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NQ-Deckard response to "negotiation" attempts in DUscord


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1 hour ago, CptLoRes said:

I completely understand why NQ needs to limit core counts (that's part of why we started asking about sustainability back in 2016/2017), but it never made sense for them to pretend everything was fine so that a precedence for core usage was made and then suddenly.. wham! The 'beta' soft-release for example would have been much better timing combined with the 'release' wipe.

 

And if NQ had forced the 15+10 core limit, then no amount of investment money would have saved the game. So while not a democratic process, there is no commercially driven game company that can afford to ignore the player base.

 

And my biggest concern at the moment is trying to figure out how NQ managed to conclude that those 15+10 numbers would result in a functional game that players would want to play. Especially when combined with how the MU system works.

 

They did say they were a Metaverse Company perhaps that is just a rebranding signal that they were going to metagame their playerbase out of their universe.

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11 minutes ago, Atmosph3rik said:

 

See this is why the Alt thing seems like it's messing up this whole discussion.

 

NQ isn't trying to limit cores, they are trying to decide how many each player should be given, with the purchase of a subscription.  But because the subject of Alts is touchy, i feel like they were kind of tiptoeing around how you go about buying more.  Until Deckard's post at least.

 

There are definitely players in the game right now with 300-400+ cores, who are using every single one of them, or contributing to the game in some way with them.  But there are also a lot of people with some junk lying around.  Myself included.  

 

The players with the junk, need to be encouraged to clean it up, because real estate in the game has value.  And the players who actually need 400 cores, need to start paying a bit more than everyone else.

 

You shouldn't feel like they are trying to stop you from building, you should feel like they are cleaning up their product (making it profitable, ect), to make room to sell you the ability to build as much as you want.

 

 

Its like if the government was like hey we will give you 40 tiles and a ship and you end up building it all and the government turns around and taxes you to try to default you, cuts your breaks, trys to sabotage your industry, abandon your vehicles, kill your mining rights, turn the industry green with MUs that do less environmental damage, kill the economy to bankrupt you, and then tells you that you can only use x% of your company vehicles or structures.

 

They asked for this, they dont like what game they made, and not they want to kick people off the land who are paying or freeloading alike since we dont do what they wanted which was to make us fight each other.

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1 hour ago, Warlander said:

They asked for this, they dont like what game they made, and not they want to kick people off the land who are paying or freeloading alike since we dont do what they wanted which was to make us fight each other.

It is even worse then that, since for there to be conflict you need to have something worth fighting over. And without the ability to build, your need to amass resources mostly goes away. And then what is there left to fight over other then bragging rights?

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7 hours ago, blundertwink said:

With over 8 years on the project now, it's really beyond stupid that it is only just now that NQ is actually doing the math on the cost of player scaling...when this is something they've been asked about dozens of times since the forums opens around 2016. 

 


People keep saying that, but 8 years ago you would have had absolutely no idea what the storage cost in AWS would be *now* for a given quantity of data.  You also wouldn't know the speed and you might not even know which technologies you would need to access that much data, how it would scale, etc.  You would also have had no idea how many constructs per user there might be, how they would cluster, how many meshes would get retrieved per minute, etc.  In fact, even 4 years ago it would have been pretty tough to estimate that sort of thing.  I'm fairly sure NQ have completely changed the storage system since the beta started from DynamoDB to something else so that would completely change the costs, for example.

I would have thought that one of the things a company needs to do in *beta* is validate the cost model and adjust accordingly, which is what's happening here.

I am a little worried about the amount of history which is disappearing when the old constructs from unsubbed players get deleted though.  In a game where the players create the content for one another deleting player-made content is certainly a brave step!

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While you cannot predict the pricing 1 decade in to the future you can measure and forecast your expectations and go from there. They could also have ask any number of contractors for help, hell they could even have asked CCP which they have ripped off any way to help in forecasting.

 

There are plenty of public statistics that could have help and properly even more paid. It is not like gaming/mmo/servers/db/network is something new and magical, so much data could be used to forecast.

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I agree that Deckars pst clearly made the point that these "limitations" as they are lovingly called really are more NQ adjusting your "allowance" in relation to what a subscription contributes to the server cost which really is completely sensible.

 

I mean, you want 1Gbit internet, you pay more for your connection than when you onlyneed 250Mbit. You want higher quality GFX on GFN? you pay the premium sub.

 

There is _many_ in game with only a few ships and constructs. As an org leader, you would start seeking these out and offering a deal in exchange for their org cores to be assigned to yoru available slots. And that.. is also gameplay.. 

 

 

  

1 hour ago, Kurosawa said:

While you cannot predict the pricing 1 decade in to the future you can measure and forecast your expectations and go from there.

While true, blame JC who never did because of not realizing or not caring at the time. Whatever the reason, he did not mange this at all and it is why he is gone. And with his departure we've certainly seen a more business focussed approach from NQ, I'd assume both out of nessesity and bascially as good business practice. They have to deal with the mess left behind first though and it seems they still are catching up on that.

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9 hours ago, Zeddrick said:


People keep saying that, but 8 years ago you would have had absolutely no idea what the storage cost in AWS would be *now* for a given quantity of data.  You also wouldn't know the speed and you might not even know which technologies you would need to access that much data, how it would scale, etc.  You would also have had no idea how many constructs per user there might be, how they would cluster, how many meshes would get retrieved per minute, etc.  In fact, even 4 years ago it would have been pretty tough to estimate that sort of thing.  I'm fairly sure NQ have completely changed the storage system since the beta started from DynamoDB to something else so that would completely change the costs, for example.

Thing is that you don't need to know every detail about the underlying technology to know when something has fundamental issues. So while voxel structures are efficient, you still have to store any changes made to them using moderate amounts of data for each change. And regardless of any compression (they did not even have or use that that until late 2020! But that is another story..) this means you will have exponential data storage and client transfer requirements as the user base grows in a game that allows close to unlimited change in the form of digging tunnels, terraforming and constructs.

 

So by 2018 at the latest it was becoming obvious to some of us in the community that NQ had serious and fundamental scaling and sustainability issues regardless of technology used, and we where asking hard questions about it. But all we ever got was either trademark NQ silence, "don't worry guys" or "you don't understand".  And that was continued with NQ aggressively selling DU as the persistent build anything MMO to subscription players, all the way up until recently.

 

And with JC coming from a scientific background, these are all issues that should be blindingly obvious to him even more so then they would be for any experienced software developer working with databases.

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It seems like some of you are stuck on this ridiculous idea that until recently, NQ had planned on allowing you to deploy an infinite number of cores in their game, for 9.99 a month.

 

Does that sound realistic?  Does that sound like a business practice that would lead to the game being around long enough for anyone to enjoy it?

 

I think NQ made one rather huge mistake, way back at the beginning, and that was failing to predict how much players would not enjoy being given access to all of a product, while it's in development, and then having that product slowly taken away, and sold back to them, as a finished product.

 

NQ could have done a much better job of setting expectations, and helping people understand that testing a game involves having access to things that you might not have access to as easily, in the finished product.

 

Do you really think it's possible, that an entire building of game developers totally failed to consider that their game would have server costs?  Is it possible that instead they just failed to consider that people would throw a tantrum when asked to pay them?

 

They could have done better.  But there's really no excuse for not understanding what's happening now, when it's happening right in front of your face, and NQ has explained it very clearly.

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, CptLoRes said:

And with JC coming from a scientific background, these are all issues that should be blindingly obvious to him even more so then they would be for any experienced software developer working with databases.

 

An academic background -- academics have a reputation for not being especially interested in real-world business operations...I'd wager JC has never had to do much work in understanding costs with software because he comes from the academic world. Also, to my knowledge, his work was in AI/robotics; he'd have no experience in understanding software costs at scale for web-based technology. 

 

It's rather silly to suggest that estimating costs is "not possible" -- of course it isn't possible to obtain precise estimates, but that's not the goal. Any number of benchmarks could have helped develop a basic understanding. Beyond that, even a tiny amount of thought and experimentation would have made it really clear that "mole sim" was unsustainable.

 

These geniuses didn't need to bury ore so deep...they decided to do that knowing it would cost more or they decided to do that without thinking about costs. Both are bad. 

 

Even we players that "know nothing" asked how the game could scale if clutter around markets piled up indefinitely. We wondered how the game could scale if tiles were aggressively claimed, leading new players to have to trek really far to use the market. We wondered how the game could scale to "millions" when even dozens trying to have a battle would cause massive lag. 

 

So yes, these are self-inflicted issues for NQ that should have been acted on years and years ago. 

 

All this being said....NQ could still turn profits without any of these changes. The issue is it would require a lot more subs before they break even. These changes will reduce the number of subs they need to break even...which might be wise, because I see no indication that DU will be able to grow beyond a few thousand subs.

 

NQ has to make changes to survive with 10,000 subs instead of assuming they'll reach 100,000 or more...the math for profitability looks very different with 10k subs vs. 100k. 

 

Not great for the game, but hey....NQ is going to do what they gotta do to push this beast to the finish line, even if it means losing 99% of their current player-base...not like they have a ton of great options.  

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15 hours ago, blundertwink said:

NQ has to make changes to survive with 10,000 subs instead of assuming they'll reach 100,000 or more...the math for profitability looks very different with 10k subs vs. 100k. 

 

True to a point, which is in the details as the number they will probably shoot for as far as "what will allow the game to exit based on number of paying monthly subs" is more halfway your min and max there. 50K consistently paying subs will probably sustain the game enough to let it stand on its own and leave enough after running cost to continue development.

 

But to even be able to get there, NQ will need to bring the "per player" cost down to where a $10 sub will do that when you account for 50K paying subs and add some overhead on top of that to account for any number of situations including future sustained development. And I think we are getting close to that point. It is where NQ has a MVP from where they can start building out the game to retain and grow player pop.

I also think that they will not be able to get around items in the cash shop which will support that.

 

I really believe that the "magic number" which will make the game work is a spend of $15 per player per month. And that can be people buying DAC in game too as that DAC has to be bought for RL$ in the first place. The same can be true for player using DAC to buy additional core slots sometime in the future. Again, the DAC has to be paid for before it gets into the game.

The racing tracks we now have in game could use contributions and entry fees for races to buy DAC and with that maintain their track (cores).. Same goes for large scale stations, serving larger groups of players. If the owner can add taxes to using the stations facilities, those again can go towards a solution like that.

 

 

And in the end the DAC used means $$ spent and in NQ's pocket which can then accommodate all of that in game goodness. I agree completely with what @Atmosph3rik says above, some seem to miss the point of this and may not see the logic in it, but it is really sensible and the whole reason why I made the post here is because for the first time in quite a while, if ever, someone from within NQ pretty much spelled this out and I greatly appreciate this and hope they continue to do so as it's needed to drive this home.. repeatedly.

NQ is not a philanthropic institution, they are a business and should behave like it. For me what Deckard did was just showing they are not quite there yet, but may now have a better grasp of where they need to go while they lack the will or ability to show it and be open about it for some reason until "pressured" to do so.

 

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19 minutes ago, blazemonger said:

But to even be able to get there, NQ will need to bring the "per player" cost down to where a $10 sub will do that when you account for 50K paying subs and add some overhead on top of that to account for any number of situations including future sustained development. And I think we are getting close to that point. It is where NQ has a MVP from where they can start building out the game to retain and grow player pop.

 

 

This is where I think NQ's math is going to be wrong, because they will likely based their average cost per player based on the people playing today. 

 

Come release, the actual average cost per player will likely be far lower, because most people coming into the game won't be as hardcore as the few players that are active now. 

 

But that's the correct approach...start with harsher limits and relax them as needed. As these updates show, people tend to react negatively to having something taken away once it is given. 

 

I agree with the idea that limits are unavoidable -- I mean come on....there's just no physical way to run an MMO sandbox game without some hard caps on building. There's a reason why sandbox games tend to focus on smaller-scale community-driven multiplayer. 

 

If you want to play an MMO sandbox, you have to accept that there will be limits to this medium that don't exist with other products in the genre. 

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15 hours ago, Atmosph3rik said:

It seems like some of you are stuck on this ridiculous idea that until recently, NQ had planned on allowing you to deploy an infinite number of cores in their game, for 9.99 a month.

 

Does that sound realistic?  Does that sound like a business practice that would lead to the game being around long enough for anyone to enjoy it?

 

That is the thing, it would seem NQ actually did.

JC used to talk about communities building mega cities sprawling the planets and space stations the size of moons. And that was the game they sold players.

And when we the community questioned the validity of this, it was NQ that either just remained silent of said it was fine.

 

So I have absolutely no pity left in me for NQ and the problems they are facing.

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This does not seem to be on the agenda, for the moment the question seems to be the survival of the game.
I think that if it lasts a few years (dual universe), it will be necessary to integrate in the list of priorities the addition of XL cores to meet the expectations of the community (compared to the promises and the initial communication).

DU is in a futuristic space game, 128m is not enough to fully escape. (Without going to constructions of several kilometers)
Just having the in-game equivalent of a large sea freighter or a battleship/aircraft carrier would be a good thing.

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15 hours ago, blundertwink said:

I agree with the idea that limits are unavoidable -- I mean come on....there's just no physical way to run an MMO sandbox game without some hard caps on building. There's a reason why sandbox games tend to focus on smaller-scale community-driven multiplayer.

Everyone at least with some technical expertise knows this, and except nothing less.

 

The issue here is how NQ for years tried to pretend this problem did not exist and let players invest huge amounts of time and effort into unsustainable constructs.

And then finally when reality forced NQ to make changes, the almost comedically bad way they went about doing it.

 

- Demeter with a MU system that requires lots of cores

- Panacea the 'remedy' patch where everything is going to be fine and we will now listen to you promise!  ..sigh..

- Suddenly announce SEVERE restrictions on core limits to the point that players are rioting, and questioning how the game will be able to function at all.

- Quickly remedy the restrictions to appease players, which is fine. But the easy in which they did so, also shows how ridiculously low the original numbers where.

 

And the elephant in the room here is that NQ as yet to fully confirm or deny a wipe at proper release.

Which would make core limits look like an easy sunday walk in the park in comparison, for those most affected.

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15 minutes ago, CptLoRes said:

- Quickly remedy the restrictions to appease players, which is fine. But the easy in which they did so, also shows how ridiculously low the original numbers where.

 

That the initial numbers were way lower than NQ would end up at was rerally never in question I'd say. It only makes sense that you set up a change like this below where you feel you should be and then balance upwards because that sets exoectations towards where you would want/need to be. For me the "fun" part was how NQ justified the initial numbers and than massively swung the other way. Had they just acknowledged the number were estimated too low and moved to somewhere in between where they were and are now, it would have probably had the same result.

I am pretty sure that had they ended up at 50/75 for instance, the response and reaction would have been the same and when multiplied by the project numbr of players post launch, the change would have been massive from what they committed to now. If at a future date it turns out the 100/100was too much, it wil lbe MUCH harder to dial it back, if it turned out there was more room from 50/75 it would have looked very good for NQ if they upped the numbers a bit again.

As I still expect NQ is goint to shoot for a December launch, they will need to start solidifying balance passes like this to be able to complete and freeze the game featureset by end of Q3 with only polish and bugfixes left until release during Q4.

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16 minutes ago, blazemonger said:

If at a future date it turns out the 100/100was too much, it wil lbe MUCH harder to dial it back, if it turned out there was more room from 50/75 it would have looked very good for NQ if they upped the numbers a bit again.

Probably. But an important part of DU and the type of players it attracts, it that they must feel like they are free to build and expand. And the current lack of alternative loops also makes expansion an essential part of the main game loop at the moment.

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2 minutes ago, CptLoRes said:

And the current lack of alternative loops also makes expansion an essential part of the main game loop at the moment.

 

Fair, the lack of content in game and the reinforcement of the idea that NQ expects players to create the content really is a potential issue.. outside of maybe the idea that NQ should really accomomodate "special projects" outside the player/org core counts, this is mostly something for a different thread/discussion ;)

 

 

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19 hours ago, Atmosph3rik said:

Do you really think it's possible, that an entire building of game developers totally failed to consider that their game would have server costs?  Is it possible that instead they just failed to consider that people would throw a tantrum when asked to pay them?

If I had to guess I'd say that all of this was estimated, but the estimates ended up being way off because the model was based on slow growth in player numbers and what actually happened was large numbers of players built stuff and then left the game, resulting in a continued cost without any income to match it.  I also think that the result of repeated gaffes and large player exoduses is that only the more dedicated players who really like the game are left and that means that the average number of constructs per live player is more than they were expecting.  Neither of these things would have been predictable with any particular level of precision.  I imagine they just estimated the numbers and planned to use the beta process to fine-tune, which is what is now happening.

The new approach of upping the limits to 200/account but only after a long skill train (based on their figures I estimate 6 months to get all 200) is an interesting compromise which I think is still part of the fine tuning.  I think they'll see how many people actually do train the skills over time and max things out and how many people deconstruct unused ships/etc instead of doing the training then make more adjustments.  It's the sensible thing to do.

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2 hours ago, Zeddrick said:

If I had to guess I'd say that all of this was estimated, but the estimates ended up being way off because the model was based on slow growth in player numbers and what actually happened was large numbers of players built stuff and then left the game, resulting in a continued cost without any income to match it.  I also think that the result of repeated gaffes and large player exoduses is that only the more dedicated players who really like the game are left and that means that the average number of constructs per live player is more than they were expecting.  Neither of these things would have been predictable with any particular level of precision.  I imagine they just estimated the numbers and planned to use the beta process to fine-tune, which is what is now happening.

The new approach of upping the limits to 200/account but only after a long skill train (based on their figures I estimate 6 months to get all 200) is an interesting compromise which I think is still part of the fine tuning.  I think they'll see how many people actually do train the skills over time and max things out and how many people deconstruct unused ships/etc instead of doing the training then make more adjustments.  It's the sensible thing to do.

 

You are describing the problem exactly:

Quote

what actually happened was large numbers of players built stuff and then left the game, resulting in a continued cost without any income to match it. 

 

What I don't get is why NQ is not addressig this problem. Or addressing so that we active players get punished because large number of players un-subbed and left their junk behind consuming database and networking what we now need to pay for them.?

 

Constructs build by unsubbed players must be removed from game-world.

 

There must be sustainable limits for cores per player but are current limits really those what sustainable game requires?

If so; previous "legal limits" were way off ??? (not those which were achieved by nested corps exploit) 

 

B.T.W. Is nested corps exploit patched?

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40 minutes ago, kulkija said:

What I don't get is why NQ is not addressig this problem. Or addressing so that we active players get punished because large number of players un-subbed and left their junk behind consuming database and networking what we now need to pay for them.?

 

From what both Deckard and Nyzaltar said on this, I get that this is far more a long term correction to not run into the crazy cost overruns they did after beta started. The inactive players. issue, I still expect, will be dealt with through a wipe closer to launch.

 

 

40 minutes ago, kulkija said:

B.T.W. Is nested corps exploit patched?

I'd say the new mechanic does exactly that, since you assign org cores to a specific org as a player, you bypass the exploit entirely

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1 hour ago, kulkija said:

Constructs build by unsubbed players must be removed from game-world.

Or handed over to active players. NQ already implemented such a solution but than back-pedaled at the last minute by auto assigning HQ tiles.

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1 hour ago, kulkija said:

what actually happened was large numbers of players built stuff and then left the game, resulting in a continued cost without any income to match it. 

That's nonsense!
The problem is not players who build too much, but all the beta key players who generate costs but no revenue because there is no paid subscription.

Take all the free players and convert them to subscriptions. Those who no longer pay lose their property after 4 weeks and it is released "for looting". 

I also can't imagine that these few players who have built very large projects are the problem, when at the same time we are talking about the fact that on average only 25 constructs were used by the players. Some players have only 1-5 constructs, others only 5-50...that should compensate for the few who build an enormous number of constructs.

There were also several suggestions on how to compensate for these additional costs. Either through a premium subscription or through an in-game shop where you can unlock more places by paying extra for them.

At the moment, it doesn't matter to me whether one player builds 1000 cores to create a city or 10 players create a city. In the end, most cities are unplayable in terms of performance anyway and have no "use" other than looking nice. 

For myself, well, I've made friends with fewer cores now - let's see when the next restriction comes, it wasn't the first downgrading of the limitations. But what is much more annoying is that there is hardly any game content that keeps you busy and makes it fun. By that I don't mean "obligations" like paying taxes or mindless calibrations - that's no fun! The game could offer so much more by now to give players variety and interesting content, instead it is still tinkering with basic problems as if it were more of an alpha.


 

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8 minutes ago, Zarcata said:

That's nonsense!
The problem is not players who build too much, but all the beta key players who generate costs but no revenue because there is no paid subscription.

I really do not think this has anything to do with that at all.

 

NQ has started to prepare for launch, and part of that process is to have what a player has/can use balance out against what they pay as a subscriber. What is in game now is really not relevant, especially when you now consider that a wipe closer to launch really becomes more and more obvious as an inevitable event. And yes, it fits completely with the "oblivious to reality" attitude JC had for him to downplay such a wipe when reality honestly dictates you'll need one. Current leadership left a wipe very firmly on the table but so far has not really shown their hand as to why, even when it's pretty obvious and self-explanatory if you look at this objecively and logically.

 

There is no need to concern yourself about what is in game now on accounts that may not be around post launch when you know you will erase it all anyway. All you need to concern yourself with is how many paying accounts you will need post launch to stay alive and making sure that that revenue coming from those covers the expenses in running cost with enough left over to pay for offices and staff.

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6 hours ago, CptLoRes said:

The issue here is how NQ for years tried to pretend this problem did not exist and let players invest huge amounts of time and effort into unsustainable constructs.

And then finally when reality forced NQ to make changes, the almost comedically bad way they went about doing it.


That's fair -- personally, I think this is a Hanlon's Razor situation (never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence). 

 

JC wanted to declare that players in DU could reshape moons if they so desired. It was a bold selling point that an MMO game would not only support building at scale, but building at massive scale yet unprecedented in the genre.

 

I don't think JC intended to "lie", I think he didn't bother doing any technical diligence and made a lot of incorrect assumptions about technology he most definitely had no experience with. Is that any better? Practically...no. In the end, it's very deceptive, intentionally or not. 
 

Just now, Zarcata said:

The problem is not players who build too much, but all the beta key players who generate costs but no revenue because there is no paid subscription.

 

NQ said explicitly that finances are fine for right now. Tight, but fine. 

 

I don't think there's nearly enough alpha players in this category to be an issue. Most have churned by now, and those that remain are probably a minority -- and even if not, it's been made clear that NQ is making cost-cutting changes as a preparatory step for wider release...not because of their finances in beta. 

 

IMO...every beta player could quit tomorrow and NQ wouldn't really flinch, because betas don't really matter for NQ's future. Release does, and that's where they are focused. 

 

TBH I expect release to follow the same pattern as beta launch in terms of absurdly high churn...but maybe this time NQ has cut costs enough that even 1 month of sub is profitable. Not an easy feat -- ads in the gaming space are expensive compared to <$10 in revenue! 

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