The Return Of Ryzom
Fans of Ryzom, originally known as The Saga of Ryzom, will be pleased to learn the game is making a comeback.
Developed by Nevrax and launched in 2004, The Saga of Ryzom earned some critical acclaim but failed to catch on with MMOG players. The game's name was shortened to simply Ryzom in August 2006, but by the end of that year, Nevrax had gone into receivership and was sold to GameForge AG, a German company. GameForge France was spun off and acquired the rights to Ryzom in December 2006, but in October 2007 GameForge itself filed for bankruptcy, and this time Ryzom couldn't dodge the bullet: The game's servers were finally taken offline in February 2008.
In a bit of a surprise move, however, the game's forums were brought back in June, and Eurogamer has reported that the most recent Ryzom newsletter is inviting players back to the game. "We are all very pleased to share with you our joy that the hardest part is behind us," the newsletter said. "Our servers have already been revived in a testing phase for several weeks now." Currently, only players who had accounts prior to the shutdown can play, although the operators promise the addition of new account creation soon. In-game characters from prior to the game's cancellation have also been revived, giving players a chance to pick up where they left off.
It's good news for fans of the game, I suppose, but I'm not entirely sure what the point is. It's unclear who's backing this return to the MMOG arena, but given Ryzom's lackluster performance over the years it seems like a bit of a risky bet. The company hasn't announced any major changes to its business model, and since the state of MMOGs is essentially the same as when Ryzom went under, it's hard to imagine why the people behind this latest resurgence think things will be different this time around.
To find out more about Ryzom, or if you had an account previously and want to get back on that horse, get yourself over to ryzom.com.
There might be a cost story here - if the latest venture uses scaled back services (hardware and developers) then even modest subscription revenue might be sufficient to generate a revenue stream. If the parent went into receivership and the software was sold off there might also be a reduced cost of debt servicing (if any) for the new company. The software would essentially have been bought as-is, one price, no further costs.
With reduced debt payments, and small scale costs to provide a service an existing and proven fan-base, it might all work in a small way. The testing phase is probably intended to determine the viability of the new business model.