380


Reply #22 on: August 13, 2004, 09:46:49 AM

Quote from: Murgos
Anyway your a moneyman, and moneymen always seem to think the talent is interchangable.  Why your flabberghasted that the lead programmer makes a decent wage is beyond me.


Agreed, re: money/management people in general.  This kind of thinking has been the bane of my existence, and is probably the single greatest fundamental why why technology projects fail.
WayAbvPar
Moderator
Posts: 19239


Reply #23 on: August 13, 2004, 11:37:37 AM

Quote
Zidane or Camacho?


Heh- I am probably one of the very few non-Euros who got this reference.

When speaking of the MMOG industry, the glass may be half full, but it's full of urine. HaemishM

Always wear clean underwear because you never know when a Tory Government is going to fuck you.- Ironwood

Libertarians make fun of everyone because they can't see beyond the event horizons of their own assholes Surlyboi
SirBruce
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2551


WWW
Reply #24 on: August 13, 2004, 11:47:31 AM

You misunderstand.  The guy may be worth it.  I'm more surprised that:

 1. He makes so much MORE than any of his fellow devs.  Usually you have a couple of guys making the big bucks, and the disparity is usually less than 33% more.
 2. If he's so valuable, why isn't HE the Director of Engineering?  Yes, I know, perhaps he didn't want the job, but then he should probably be given another executive title of some sort, like CTO.
 3. Where did they find they guy to agree to be Director of Engineering for less money than his own employee?  Seriously, that's pretty rare.  Sometimes you see if if you've got one of the original founding programmers who is now under the head of some executive who was hired much later, but like I said, they usually are given another title like CTO to differentiate them.

My concern isn't that the guy isn't worth it.  My concern is he should have a better title, or the guy above him should be worth more.

Bruce
Dark Vengeance
Delinquents
Posts: 1210


Reply #25 on: August 13, 2004, 12:03:41 PM

Quote from: SirBruce
My concern isn't that the guy isn't worth it.  My concern is he should have a better title, or the guy above him should be worth more.


From the looks of the salaries and titles in that company, they have already placed too much emphasis on the dick-waving contest of salaries and titles. The 4 current executives and top paid programmer make a combined $466,000 in salaries....remove the Controller (who is a relative bargain at $60k) and the 4 top paid employees average over $100k per year. That's pretty substantial money for the top brass of a company in Chapter 11.

We're talking a disparity of $6k a year between the DoE and the lead client programmer.....based on 26 pay periods, thats $230 of gross income on each check. Not a whole lot when both gross over $3400 every 2 weeks.

Bring the noise.
Cheers...............
SirBruce
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2551


WWW
Reply #26 on: August 13, 2004, 12:13:52 PM

It's hard to find quality executives for less than six figures.  They really are worth that much, because without them the company couldn't function.

5 is large for a team the size of 20, but it's also difficult to make it with less than that.  They could eliminate some of them but those duties would still have to be taken over by someone else for less money.  First on the chopping block would probably be HR but at $60K she's already a bargain.

Bowman might be able to cut his salary to $90K but it's not like he can work for nothing.

Bruce
HaemishM
Staff Emeritus
Posts: 42002

the Confederate flag underneath the stone in my class ring


WWW
Reply #27 on: August 13, 2004, 01:31:29 PM

If $90k is working for nothing, call me Kunta Kintay.

Numtini
Terracotta Army
Posts: 7675


Reply #28 on: August 13, 2004, 03:27:19 PM

Quote
It's hard to find quality executives for less than six figures


I'm sure it is, but we're talking about Artifact Entertainment, not a company that has quality executives.

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
Mi_Tes
Terracotta Army
Posts: 196


Reply #29 on: August 17, 2004, 02:35:39 PM

Verio (the creditor who does the web hosting for AE) filed a "Motion for Adequate Protection and Other Relief" on 8/16 with the hearing date scheduled for 8/31.  Not a judge, but damn, Verio has all its ducks in a row to either get paid or stop service.  August 31, seems to be THE date in determining what happens with Horizons/AE.

We never do anything half-assed, with us its either full-ass or no-ass!
To win is not always a victory, to lose not always a failure.
SirBruce
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2551


WWW
Reply #30 on: August 17, 2004, 03:45:27 PM

But they don't have to get paid the full monthly charge they are demanding.  My guess is they'll work with the judge to settle on a lesser amount.  If that fails to come about, then AE will just be given 30 days or something to move to another provider, which is something AE is no doubt looking at doing anyway.

Bruce
Righ
Terracotta Army
Posts: 6542

Teaching the world Google-fu one broken dream at a time.


Reply #31 on: August 18, 2004, 10:33:18 AM

Bowman ponders a new ISP:

"I've got an old laptop I can use. I'm sure that a cable connection could cope with current server populations."

The camera adds a thousand barrels. - Steven Colbert
schmoo
Terracotta Army
Posts: 171


Reply #32 on: August 18, 2004, 04:09:56 PM

Quote from: Mi_Tes
Verio (the creditor who does the web hosting for AE) filed a "Motion for Adequate Protection and Other Relief" on 8/16 with the hearing date scheduled for 8/31.  Not a judge, but damn, Verio has all its ducks in a row to either get paid or stop service.  August 31, seems to be THE date in determining what happens with Horizons/AE.


The judge has granted Verio's motion to have the hearing on the 31st of August at 11am. AE has to submit their arguments to Verio's motion by August 24th, at 5pm.

The clock is ticking...
Pages: [1] Go Up Print 
f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  The Gaming Graveyard  |  MMOG Discussion  |  Topic: yet more Artifact Entertainment bankruptcy crap...  
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.10 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC