Recently, Atari announced that they will be crowd funding their popular Roller Coaster Tycoon series in order to port the game over to the Switch.
Personally, I loved the Roller Coaster Tycoon series, and I was actually pretty excited about the prospect of playing these games on the Switch. Immediately nostalgia kicked in and I remembered the hours upon hours that I put into the original during summer breaks when I should have been outside. I spent many late nights trying to figure out why a ride continuously broke down or why my janitor felt it was necessary to cut the grass for the entire park instead of actually taking out the trash and cleaning vomit.
While I was sitting on my couch, day dreaming about how they could remake the graphics and overall systems for the Switch, I began to wonder why this wasn’t done sooner.
Off to Google to answer the question that no one was asking…(I tend to do this a lot. I like to say that it’s because I’m curious by nature, but it may actually be a problem. At least I’m not addicted to heroin right?)
First, I went to the crowd funding website in order to view the progress that has been made. I figured that they had to have come pretty close to any goal that they have set due to the popularity and the notoriety that the series has had. What I found, however, led to some more research and a continuous decent into the rabbit hole.
The crowd funding site looks a lot like any other kickstarter before it, which gave me some pause. You would think that they would try and juice it up a little. After all, they are Atari, and even though they haven’t produced many hot ticket items lately, you would think they would try a little bit.
As I scrolled through the site, I noticed that they pretty much covered all the bases for a typical sales pitch. They talked up the popularity that the game once had and how much money it generated. It show cased some of the different iterations that they have made, and even showed off a mobile game that I never even realized existed…(This shouldn’t be too surprising, I hardly ever play mobile games. In my opinion, they are barely games and more of a marketing ploy.)
Once you get past the history lesson, the investor perks come into focus. They said that they are seeking between $10,000 and $1,000,000 in order to start production on the port. Pretty ambitious in my opinion, and also a little concerning. I’m not too sure if they could actually build new models and revamp some of the existing tech for that price. The only way I would be on board for a new Roller Coaster game is if they actually put in the time to make the game look like a modern addition. I love the classics, but I really want a new edition and not a port.
If you want to invest, they are seeking a minimum investment of $250. Now that might seem like a lot up front, but they offer a way for you to get your money back. Essentially, you would become a temporary shareholder for Atari and they promise that they would pay you back up to 120% of your intial investment using the money they make off the game. Plus, you will also receive an additional 20% of the overall profits of the game, up to 18 months or if the game makes $2,000,000. So, if the game is popular and sells well, all is good and you might have just made some money. But, if the game tanks, so does your chances at an Atari retirement. What struck me as odd in this deal is that they would not give you a copy of the game. If I’m paying $250, I better get something…(oh how naive of me, I should have kept reading before I started complaining.)
If you invest $750, then you will be able to receive up to 25% off the street value of the game…(my God that’s generous! How can they do that? It’s like they don’t want to make any money.)
I pretty much had enough of this and decided to check out the comments. People are not happy by the way.
Many of the comments pointed to the fact that they tried to rebuild the franchise with the mobile game that I never heard of. Apparently, there was a reason. It did not do so well and they apparently had a terrible loot box system in the game. I reread the mission statement for the game they are wanting to make and…yep…they want to create a card pack system in this game as well. Awesome. Guess Atari doesn’t read the news….shameless plugging in regards toloot boxes
Something also caught my eye in the comments. Apparently Atari US filed for bankruptcy back in 2013 in order to get away from their main branch in France. The French company was bleeding money and this was a way for Atari US to break off and attempt to rebuild. They were seeking outside investors in order to stay afloat and continue to push their products.
So in conclusion…I’m kinda stuck. On the one hand, perhaps Atari is on the up and up. Maybe this is a last dying effort to bring the company back from the brink of forever closing its doors. Maybe they have all the good intentions in the world to make a fan focuses successor to the series, but they lack the backers that believe in them.
However, something just doesn’t sit right with me. The investor program just seems like it is promising something that is just not likely to come true. The idea is noble, but the chances that this game will take off in a way that will help the investors seems like a long shot. Let’s do some math! Yay!
If they are seeking anywhere between $10,000 and $1,000,000, with a minimum investment of $250, this could posse a serious problem for their product…I understand if you scroll to the bottom of this next part. I don’t blame you, I also don’t want to do math.
So…let say that they reach their goal of $1,000,000 but they only get people that put in the minium investment because, let’s be honest, the increase to $750 for 25% off the game is a slap in the face to fans.
It would take 4,000 investors to create the $1,000,000 needed. Let’s say they actually use the money wisely can create a game that maybe a port of the original, but they add in some new art designs and better models. However, they also add in the microtransactions that they said they would add and it goes over as well as expected.
With the promise of 120% return on investment to the 4,000 investors, that means each investor would have a return of $300. Which means that Atari would have to pay back the entire $1,000,000 they they received from investors, plus an additional $200,000. On top of that, they also promised to pay an additional 25% off of the profits for 18 months. Now there is some legal wording in their that leads me to believe that they can shake out of this one. I’m not a lawyer, but it just didn’t sit right with me.
(If you were scrolling, this is the area to stop. Again I totally understand and I am not mad. Promise.)
Bottom line, Atari is seeking an investment that, if it pays off, they will loose an additional $200,000 because they will end up paying $1,200,000. How much money do they really think Roller Coaster Tycoon is going to make?
Personally, I’ll buy it if it actually gets made, but I have my doubts.
How about you? Do you think this is just a waste of time? Would you buy it if it is actually made? Let me know.