ANN: Skill City Closes the City Gates

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by NathanR, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. NathanR

    NathanR New Member

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    Skill City has officially announced today that it will be shutting down operation of its tournament engine indefinitely, in addition to freezing development on new titles and closing down its public servers.

    We gave it the best try we could. In the end though, despite having created a really slick and robust technology, we couldn't keep up with the bills. Hey, selling your house and cashing out your 401K only gets you so much traction before you have to seek funding, and for us it never materialized.

    With around 3.5 thousand registered users we hate to call this a failure. Our games and our system speak for itself, and with the number of "multi user puzzle game worlds with avatars and virtual currency!" we see being advertised to children today it's clear that we were in the right place at the right time. Lots of interested parties spoke to us at tradeshows and conventions but the majority just wasted time pumping us for information with no real intention of dealing with us.

    Sadly, we cannot afford to float this boat any longer. The game servers will remain up until our hosting company pulls the plug. Give it a try, maybe you'll like it.

    In order to attempt to recover some of our costs I am offering the entire Skill City source tree, to anybody who wishes to purchase it. With that code you are essentially able to run the entire Skill City operation. We would also entertain purchase of our original game designs and assets, etc. Call me. We still cling to hope that Skill City will live on, even if it is with a new Mayor.

    Hopefully a deal like that would come with a job for yours truly, since I too am now unemployed. :D

    It was a crazy journey starting a video game company, we learned a lot, and the experience we gained is truly priceless. Maybe the talent I have here will land a development contract with another company and be able to keep this little city rolling... We do still dare to dream.
     
  2. tolik

    Original Member

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    Wow, that's shocking...
    My suggestion: try to use LinkedIn to contact some cool dudes from all the major companies, like Real/GameTrust, EA/Pogo, Boonty/Cafe, MiniClip, Candystand/Shockwave and others.
    You cound find me there: name@surname.com (from signature).

    Also, on a side note - unfortunately you only had a downloadable client, but have you tried to put ads inside?
     
  3. Pyabo

    Original Member

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    Sorry to hear, Nathan. I hope you can leverage some of your existing code, art, and talent into something that pays the bills.
     
  4. Cartman

    Indie Author

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    I'm really sorry to hear this. I really thought you guys were getting some momentum. Well, in the very least you've learned alot about the business that you can now take onto your next venture.

    Good luck.
     
  5. NathanR

    NathanR New Member

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    We went desktop because we didnt know flash when we started the project, and we didn't want to take time to learn it. We went with C# because it was faster to market for us, and we planned to try and get a title or two in to XBLA so going with DirectX and C# meant easy porting.

    We had actually started a web-based client about a month ago. New versions of Flash could do everything we needed and the real meat was in our back-end servers anyway. The client did very little, all that bloated it was art and music. Oh... so much art...

    We did have some real momentum. Lots of deals in the works to license out back-end, even had two companies with talks of acquisition... none came to fruit and wasted a lot of our time and money though. My phone is still ringing with a lot of people asking if we can develop their next game, etc... but it wont pay us enough right now to stay open.

    What next? Probably go back to working for the man as a linux admin for a while, it's how I made my fortune before I sunk it in to a startup skill gaming company.

    Like I said though, I like working in games, so I am still trying to milk all the video game contacts I can to see if anybody out there wants to pick up Skill City in any way... or at least hire me to produce something. I think I'm a capable producer: see resume here :D

    Im moving Skill City in to my garage. Its going back its roots as a garage start-up and the whole team will give what they can, when they can. If I can make enough cash at a new job to pay the server bills then I'll leave them up too. Here's to hoping!
     
  6. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Very sorry to hear that - I thought you had a great looking system.

    Couple of quick thoughts:

    a) if you are getting real traffic do you want to consider doing affiliate titles or selling ad. space? Probably not going to keep you afloat but maybe you could turn yourself into a portal of sorts. Lots of us have affiliate plans and Reflexive have a huge catalog of titles that they pay 40% on.

    b) you have great looking assets - have you thought about turning them into stand-alone games that you could push on the portals (or sell from your set as deluxe versions)?
     
  7. barrygamer

    Original Member

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    Yeah, I agree. I was going to say the same, but didn't want to sound too flippant. After all, your aim was a multi-user online world, with pretty complex technology going on. But, it looks like you have excellent graphics and games already done, to me it almost screams to be made into a stand-alone game(s). (but, thats the type of game my mind is focussed on normally). Perhaps the success of Puzzle Quest may be something to look at, your games remind me of that.
    I hope, whatever you decide, that some success can still come from the project.
     
    #7 barrygamer, Oct 3, 2007
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2007
  8. Andy

    Original Member

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    First of all I'm sorry to hear. This is sad.

    And now if you'd get some time and you are so capable producer we'd like to read some postmortem on the event.
    You have actual experience on this so I'm wondering to know your opinion about main reasons of the crash. I believe this would be useful for good amount of guys from here too.

    Thanks in advance. And one more time I'm sorry!
     
  9. Sakura Games

    Original Member

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    Sorry about this but an obvious question: what about a business plan? you developed all a backbone and didn't thought how to actually get the money? seems quite strange to me.

    If you want to get a job I suggest you contact arcadetown, he seems to be swimming in gold, so won't have problems to hire someone talented as you:
    http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?p=145237#post145237
     
  10. jimflip

    Original Member

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    Out of interest:

    1. How long did you spend developing Skill City?
    2. How long has the service been running publicly?
    3. What marketing did you use?

    Apart from that, chin up something good might come of it all :D
     
  11. Adrian Cummings

    Indie Author

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    Sounds bad from what I've read here :( but I guess it can only get better now and not worse perhaps.
     
  12. NathanR

    NathanR New Member

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    I am writing down all these questions so I can answer them all in a post-mortem report (probably posted on my blog, see signature for address) this weekend.

    On the bright side it looks like Skill City just landed a licensing deal for its back end engine that will give us some money, but of course not really "save the day" by any means.

    I'll answer all that in the Post Mortem and then post here again when its up, I do strongly believe that sharing experience is crucial for growth as a community so I will spill the all the gory details in that report. Bring a rain coat, it could get splattery.
     

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