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APB has 130,000 registered players, says administrator

By on August 24, 2010
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The administrator for RealTime Worlds has announced some key stats for APB

  • 130,000 registered players
  • Average player plays for four hours each day
  • ARPPU of $28 (that’s per PAYING player, no word of conversion rates)

My post-mortem carried an oft-quoted figure of 10,000 units sold. That was NPD data for North America only, which means it only captured hard copy sales in the US and Canada. i had undestood the total figure to be nearer 100,000, and now it has been confirmed at 130,000. The ARPPU is very impressive, and confirms that hardcore gamers are prepared to spend lots on their hobby. ARPU is, of course, the more interesting figure.

I’m intrigued to see (and hear from other sources) how much of APB’s sales were driven by digital downloads. It makes sense, given the nature of the game, but it’s another nail in the coffin of retail.

Assuming that after the retail margin, EA and RTW get $20 per unit, that’s retail revenues of $2.6 million. Assuming that 10% of players are paying each month (and that feels like a generous assumption to me) RTW is generating $28 x 130,000 x 10% = $364,000 a month, and assuming nothing changes, that’s $4.3 million a year.

It makes me think that, now that the investors have been wiped out, there *might* be a business here. Could you run APB’s infrastructure and continued development for $4.3 million a year? Let me know in the comments.

And of course, if you’re really serious, contact Les Able at Begbies Traynor on 07624 498355.


The full press release is below.


DUNDEE, Scotland — Tuesday, 24th August 2010— Realtime Worlds in administration has released playing figures today for the first time while negotiations continue to secure a sale for the British publisher of APB: All Points Bulletin.

The figures reveal 130,000 registered players, with the average player playing for 4 hours each day, APB’s unique business model sees paying players averaging $28 per month, a combination of game time and user to user marketplace trading.

Joint administrator Paul Dounis, of business rescue and restructuring specialist Begbies Traynor commented “These are healthy numbers and reflect positively on APB as a ongoing concern. They prove this is a very enjoyable game, which is shown by the average player daily playtime and an ARPPU (Average Revenue per Paying User) that is highest of any game out there”


Media Contacts:

Caroline Miller

Indigo Pearl

[email protected]

+44 (0)20 8964 4545 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting   +44 (0)20 8964 4545

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve:
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  • I agree – APB could do an EvE-style revival provided the new investor picks it up for cents in the dollar. My point was more on how limited that revenue base was for APB to actually make its money back.

    The challenge would be that APB would require a new business model along with the new investor, which could certainly scare off its existing players. F2P plus cash shop isn’t what those playing APB on a sub model are necessarily looking for (imo). Plus it puts APB up against all those other online FPSs where I don’t think it compares too well. Not badly, but not too well.

    There may be a MMO publisher who wants to add to their stable (or maybe a game publisher who wants to kinda sorta step into MMO territory), but I don’t see APB as being a great investment for many companies / individuals. The engine might be a different story, but I’m not sure that the administrators would want to hive that off.

  • I think there’s a business there. The current cut-down staff size might actually just be the medicine the project needs, tough as it is to say that to the people who lost their jobs. It’s been a bloated team for too long. In principle, it could allow them to make much better design decisions, move faster and connect better with their community.

    And most importantly, they do have a core group of players that have fun in APB and are willing to pay for it. That’s something to build on.

    They also face some big challenges:
    * Finding a buyer very fast
    * Creating enough interest with the next couple of patches to maintain people’s interest and not see paying users plummet
    * Finding a way to test releases effectively without the previous 100ish QA team. They will probably need to engage the community on their public test world (which will have plenty of other benefits too), or get bought by a publisher with big QA resources (probably less effective).
    * Overcoming their bad start to gain new users will be tough, it will be hard to change the perception even if they fix the actual issues with the game
    * Keeping the best people on the team. That small team size will only be effective if it’s a strong set of developers, and I can see a lot of them thinking about leaving in the near future out of fear for their job stability. A strong buyer could fix that quickly though if they handle it well.

  • I agree with all of your points. But the investors have been wiped out. Someone could go back and pick up a fully functioning APB with all of its development budget paid for if (and that’s a big if) they believe that the recurring revenue cover the costs and make an interesting business.

    There is no way for the individual investors to get their money back. A new investor *might* be able to make a decent fist of it.

  • UnSubject

    I’d suggest that although the (generous) $4.3m per year sounds like a lot, it would still take (assuming that APB cost – being generous again – $50 million to develop) more than a decade to get the title into the black. The box sale bump would be year 1 only and after that the key revenue source would be those subscription dollars. And that’s assuming all revenue went back into development costs – given that (my understanding) that around 80% of subscription costs pay for things like servers, staff salaries, rent and so on, it doesn’t leave a lot of money over to pay back those investers.

    $28 a month per player (average) sounds good, until you factor in that a number of those players are still on their retail hours of APB they’d got from the box. 130k players isn’t back, but that’s registered – how many are active?

    Comparatively, I believe that Atari / Cryptic made about $8m in 6 months off subscription / online sources with the launch of STO. If RTW is only making $4m a year, they’d be in a world of trouble pretty quickly… as we’ve seen.

  • Dundee

    Christ, they’re still using an external PR agency for sending out a simple press release. I wonder how much that’s costing them?

  • Anonymous

    The administrator is obviously not aware of the state of the market. There are plenty of games with higher ARPPU – 50$+ per month is not uncommon with Free2 Play MMOs in Europe.
    This is clearly a metric that, alone, can’t tell you if the game is viable.